Talk to Her About Finding 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 enrich their lives and engage their spirits we first must respect their power, purpose, and resiliency.
Cindy Connelly, believes, now more than ever, companies must listen to elders; appreciate their needs, and fine tune ways to communicate with them. Seniors are not a monolithic gang. Today, they span decades of experiences.
"Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell" Seth Godin.
Seniors lived in a world of story-telling. Companies need to discover their distinctive voices. Cindy can help you sharpen yours.
We live in a connected world and seeing the value of partnerships and joint ventures makes communications work harder. Cindy brings fresh ideas to marketing in senior living.
Call to Learn More: 781.237.4596
For several years Cindy served as chief wordsmith for Senior Helpers home care. Her blogs became the Amazon "A Guide to Excellent (and successful Aging". She has collaborated with best-in-class experts in Alzheimer's and Dementia in creatively packaging and marketing innovative training programs for frontline staff in residential assisted living settings.
In Fall 2021 Cindy was instrumental in branding, positioning and launching e-Volv Senior Connections, a streaming platform delivering dynamic content to mitigate isolation and loneliness among elders and change forever how seniors engage with each other and the world.
During COVID Cindy provided creative strategies consulting to senior living industry around urgent consumer communications. She also proved agile in helping VWD Foundation pivot its annual in-person rare disease conference onto a virtual platform and re-direct its patient-centric programs to virtual environments.
With years spent in advertising and brand-building Cindy understands persuasive environments. These are the often-quixotic nature of social media and myriad noises shaping public opinion today.
Cindy Connelly spent more than 20 years in advertising and consulting. Working for major brands, incubators, tech startups, entrepreneurs, and a wide range of strategic partners her firm CMC Marketing Services brought creative marketing and communications solutions to the table. In 2000 she made a hard right turn into the senior living industry.
Demographics in the U.S. had started to shift in seismic proportions. Serious brain trusts buzzed. Human, tech, and financial capital poured into markets serving the elderly. Cindy saw the buzz. She recognized she was well equipped to pivot her expertise to this sector. Why wouldn't the urgency and strategic imperatives she applied to other industries work in, and for this newly conceived sector?
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 generally failing its "customers" An epidemic of loneliness among elders. Most importantly, there was a stunning dismissal of the essential value of elders to society.
On many levels it was time to engage.
For Cindy, an article 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”.
Jonathan's deeply personal reflection painted a picture of his struggle to relocate his father from Arizona and assimilate him into his complicated life and 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 his staggering need for support at home.
His article was really implying “Just you wait”. It was warning us all.
The reality of the “Senior Tsunami” eventually 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. She is 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. She has brought a diverse group of technology startups to market. Some of them didn't make it -- Timing. Money. Lack of patience. Industry push-back.
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 brought her to the Board of Rogerson Communities, where she chairs its Branding and Marketing Committee. Rogerson is a 160 year old non-profit on the forefront of providing senior housing and health care to over 2000 families through more than 30 communities, programs and services in the greater Boston area. Rogerson's services include assisted living, memory loss care, adult day health, innovative fitness programs, affordable and supportive housing. www.Rogerson.org
She understands the complex needs of elders in a variety of settings.
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 unique workforce. It cannot afford "quiet resignations". It demands in-person excellence. Recruiting and retaining talent have become deal breakers. How well companies do both become game changers.
Did we need COVID to reinforce this for us?
If technology is not useful and easy to use, it's useless.
While seniors did not embrace technology with open arms, COVID made them quick studies. They are willing learners and very shrewd.
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 elders is this: who will care for them? Making caregiving a great career option is a superb challenge. Heroes will be those companies offering innovative solutions.
COVID has decimated our system
as you are read this.
When loneliness is an epidemic
Loneliness and isolation among elders is epidemic. Perhaps our “continuum of caring” should be more respectful. Serving mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and others as they travel uncharted waters of physical aging, living longer, changing lifestyles and emotional well-being.
Dare to think originally
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. Anyone serving seniors need to be open to versions of aging. Seniors are more creative than we give them credit for and often WAY ahead of us.
And try to act kindly
When companies serving seniors have a unique voice, they can say more with a whisper than a shout.
If you're 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 Communications 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.
Develop Partnerships & Collaborations That Drive 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