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“I want to be her daughter again.”

I recently heard a woman express that “wanting to be her daughter again” was the reason she chose my client’s memory care residences for her mother. In this, I also heard a reminder that beyond a sale, a message, a campaign or a budget are real people with real lives looking to our communities for real solutions.

Wanting to be her daughter again meant that she didn’t want to be mom’s caregiver, financial planner, driver or family psychologist. She just wanted to enjoy the time she had left with mom, as her daughter. That was so easy to understand and, more importantly, it was so apparent my client and her organization understood it, and that’s where a creative solution for this community began.

We often counsel our clients that the best marketing communications connect with our audiences on an emotional level. After all, isn’t that how most major decisions are made – decide emotionally and defend rationally? This experience also got me thinking about lessons I’ve learned over the years about making connections:

• I’ve learned that something insignificant can be significant. A dish pattern was the beginning of an entire campaign.

• I’ve learned that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is invaluable. Read a letter you wrote as if you were receiving it in the mail.

• I’ve learned that you can’t say everything in one ad. The most effective ads are about one clear benefit.

• I’ve learned that telling a story works. Testimonials don’t feel forced, and they don’t sound like marketing speak.

• I’ve learned that sometimes a BIG idea is needed. A failing CCRC brought an interesting speaker and hundreds of new leads to the community.

• I’ve learned that the most successful results typically happen when a client truly spends the time to communicate the wants, needs and desires of their audience. And when we ask questions and listen to the answers.

So, when you’re wondering how to connect with your audience in a very meaningful way, keep your ears and eyes open, because your residents, future residents or their families will tell you how your community connected with them. Then let’s talk.

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