The article outlines 7 things you can do to promote your community.

By Steve Moran

love this story that I recently read in INC: With a Few Tweets, This Tiny Coffee Shop Got Ryan Gosling to Walk Through the Door. Here’s How They Did It.  At first glance you might think, “So what?” or “This has nothing to do with Senior Living.”

Think Again . . .

After Gosling walked through the door, they received and tweeted a picture that, in the first hour, received more than 10,000 likes and retweets. Even better, websites like INC and Huffington Post picked up the story. And best of all, the story is light-hearted fun, unlike so much of the “free” press senior living gets.  

Senior Living

I can’t help but think something like this could be done by a senior living community (see the details of what was done below). There are some amazing stars who are still active in their 80s and 90s. This could be done when one of them comes to your community. As importantly what they did was create a campaign that was fun and creative. It was also bold and had a high risk of failure, but what is cool is that even it Ryan Gosling never showed up the cheeky fun would have been worth it.

I am not nearly as good as they were but I do the same when I write about Brookdale or Capital Senior Living and end my article with a statement that they should put me on the board. I am not holding my breath for that to happen, but still, think it would be a good idea. But even if it never happens I have people come up to me at conferences and with a big grin on their face ask me how I am doing in getting a board seat.  

Mission half accomplished.

The Things They Did

The article outlines 7 things the coffee shop did to make this happen and at least 6 (the ones below with a big Senior Housing Forum twist to most of them) have some application to how senior living operators can promote their communities:

  1. Dream Big: Don’t assume that you can’t do something. This was just a single coffee shop with an owner who had big idea and a creative mind.
  2. Be Personal: Think about the thing you want to accomplish and wear your heart on your sleeve. A little begging, humility, and chutzpah can go a long way. Right now, I am on a campaign to develop relationships with some of the biggest names in leadership. My thinking is that they will like getting to know me . . . I will learn some things . . . it will help me help the senior living industry continually get better. I am not telling who, but I will tell you, it is working spectacularly well.
  3. Make Your Ask Easy: This means it can’t be too big or too complex. In my campaign to meet some leadership leaders, I would be willing to climb on an airplane for a 10- minute meeting over a cup of coffee and even pay for the coffee.
  4. Be Relentless: This might be my favorite. Persistence pays huge dividends. But persistence means not just doing the same thing over and over again which is just creepy. You have to figure out how to not be creepy but instead be fun and intriguing. 
  5. Enlist Others to Help You: Don’t be afraid of big asks, and don’t be offended if the answer is no. When you ask for help, be patient. One of the relationships I am crazy about establishing took more than a year to make happen. Again, avoid being creepy.
  6. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously: This is super important. You can’t be offended if it doesn’t work. In fact, the more seriously something like this fails, the more you should laugh. If you pull off something big, then celebrate with humility, remembering that no matter how hard you worked at it, there was an element of luck that got you the success you had.