Brand image drives success in today’s world and goes far beyond the logo of an organization. Business owners must constantly invest in their brand image in order to continuously communicate the principles and values their brand represents. In fact, ‘brand image’ post-Covid 19 is more relevant than ever for long-term care providers and it is only growing in importance across the care continuum.
Why Does a Healthcare Organization’s Brand Image Matter?
- Branding helps create the right image. It is very important for service organizations in particular to portray a good image, as this directly influences consumer and provider attraction and retention.
- Branding helps with recognition. A consistent brand image is in many ways key to a more recognizable brand.
- A quality brand image communicates quality, reliability, and safety. A proper long-term care brand image supports consumer and provider beliefs that a business is being run properly.
In short, brand image matters for business growth and sustainability. Equally important is the message that organizations choose to convey through their branding strategies.
The Need to Rebrand Long-Term Care’s Image Amid a Global Pandemic
According to the American Association for Long–Term Care Insurance, long-term care desperately needs to rebrand and revamp its image in the aftermath of Covid-19. Since the pandemic, there have been over 200,000 resident/worker deaths in long-term care settings. These harrowing statistics, coupled with media coverage from Covid-19 has disrupted the image of long-term care facilities across the country.
In the words of Jesse Slome (Director of the American Association for Long-term Care Insurance),
“People never wanted to go to nursing homes, and Covid is only making people more aware that this is not a desirable option. The category needs to be rebranded.”
The solution then is to take control of all those negative perceptions by not letting the press shape a negative image. This means long-term care facilities must work hard to rebrand their image, by bringing forward their true identity.
How Should Long-Term Care Maneuver a Successful Rebranding Strategy?
Branding makes up a key component for any senior care organization’s marketing strategy. What calls for rebranding is when it becomes outdated or no longer produces the desired outcomes. Rebranding can upgrade an organization and cause greater interest among staff and residents alike.
Here are some tips for a smooth rebranding transition!
- Healthcare organizations must tread carefully and not act impulsively. This means analyzing every small step and reaching out to expert opinions if needed.
- Consumer research will be a bonus, and will help assess audience impressions with regard to branding alternatives.
- Keep staff and residents informed over any brand changes so that it does not come as a surprise to them.
- Rebranding needs time, work, dedication, and above all else, authenticity.
Long-Term Care Needs to Debunk Negative Perceptions and Take Control
The pandemic has dealt a great blow to the long-term care industry and the media has only made things worse. Those negative public perceptions being fuelled by the media affect individuals in their life-changing decisions that come with senior community living.
Yet, public perceptions of “senior living communities” makes many seniors shy away from embracing it as they see it as a place where old people go when they lose their independence. Senior living communities today are a hub for social, intellectual, physical and spiritual activities that keep the elderly active and engaged.
“My parents moved into a senior living community so that they would be surrounded by interesting people committed to living meaningful lives. They were able to participate in numerous activities and build relationships with their neighbors that bring a huge positive quality of life. As my mother’s Alzheimers has required a higher level of care, it has been a blessing for my family to know that my dad is in the independent living apartment 3 minutes away while she receives excellent care.” -Laura M.
The senior living industry needs to take ownership of this positive aging experience, and communicate this brand promise to push forward the positive narrative for seniors aging happily in long-term care facilities. One in which senior living is poised as a vibrant community where seniors have all the support and opportunities to live their best lives, even into their 80’s, 90’s and century years.
In today’s landscape, technology leads and video especially is a powerful tool for marketing purposes in senior living. Video brings to life the very real experience of seniors in communities where they can share the positive impact of community living. Clearly then, video will help with building a more authentic brand and image of senior living especially when Covid-19 has caused so much loss for everyone.
Savvy marketers and operators will look to their communities for true differentiation that guides their brand communications. The authentic voices of seniors sharing the benefits of their choice to live in long term care communities is essential to capturing that opportunity. Beyond simply changing logos and marketing materials, assuring that the brand is carried forward by the staff and residents is an essential part of rebranding.
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