Why and How You Should Align Your Company with Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Sep 27, 2018 12:25:49 PM

 

An effective way for a company to get its marketing messages to its target industry or profession is to become a corporate sponsor or partner of the trade or professional association or associations that represents those companies or individuals.

 

Sponsoring or partnering with an association has four key advantages:

 

1. The power of affinity: While sponsoring or partnering is not an endorsement by the association, there are advantages of being identified to the membership as a “sponsor” or “partner.”

 

2. Brand exposure/differentiation: Most associations have many dozens or hundreds of business firm members. By being one of a very small number of corporate sponsors or partners, companies will be more distinctive and will stand out in a crowd.

· Promotes a positive brand awareness, strengthens a brand and distinguishes the brand from competitors’ brands

· Enhances credibility and reputation by being affiliated with the association

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· Fulfills the company’s philanthropic goals

· Fulfills the company’s social responsibility goals

· Improves consumer confidence

 

3. Thought leadership/business intelligence: Many companies affiliated with an association have information that is of value to members. Some associations allow only corporate sponsors and partners to disseminate this type of content to their members.

· Positions the company as a knowledge leader

· Identifies opportunities to educate members

· Identifies opportunities to provide strategic guidance to the association

· Provides access to data about the association’s industry/field

· Provides access to data about the association’s members

· Provides access to information on the needs of members so the company can provide targeted content

 

4. Business development/growth: The three advantages above all contribute to business development opportunities for corporate sponsors and partners.

· Provides access to a targeted group of key clients and prospects

· Creates potential for a more enhanced customer experience

· Affords a way to reinforce advertising with the association

· Generates stronger leads

· Increases the likelihood of referrals and recommendations as a result of having an “inside track” with the association, its board and its staff

 

There are many ways in which companies can collaborate with associations as corporate sponsors or partners to achieve the goals of the company and the association.

 

Content and Information

· Guidance for association members in the form of white papers, case studies, how-to guides, research, interpretations of regulations, etc.

· Thought leadership to inform the association and its board of directors regarding strategic planning for the association

· Information and data that can support the association’s public policy

· Data from the company about members and non-members in the industry/field/profession

· Information about trends in the association’s industry/field/profession

 

The Power of Affinity

· Support for the association’s vision and mission

· Opportunities for the association to influence corporate partners on issues affecting embers, public policy issues, etc.

· Corporate partner participation in disseminating the association’s messages to various audiences

Access

· Provides the association’s staff access to senior-level executives in sponsor and partner companies whom they might not otherwise meet

· Provides the association’s members access to senior-level executives in sponsor and partner companies whom they might not otherwise meet

 

Membership/Corporate Partner Prospecting

· Opportunities for membership recruitment of prospective members who are the company’s clients

· Introductions by the sponsor or partner company to other companies that might be interested in affiliating with the association

Corporate sponsorship or partnership of an association can be an important part of a company’s communications and marketing strategy. Sponsorship and partnership offers advantages unavailable to companies that aren’t aligned with associations in this way.

Quantum Age has extensive experience working with healthcare and aging services associations. To learn how to identify associations that would be a good match, negotiate corporate sponsorship and partnership agreements and effectively manage partnerships and sponsorships, contact us.

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Recruiting for the future? Find your ‘why’ first

Posted by Meg LaPorte

Sep 4, 2018 12:06:00 PM

How are you going to attract future generations to join your workforce? Experts recommend these best practices:

 

  • Be purpose- or mission- driven
  • Listen to your staff
  • Empower workers with some level of autonomy
  • Be a diverse and inclusive organization.

 

Blogger Alaina Love, chief operating officer and president of Purpose Linked Consulting, in a recent post on Smartbrief.com, outlines what Generation Z—individuals born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s—is looking for in their work and their careers.

 

According to Love, research backs her assertion that Gen Zers are “among the most purpose-, passion- and values-driven talent cohort in the workforce.” This is evident in how they make purchasing decisions, what they seek in their employers and the direction of their career trajectories.startwithwhy

In fact, a recent Deloitte study of Gen Zers and millennials—those born in the early 1980s through the mid-1990s—found that both generations want business leaders “to take the lead in solving the world’s problems, to shift organizations’ motives from inordinately focusing on making profit to balancing social concerns, and to be more diverse, flexible, nurturing of and generous with its employees.”

In other words, organizations that meet these criteria will attract and retain the best of both generations and be better for it. How so? Love cites yet another recent survey of Gen Zers, in which half of the respondents are influenced in their purchasing by “a brand showing dedication to social impact, by giving proceeds to charity, being environmentally conscious, having strong values, or projecting an impact-driven image.”

