Cindy Connelly Will Help You Find Your Unique Voice in Senior Living
Because now more than ever we must listen to our elders. Especially after 2020. If we are going to connect seniors to sell them services, products and ideas that will enrich their lives, and engage their spirits we first must respect their power, purpose, and resiliency.
Cindy Connelly, believes, now more than ever we must find new ways to listen to our elders; identify opportunities to define and differentiate products and services to fit new needs, and certainly develop better ways to communicate.
"Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell" Seth Godin.
It is imperative to have a distinctive voice and a different story to tell to tell. Cindy can help you discover and sharpen yours. Because it's all about the messaging, messaging and messaging.
We live in a connected world and few can afford to go it alone these days. Cindy can identify and weave Creative Partnerships and Joint Ventures to make marketing dollars work harder and go further.
Call to Learn More: 781.237.4596
Cindy has been a chief wordsmith for Senior Helpers and has guided best-in-class experts in Alzheimer's and Dementia in creatively packaging and marketing innovative training programs for frontline staff.
Her blogs for Senior Helpers were turned into a book entitled "A Guide to Excellent (and successful) Aging.
An active networker and Certified Dementia Practitioner she is committed to businesses focused on elders, supporting entrepreneurs by designing websites, developing distinctive sales and messaging strategies and helping small companies find their customers and audiences.
In recent years Cindy has made her presence known not only in senior living but in her agility to transform organizations with urgency. When COVID forced the cancellation of its annual conference, Cindy helped a rare disease foundation re-direct its patient-centric programs and communications to virtual platforms.
With years spent in advertising and brand-building Cindy understands persuasive environments, the often quixotic nature of social media, and other influences that shape public opinion today.
What happens when you apply strategic imperatives from other sectors to senior living?
A little more than a decade ago demographics in the U.S. shifted in ways we could not imagine. Serious brain trusts buzzed. Human, tech, and financial capital poured into markets serving the elderly.
Because certain events had been set in motion that were irreversible, undeniable, and demanded attention. They included massive waiting lists for home-based services, an adult population with a super-long life expectancy, millions of adult children suddenly finding themselves long-distance care-givers, a nursing home model that was generally failing its "customers", an epidemic of loneliness among elders, and most importantly, a stunning dismissal of their essential value to society. And these are just a few reasons.
For me, an article more than a decade ago in The Atlantic crystallized the impact of the senior tsunami, and forecasted the impact of elders on scores of industries. It was a poignant piece by Jonathan Rauch entitled “Letting Go of my Father”.
Jon's deeply personal reflection painted a picture of his struggle to relocate his father from Arizona and assimilate him into his erudite world in Washington, D.C. Crisis and catastrophe intersected as he cobbled together resources to cope with his dad's rapidly debilitating Alzheimer’s disease while navigating a healthcare system totally unprepared to deal with the staggering need for support at home.
His article was really implying “Just you wait”. It was warning us all.
The “Senior Tsunami” has forever changed the way we look at elders, ageism, housing, community and intergenerational living, technology, caregiver services, training, skills development, products geared for “oldies”, the role of the sandwich generation, the safety of home and the meaning of safety nets.
The world transitioned and seniors became the center of it in many ways. It was time to readjust our thinking.
In the last decade there have been hundreds of businesses created around supporting the needs of elders. From assisted living communities and concepts, to home care companies popping up on every street corner, to technology solutions to solve real and perceived problems. Seniors have solved issues themselves by making Senior Centers relevant and robust. Village to Village is a national model and entrepreneurs and professionals of all stripes and colors have pivoted their business to capitalize on the emerging demands of this fast growing segment.
Yet some things never change. And this is human nature: the need to be needed, appreciated, listened to and respected. No one is more adept at articulating all of this than Ken Dychtwald.
In all of his writings Dychtwald asserts elders are more savvy than we give them credit for. They are shrewder gate-keepers and they have adult children, however distant physically, as backup. They are not fooled by the whimsical and often quixotic nature of social media that influences that now shapes public opinion.
Throughout her career Cindy Connelly has connected consumers to products and clients to services across a broad range of products and industries. Having spent decades in advertising and brand-building she understands the selling and buying environments and the need to make authentic connections Because she has never been tethered to one sector she is adept at learning new vocabularies and business models, quick to understand motivations, and even better at developing a differentiating voice in communications
Her assignments have included marketing for entrenched brands like Timex, Stride-Rite, L’Oréal, Pennzoil-Quaker State and Fidelity and brought a diverse group of technology startups to market.
Beginning her career at Macy’s she has never strayed too far from her retail roots: the ability to identify with consumers, talk to their needs, wants, hopes and dreams, and respond to the changing marketplace with a sense of urgency.
