I recently met a fanatic of tea brand, T2. She was completely infatuated with T2, and was prepared to share her passion for the product with anyone that was prepared to listen. What I noticed was that at the core of her obsession was the sense that she truly felt deeply connected to this brand.
If we look at aged care, it’s a different picture. Do consumers truly feel connected to aged care providers? I doubt it. For far too long, providers have concentrated on maintaining operational success and government regulations. Delivering consumer driven products and services remains secondary.
Aged care providers need to start listening and engaging with those who are core to its business. According to findings in COTA VIC Consultation Aged Care Reform Summary Report, in order for older people to age well, they want to continue to feel like they can maintain their lifestyle, enjoy friendships and have the occasional glass of wine.
Aged care providers that engage consumers simply by asking older people, including community members, what they value out of life, are a step closer in being able to deliver products and services that meet a need or an expectation.
In addition, engaging with consumers opens the doors for businesses like aged care providers to deliver new products and services. Ultimately, it ensures assumptions about consumers are regularly tested. After all, a company that looses touch with its market soon offers a service that soon becomes irrelevant or less attractive than that of competitors.
What does consumer engagement look like?
For the past four years, Ellis Jones has worked with aged care providers to understand the needs, expectations and values of selected communities, particularly the needs of older people. Aside from uncovering a trend in functional needs and desires, research shows that in aged care, individuals and communities want to feel a sense of connection to their local aged care facility. They want to feel part of a facility’s success and achievements by feeling a sense of ownership over its future.
The providers that get it right by developing facility level marketing models, can expect multiple benefits including donations, brand visibility and long-term consumer loyalty.
Now that’s better than a cup of tea.