What is the best position to claim or occupy in the mind of prospects and referral sources?
By Anthony Mullen
It is possible to claim anything, but if the claim is not a true promise to prospective customers that is authentic and different from competitors, it will have no value and thus no ability to truly brand or be a differentiating position in the mind of prospects. Most of what is claimed by senior living communities is too self-serving, too vague, too insipid and simply not believable (excellent service; we treat you like family, blah, blah, blah). If you make a promise you don’t or can’t consistently keep, you will do more harm than good to your community and/or company.
What is the Best Position to Claim or Occupy in the Mind of Prospects and Referral Sources?
It depends upon what, if anything, is truly unique about the community. Most communities have nothing of significance to say to prospects that is truly unique. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to have a meaningful brand in the industry. However, through careful and creative thinking, a position can be claimed, which is authentic enough to differentiate a community, or at least convince prospects to explore the community in more detail because of the position claimed.
For example, a high end community that is very well designed and consists of nice size apartments decides it can afford to charge just $2400 a month for a one bedroom apartment with full services in a market where the competitors are all $2950 or greater, can claim a position of “The Exceptional Value in Senior Living”. This is meaningful and authentic and will cause many more prospects to explore and potentially choose the community, assuming the selling discipline is at least good.
One can also use language of aspiration to make a claim, as long as the community truly has the ability to authentically back up the claim with real evidence, especially where competitors do not have the attribute or evidence to make such a claim.
For example, let us assume a hypothetical independent living community, Talon Place in Mystic, Oregon, is one of only two communities in a beautiful area nestled near the cliffs overlooking the ocean. It is a destination community, where prospects come from many miles away to live in the beauty of the Mystic area and enjoy the incredible amenities of the area including the ocean, the cliffs, the museums, and the natural beauty.
So, when trying to capture a unique position, Talon Place can choose to authentically claim what is there for prospects, which brings up both the authentic reason why people move there (the beauty), as well as the association with the prospect’s own life, and a more detailed allusion to the area, which people are drawn to as their new home or destination, such as: “THE JOY OF LIVING IN A MYSTICAL DESTINATION.”
This distinction (or tagline) captures what many want in making a decision to move to a new destination, which is real joy in living, and it plays off the name Mystic by using the word Mystical to describe the attraction or area. This wording will make the claim much more memorable and plant a pleasant or happy meaning in the mind of prospects about Talon Place. By using this language, Talon Place will have authentically made a claim that is meaningful and memorable based upon factual reasons residents stated for why they chose to move to Talon Place in Mystic, Oregon.
The community also has the evidence for the “joy” in living there, as the number one thing noted about the community by residents is the extraordinary personal service given by the employees. Residents simply rave about the way team members remember their name from the very first day and are always smiling. Joy is infectious, smiling is memorable, and this becomes a real attribute of Talon Place.
So, the claim made by Talon Place clearly meets the major requirements of a brand. It is authentic. It is backed by real evidence; it is meaningful and memorable to residents and prospects. It will help differentiate the community and put a very favorable position in the minds of prospects. That is really what a claim must do to become a brand.
At the very least, Talon Place has made an authentic claim, which will cause prospects to examine the community more carefully than with no claim made.
Anthony J. Mullen is the Founder of the Advanced Sales Summit for the Seniors Housing Care Industry, which will be held this year on November 13-14 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Mr. Mullen is also the Co-founder of the NIC MAP and Journey to Mastery. He has been involved in the science of improving occupancy for over 32 years. Please go to theadvancedsalesummit.com.