Find your why

The evidence for becoming a purpose-driven organization is more overwhelming today than ever before. And one proven way to make purpose a priority is to discover your organization’s “why”—as in, why your company exists and why it does what it does. Known for delivering one of the business community’s most popular TED Talks, Simon Sinek has helped thousands of companies and millions of people identify their whys.

As a senior living provider, whether you are for-profit or not-for-profit, finding your why is an imperative that yields many benefits. In most cases, your why is not your official mission statement. Rather, it’s a simple, yet compelling statement that stimulates buy-in from others. An authentic why helps you maintain perspective, build a positive corporate culture and create a trustworthy organization that is connected to a purpose-driven business.

What’s more, living that why will help you attract others who are driven by purpose, inclusiveness, diversity and empowerment. As Love notes, next year, Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the population, surpassing millennials as the most populous generation. How prepared is your organization?

To learn more about how Quantum Age can help you identify, cultivate and execute your why, contact us.

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Adopting New Media Without Abandoning Traditional Media Relations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Jul 27, 2018 11:23:00 AM

Embracing new media formats and communications platforms is smart, but abandoning traditional media relations altogether can carry big risks.

The Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein explored the shifting corporate views on media relations and reporters. When he and other business reporters contact companies to write profiles about the company or the company’s industry, they are often rebuffed, Pearlstein notes in the column, “’No comment’: The Death of Business Reporting”. Sometimes the corporate communications director simply responds that the company’s executives are too busy to be interviewed for the article.

“Such is the sorry state of corporate media relations these days,” Pearlstein writes. “Even the prospect of a positive story can’t crack open the door to the executive suite.”

There are two reasons for this new approach by corporate communications departments, suggests Alan Murray, head of Fortune magazine, in the Post article: “One, they don’t trust us. And, two, they don’t need us.”

The reference to “trust” is a reflection of what is happening in politics and the media. The reference to “need” relates to the increasing reliance on “owned media” – such as websites, Internet search engines and social media – instead of “earned media.” Pearlstein cites a Corporate Executive Board study that reported corporate communications officers no longer report to the chief executive; they report to the head of marketing or the chief financial officer—a telltale shift.

Even public relations agency guru Richard Edelman promotes the need for corporations to “set up corporate news operations to communicate directly to employees, customers, investors and the public,” Pearlstein notes.

Traditional-Media-vs-New-Media-Which-is-Beneficial

Savvy companies employ several strategies to leverage today’s media forms without losing the value of traditional media relations.

· Adapt to the many and varied types of new media to convey corporate messages to internal audiences like employees and investors, customer audiences and consumer audiences. Websites, social media and search engine optimization (SEO) all have a role in a company’s “toolbox” of communications strategies.

· Focus on messaging and content—they’re still paramount. Not too many years ago, companies could adequately convey their messages with a press release or a media interview. However, the whole media world has changed. Effective communications now necessitates a strategy that focuses on website postings, Tweets, Facebook postings and LinkedIn articles. But it’s not that easy: the same message that was disseminated a few years ago in a two-page press release cannot be as easily conveyed in a 280-character Tweet or a two-paragraph Facebook post.

· Don’t ditch traditional media relations. Pearlstein talked with some corporate executives wh

 o said they fear negative stories, so they believe it is too risky to engage with reporters. One executive told Pearlstein “What [company executives] don’t realize is that by not responding, by not engaging, that is communicating a message that [the media is] not worth their time. And when the time comes that they need the media to explain something important and complex, they will have no credibility.”

As an agency focused on healthcare and aging services, Quantum Age is uniquely positioned to help companies adapt to many types of media, develop quality messaging and content and create a media relations strategy. Please contact Quantum Age for more information.

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Topics: media

How to be a Better Corporate Partner to Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Jul 6, 2018 12:01:36 PM

A 2018 report from New Philanthropy Capital in London, England includes findings that can lead to better partnerships between post-acute companies and industry associations. Although the report is based on company partnerships with charities, the same concepts apply to relationships with associations.

 

According to the report, research finds that “more and more charities and corporations want to move away from a transactional relationship that often does not add much to one that is based on impact.” Developing relationships that are mutually beneficial is key, the report notes.

