By Steve Moran

I am on the prospect email list of several senior living communities, and so it is not uncommon for me to receive a promotional email with a video testimonial from residents. In theory this is a great idea — Marketing 201. Let prospects hear from happy customers.

The Problem

The problem is that most of those testimonials aren’t very very good. Having a resident talk about the wonderful care they get, the great food, and how happy they are is honestly not very compelling. Too often the results only reinforce negative senior living stereotypes — telling the story of a place where frail old people bide their time until they die.

This is not what most older people want. This is not what most family members want for their loved one.

This video is the kind of thing that would make me think, “That would be a fun place to live,” and families go, “I could see Mom doing that,” or “Those are the kind of women Dad would like hanging around with.”

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Better storytelling is the lowest of low-hanging fruit out there. It requires work. It requires being willing to film something, look at it and say, that is not good enough. It takes asking others to look at what we created and asking them what they think.

No matter how much work you put into a video, sometimes it just is not good enough and ends up telling the wrong story. Use these fails as experiments to get better.