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Brand Journalism – Benchmark Senior Living

There's more to marketing than just persuasive language and snappy sales pages.

Features and benefits in marketing
Sell the 1/4" hole...not the 1/4" bit

At the end of the day marketing is all about illustrating what life is like when you take (or miss) this opportunity. The smallest unit of that better life is a benefit.

It's tempting to market the features—but people aren't looking for features until after they've decided to buy something.

Features are for comparison. Benefits are for persuasion.

When people are searching for a retirement community, what they want to know about first isn't the size of the rooms or the brand of the appliances.

They want to know what life is like there.

Customer Spotlight Story Marketing

The intimate nature of Benchmark Senior Living makes for a whole lot of good stories to illustrate their value proposition. Customers and staff interact on a daily (and nightly) basis in a service model that requires tremendous empathy and compassion.

Which is all key to good storytelling.

Your customer stories don't have to be huge epic famous interviews. In fact they often shouldn't be, unless that's the clientele you're aiming for.

Instead tell simple human stories of success and transition that your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) can associate with their own fears and obstacles (that you're planning to solve).

Some small business marketers feel uncomfortable asking customers for testimonials. Well sure—that's a lot of pressure you'd be placing on them.

Instead think of it as interviewing customers about their experience with your product/service and their story of how they found you. (We call this longform testimonial if you're into such things)

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been using PRODUCT?

  • What were you doing before that?

  • What were your initial doubts/concerns?

  • How was your first experience with PRODUCT?

  • How has PRODUCT helped/enhanced your life?

Benchmark is home to a broad spectrum of unique individuals with rich histories and wisdom worth sharing. And a wide array of reasons for being there.

I interview them and write their stories.

I'm often humbled by this particular project because I'm writing stories that would otherwise soon slip into the ether of family memory. With this project I get to record a little slice of these lives deeply lived.

And with this age group, there's been a lot of exceptional experiences and trying times. They tell me stories of growing up through WWII, the Cold War, immigration, segregation, the Apollo missions, and the like. (I know—can this really be my day job?)

Staff Spotlight Story Marketing

Benchmark is also blessed with a multitude of highly trained, experienced, and empathic staff—which is another rich avenue for brand story marketing.

In marketing, you're offering a transitional journey to a better life. Your business is the guide. Your products/services are the tools they need to succeed.

For service and artisan marketing, staff profiles illustrate the characters who will guide them through that journey. Putting a face to the name, to coin a phrase.

In marketing terms, that translates to building trust and establishing credibility.

Benchmark staff run the gamut from nurses and assistants to kitchen and custodial staff to admin and program managers. Every one of them headlong dedicated to their job and the people they serve.

Staff profiles also offer an opportunity for SEO keywords about services provided.

Your staff stories shouldn't be just about their expertise. They should be narrative depictions of their life and character. Not what they do—but who they are.

That's how you form human connections with your audience as they explore your website and consider your value.

Sometimes the simplest stories resonate the most with the broadest spectrum of your ICA audience. Everyone enjoys a good story of personal challenge and triumph. Even if it's something as simple as learning to knit a scarf with grandma's kit after she passed away.

Your staff have lots of qualifications—but those are their features. What makes them special are the human stories that brought them to this moment in your brand narrative to serve your customers in their own unique way. How they embody the benefits you offer.

Questions to ask

  • What was your journey toward working here?

  • What do you find challenging and inspiring here?

  • What's your mission as part of the team?

  • What was a recent problem-solving experience you had here?

  • What are you looking forward to here?

  • How do you get your kicks outside of work?

You'll find that most people are happy—even eager—to share anecdotes about products and businesses they trust and rely on, if you ask them directly. And you'll often get unexpected insights too.

What entrepreneur doesn't want more insights?


Questions about content strategy or client interviews? Reach out.


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