Beyond her day job, Cindy’s life reflects commitments of time and expertise to those who can benefit from her experience in fundraising, development, research, communications and branding. She has served on the boards and in roles with St. Francis House in Boston, the National Arthritis Foundation in Atlanta, The Home for Little Wanderers, RFK Action Corp and others.
Her work in senior living recently brought her to the Board of Rogerson Communities, a non-profit on the forefront of providing affordable housing and health care to over 2000 families through 29 communities and programs in the greater Boston area. Their services include housing, adult day health, innovative fitness and memory loss care and support.
She understands the complex needs of elders in a variety of settings, and the importance of engaging enterprise and communities in supporting their programs.
COVID has changed everything about the senior living business, industry, the lives of our seniors and how we must communicate with them and their loved ones. We were slow to react and we must now make up for how we failed them. Our efforts must be authentic in every way.
Today's employees are valued assets; no longer after-thoughts.
The senior living industry has generated a new workforce; much like the one we glimpsed at the start of the dot coms. But different. Recruiting and retaining talent have become deal breakers. How well a company recruits, trains, certifies, qualifies and markets its people have become game changers.
Did we need COVID to reinforce this for us?
If I’m not Useful and Easy to Use, I’m useless.
While seniors did not embrace technology with open arms, they knew tech clunkers when they saw them. Certainly adult children were using tech to make decisions for parents and we now how tech has propelled us through COVID and invaded every aspect of our daily lives.
For seniors, it still has to be smart, easy to use and useful to have.
Why Daring to Care is Our Next Public Service
The biggest questions facing us now and the elders at our doors is this: who will care for them? Making caregiving a great career option will be a superb challenge. Providing world class training for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and other complex diagnoses is critical. Burden of Care is an overwhelming issue for families. Heroes will be those companies offering innovative solutions.
COVID has decimated our system
as you are read this.
When Loneliness is an Epidemic
With loneliness now considered an epidemic among our elders we must reconsider our roles and change the conversation. Perhaps it should be about a “continuum of caring” and we stop putting seniors in programs, facilities and communities. The dialogue needs to become more respectful. More about how we can serve mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and others as they travel uncharted waters of physical aging, living longer, changing lifestyles and emotional well being.
Home, community and aging have all been flipped upside down and sideways. Reframing aging should be a story that is fun to tell because we’re all in it for the long haul. Companies serving seniors need to respect where seniors are coming from, where they’ve been, and their version of aging. They are more creative than we give them credit for and often, they are WAY ahead of us.
Try to Act Kindly
When you have a unique voice you can say more with a whisper than a shout. And people remember HOW you talk to them as much as for what you’re actually talking about.
If you are ready to speak differently to seniors, or looking to change up your marketing and messaging to elders, please give me a call.
Connect Your with Customers & Community in an Original Way
My theory has always been people want to do business with people; not companies, buildings, brands or concepts. My job is to help companies create meaningful connections with customers, clients, prospects, professional networks, stakeholders and yes, those communities that matter. I try to do this first by providing fresh insights into all of these and next by building a connection from them to you with a language that is totally unique, totally believable, and one only you can speak.
Create Marketing and Develop Communication Plans that Work
I can help develop your “Big Plan”, take an existing plan to the next level, or finally get that pet project you’ve been meaning to get to off the ground. Whatever the “plan” is, it shouldn’t and won’t sit on a shelf.
Help You Create Partnerships to Drive more Business
These days few can afford to “go it alone”. In a connected world identifying smart strategic ventures get you more for your messaging and marketing. I see connectivity in markets that share the same customer profiles. It often makes sense to combine forces to tackle issues that affect joint interests.
Develop Brand Ambassadors from People Right in Your Orbit
COVID has shown we need to be flexible in how we do business. Those who moved to virtual platforms, embraced creative forms of communications, and empowered employees to think outside the box came out winners. When creativity is encouraged and becomes part of a company culture, brand ambassadors emerge naturally. We are now intergenerational and virtual; we must embrace a huge swath of interests and attitudes. And every company has a unique story to tell.
Create Social Media Strategy for Good
I do not execute social media but I clearly understand the need for coordinating and leveraging all of today’s channels and adjusting messaging, tone and content accordingly. Because of and through the power of dis-information and reckless postings I believe we are going to see a social media “reckoning”.
It is long overdue and hopefully we will somehow learn to balance our consumption patterns as well as our belief systems. Our elders certainly have and many of them are showing us the way by keeping the faith in institutions and science.
The new smart companies in senior living will show the way through the tender use of social platforms.
If your approach to the senior living market feels stale, or you feel a need to change your sales and marketing to get better results, think about giving Cindy a call.
The storm of COVID taught us a lot. If you are ready for a conversation about the future, please be in touch. 781.237.4596