 

The report identifies two key challenges:

  • Partnerships often are imbalanced. Corporations and organizations “are both looking to get something out of their partnerships.” But it can seem like corporations hold all the cards because they are providing the funding. The organizations may hesitate to speak up “for fear of jeopardizing the relationship and the funding.”
  • Partnered parties often lack a clear understanding of what their relationship can provide. Organizations tapped in the report say they need to “work harder to understand corporations and what they offer. Without this understanding there cannot be a level playing field for developing partnership ideas.”

 

Based on these two challenges, the report states the obvious: “More open and honest conversations are clearly needed.”

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For associations and their corporate partners to avoid being at loggerheads, the report asserts “developing a more equal partnership that recognizes each other’s strengths should allow the partnership to have more impact.”

 

The report included a three-point wish list that serves as a helpful guide for discussions between companies and associations:

  • Associations must be “candid and clear about what they can and cannot offer.”
  • Corporations must ensure that they fully understand the association and its needs, “rather than relying on myths or assumptions.”
  • Both potential partners must “invest time to understand what the other has to offer, gaining a better understanding of how they can help each other.”

 

The end result, the report asserts, is to improve partnerships between corporations and organizations “to make partnerships less about PR or having a ‘warm glow’ and more about making an impact.”

 

In the report’s conclusion, the authors say they hope the report will “inspire others to think about how they could improve their partnerships. This requires having the creativity to think of new ways of working and the courage to change and improve relationships.”

 

Corporations and the associations they partner with have much to gain by taking advantage of what each can bring to the table. For information and ideas on how your company can improve its relationship with associations, please contact Quantum Age.

 

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The Hidden Cost of DIY Events

Posted by Tanya Hartsoe

Jun 18, 2018 3:22:00 PM

As the popularity of dozens of TV programs illustrate, the “Do It Yourself” trend is more popular than ever. While the DIY approach is great for home remodeling, using the solo strategy for your corporate event planning might not be your best bet. For those with the event planning “gene,” the basics seem pretty straightforward, so the temptation to take on the project is natural. Even if you don’t have the knack, the temptation to save money might drive you to take on the job or delegate it to another member of your team. But before you take the plunge, consider these five reasons why hiring a professional could be the wiser strategy.

1. The Devil is in the Details

Successful event planning requires a complete knowledge of all the moving parts – logistics, contract negotiations, food & beverage, entertainment, content/speaker management, registration, marketing, and more. If you lack experience (or sufficient time), it’s easy to overlook important details—perhaps even larger chunks—of the planning. You may also be tempted to take shortcuts. Shortcuts are risky. They can seem to save you some time, but often come back to bite you, sometimes jeopardizing the success of a carefully planned event.

2. Time is Money

Organizing and managing an event takes a great deal of time and effort—much more than most people realize. If you attempt the DIY approach, be sure to calculate the time you’re spending into the cost of the event planning. In the end, even if you succeed at planning a successful event, the cost could be great. Consider the opportunity costs associated with repurposing internal resources to event planning. What areas of the business will be impacted by diverting human resources from their regular day job—customer service, sales and marketing, product support, revenue cycle management?

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3. Stress Reduction

Event planning has multiple phases. First, the preparation stage and all its intricacies can be overwhelming. Missing a detail up front can result in big costs down the line. The live-event phase is wrought with stress for amateur event planners –dealing simultaneously with onsite logistics, vendors, participants, missing materials/people—and inevitable complications that arise. A professional brings years of experience, contingency plans, and a level of calm that is essential to a positive participant experience and solid impression of your brand. Finally, the follow-up stage is crucial, but often mismanaged by inexperienced planners. Dropping the ball on post-event feedback opportunities or being slow out of the gate with follow up can send a lasting negative message to attendees.

4. A Fresh, Engaging Approach

In the DIY approach, the tendency is to replicate the previous event, yet that is seldom your best option. A professional planner can provide unique and creative suggestions that wouldn’t otherwise occur to you. A professional team will offer more than just time and energy to complete the necessities—they will help you identify and achieve your goals for the event (business development, education, reputation, goodwill, or others), suggesting ways to make each event a memorable experience for key stakeholders. Fresh content and activities will provide an engaging experience for your attendees, distinguishing your company’s event from competing event

5. Happy Budget = Happy Client

Don’t think you have the budget for the event you really want? This is where the experience of a professional can make all the difference. A professional planner is dedicated to successful budget management, while being a trained negotiator. Planners know what concessions are easy/not-so-easy to get—and know what to leverage and when. They may also suggest alternative ideas that achieve your goals at a lower cost.

