We recently talked with Kelly Andress, Founder and President of SageLife, about what she’s been learning and thinking about during the pandemic.
What has stood out over the past 6 months from a marketing standpoint, in your business or others?
We have always done a nice job with digital marketing, but once we couldn’t bring people in for tours and our sales were being executed 100% online, it was clear we needed to up our game digitally and socially. We noticed how other industries were using social media, not always being so serious. It was an eye opener. We realized it’s ok to be zany, like posting one of our staff members walking around in a shark costume all during Shark Week. The good news is we have gotten great feedback as our visuals have improved, and we have made our content more fun and interactive. While some content is still serious and sophisticated, our platforms are starting to really show our spirit and who we are at our core.
Have you gleaned any business insights during this time?
Crises test leadership. The professionalism of our staff has been incredible, with a singular focus on our responsibility to take care of our residents AND associates, because we are intergenerationally linked, as is the entire community. From a sales standpoint, we had to get even more creative with our CFUs—creative follow ups—with prospects. Everyone sends flowers and fruit, which we have in the past, but we started making our outreach more personal with homemade delicacies, boxes of TP (seriously), and fun treasure hunts. It’s working. We also realized we need more pet visitors. Again, this is something we have done before, but the current environment made it even more obvious that soft, cute, fluffy friends can really cheer us up – residents and staff. People light up when they enter the room. When you can’t see loved ones as often, as has been the case during this pandemic, pets are welcome visitors that bring out the best of our humanity.
In addition, our new reality is we have to change month to month and operate in a manner that adjusts to people’s preferences – just like the world at large. We have been through the lock down, but now we are open again. That means being all things to all people. Some residents and families really want to be out and about, while others remain hesitant. So we are open for some folks, and remain supportive of those who are more reserved.
How did the family handle quarantine life?
Having college-age kids home was a gift. We discussed their school work and current events more than we ever would, and we played a lot of games. We are a competitive family, so cornhole, badminton, backgammon, and chipping golf balls closest to makeshift pins were all favorites. Our biggest COVID FAIL was grooming our poodle; ultimately, she got a professional haircut before I did!