FIGHTING FOR LOCAL MARKET SHARE IN ELDER CARE
Villa St. Anna (VSA)
Villa St. Anna (VSA), a not-for-profit assisted living community co-sponsored by the Racine Dominicans and the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, opened it’s doors in 1991. With the mission of providing affordable housing and three tiered levels of care for seniors, they soon reached and maintained occupancy in the high ninetieth percentile. But, by late 2002, that achievement seemed threatened by the construction of a new, competing facility not far from their door. In response, the Development Committee began a proactive process of focus groups to collect data on current perceptions in order to identify opportunities for increasing VSA’s reach and solidifying their image. In August of 2003, they called on Strategic Innovation to help them design a comprehensive communication, education, and community outreach plan.
Jane met with the Chairman of the VSA Board, the Chairman of the Development Committee and the VSA Administrator in a 3-hour brainstorming session. Using an exercise based on the rhetorical triangle, the group accomplished three things:
Outlined the key senders of the messages
Identified potential audiences
Developed a set of key messages that would be effective and consistent going forward
Jane then reviewed existing communication vehicles and channels to see what was working and to develop a list of potential additions—from on-site education sessions for the families of potential residents to packaging a presentation of general advice on choosing elder care that could be shared at community events and volunteer group meetings.
Jane summarized the output in a comprehensive plan that identified timing, resources, objectives, vehicles, audiences, and measures. The document offered a step-by-step plan for making the most of every opportunity to connect with current and potential residents and to establish Villa St. Anna’s presence in the community as a trusted source of information and an innovative provider of services.