Content may be King… but Creative Design is Queen!

By Rachel Fox, Creative Director at Sage Age Strategies, a Senior Housing Forum partner

We all know the saying ‘Content is King.’ Content that is relevant to seniors’ needs, answers their questions and offers real solutions is critical to gaining their trust, building relationships and making sales.

But an often ignored element of that content is what we marketers term “creative design”. That’s the visual context or environment in which your content is placed and which can make or break how your content is received and processed by viewers. Questions to ask yourself: Is it appealing and interesting? Does it set the right mood and tone? Does it evoke the right emotional response? Is it positive and inspiring? Do the words and visuals resonate with what your prospects aspire to?

This ‘emotional context’ applies everywhere your brand touches your customers, their families, referral sources and potential donors. This includes the appearance of your website, your online and traditional advertising, your promotional materials, the signage in and around your community as well as your videos, graphics, images and logo. All of these visual representations of your brand add important context to your content.

The impact of a visually appealing, relevant and inspiring creative design is why corporate giants such as Procter & Gamble spend millions of dollars annually on consumer research. It explains why they are constantly evaluating and changing how the packaging and visual presentation of their various brands – the colors, images and words – resonate with potential purchasers of their products.

There is also evidence that demonstrates that certain images and visual approaches work best with today’s seniors. A harmonious mix of the right words and images will strike the right chord and create contact and engagement with your prospects.” Here are three ways you can turn mediocre content into content that converts into leads.

  1. Create Emotional Context

    Consumer thinking isn’t linear or always logical. Therefore, it is essential to create an “aspirational” feel that reflects what your prospects want to experience and how they want to feel. Key emotions to evoke with your creative include:

    • Hope

    • Warmth

    • Comfort

    • Vibrancy

    • Engagement

Does your brand’s “look” effectively convey the sense that your community provides hope, comfort and a fulfilling life? Does it portray your community and your staff as warm, welcoming and caring? Does your branding promote a vital and vibrant lifestyle for your residents? Does your visual presentation bring your brand to life and inspire prospective customers to contact you for more information?

The following example illustrates how to strike the right emotional chord:

Example: Slide 6

  1. Get the Perfect Visual Balance

    Balance is a visual interpretation of gravity in the creative design. Large, dense elements appear to be heavier while smaller elements appear to be lighter. By manipulating the balance and placing heavier weight on certain areas of your message, the illusion of movement is created. This is important because it moves the viewer’s eye across and down your content (an ad for example), ensuring they are exposed to as much of the message as possible while moving them visually toward your all-important “Call-to-Action.”

    The sample below demonstrates the art and science of effective balance and movement:

Example: Slide 10

  1. Devise a Strong “CTA” 

    Once you’ve piqued the consumer’s interest with customer-focused content wrapped in attractive, emotionally appealing design, it is time to move them to the next very important step – the “Call-to-Action (CTA).”

    The CTA is where you tell consumers what their next step is. It guides them into a preferred method of contact that will continue their experience and interaction with your community toward full engagement. Presenting and positioning your CTA effectively in your content is a critical part of your overall marketing strategy! 

    Therefore, think about what you’d like them to do next, (i.e. call; email; visit online; schedule a personal visit; RSVP for an event; take advantage of an incentive). The purpose of your message will determine the appropriate form of follow up. Just be sure your CTA is highly visible, effectively placed and clear with its directions to the viewer.

    The example below demonstrates how effective CTA presentation and positioning is achieved:

Example: Slide 14

Integrating effective messaging and best-practice creative techniques is essential for developing an optimized branding strategy that achieves desired results. Synchronized words and visual elements provide the information, tone and emotional environment that your prospective customers will respond to.

You can learn more about Sage Age’s award-winning creative work and how it is making a positive impact with clients here.