 

Event planning is not easy – and even the smallest event takes more time than you think. Unless you have a team member with considerable experience and a great deal of bandwidth, hiring a professional is likely the way to go. You’ll benefit from a dedicated person/team to offer fresh ideas, handle all of the details, save you time and money, and reduce your stress levels –all while producing a unique and memorable event within your budget.

To learn more about how Quantum Age can help you plan a cost-effective and memorable event, contact us.

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How to Keep Content Efforts from Slipping Through the Cracks

Posted by Pamela Tabar

May 15, 2018 3:04:00 PM

Every post-acute care organization has been there:

  • Someone took a great video at the last event, but no one is sure where it is.
  • The activities director posted a great photo on Facebook of residents engaging in the new memory care program, but the photo was never used in other marketing materials.
  • A well-meaning technology company has posted tons of educational information on its website but has never promoted them over time online.
  • Someone spent hours creating an awesome case study, but it never went anywhere beyond the organization’s website.

Are your content marketing and customer engagement efforts falling through the cracks? Are you leveraging every outreach opportunity to its fullest potential? The following tips can help your organization maximize marking efforts and keep your brand top of mind year-round.

Content is Content. The old differentiations between “print content,” “website content,” “e-mail content” and other types have been leveled in the Web-based world. So, stop thinking in terms of a “print article” or a “web site news item.” These days, ALL content needs to be used in ALL ways.

Write For the Long Haul. Content that is about a specific moment or context becomes “dated” quickly. Strive for content that feels fresh, yet has the stamina to be used in multiple ways over weeks or 

leads_slip_through_cracks

months without becoming outdated.

Think in Multiple Media Dimensions. Use that photo or resident experience quote on as many platforms as possible. Post it on social media, use it on a local postcard, harvest it for a print brochure and incorporate it into your next tour event or user conference. In many cases, creating copy in sections is an easy way to multi-level dissemination—each piece can be part of the whole and use separately on various media channels. For example, the technology section in your how-to or your case study could be used separately to engage technology partners or IT professionals in what you’ve accomplished, even across other healthcare sectors.

Stretch Beyond Your Street. Many organizations create really interesting and successful pilot projects locally, but never really get the word out to the national audience. Train your man

agers to recognize your “gem projects” and consider entering them in competitions and submitting case study write-ups to relevant journals. Doing this takes time, but the marketing harvests can be considerable—especially since national industry publications are always looking for companies that are pushing the status quo and trying something new.

Link, Link, Link. Every print marketing brochure, online product how-to, media press release and targeted e-blast should contain a link back to the product’s home base on your website. It’s all ab

out getting consumers to your website Mother Ship, where they can learn everything they want to know about your offerings.

Use Every Item You Capture At Least Twice. Don’t let that great photo live its shor

t lifespan on Twitter and then disappear from your portfolio of marketable materials. This includes promoting an asset in “rounds,” such as weekly or quarterly, to keep interest alive.

Revive Your History. Often, something will come up in the news that an organization can relate to something positive it has done in the past. This is a prime opportunity for a fresh round of content marketing—to show consumers you were already doing that topic, or have already found a solution to that issue, or have enacted a safer way to prepare, etc.

Gate Premium Content. Optimize your content investment by leveraging it for lead generation. High-interest content (even if not lengthy) is valuable and visitors will be willing to provide some basics about themselves (name and email address for example) in exchange for that download. With even the most basic

 of marketing automation tools, you are now able to track that visitor in future interactions with your digital platforms and even “drip” suggested content to nurture that lead.

Use Social Media Wisely and Often. Remember, Twitter postings quickly disappear from the initial screen as other postings are placed above them in a feed. Facebook postings (especially those including videos or images) are very engaging, but they may not appear for people who are not active followers of your page. On social media, tagging is everything: If your organization is not social media-savvy, get the help of someone who is a master at digital strategy to gain the biggest impact on your postings.

To learn more about maximizing your content marketing efforts, contact Quantum Age to start a better conversation.

 

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Taking Innovation from Mysterious to Magnificent

Posted by CC Andrews

Apr 20, 2018 12:37:00 PM

Innovation. Does the very idea excite and terrify you at the same time? After all, innovation can lead to tremendous growth and success. It can take you in exciting new directions or help you make forward progress on your current path. At the same time, however, coming up with innovative ideas can be intimidating. Brainstorming often is accompanied by stress, anxiety, and blank stares. But here’s the good news: you already have a diamond mine of opportunities and ideas; you just need to learn to mine them.

Let’s start by taking the mystery out of innovation. This is simply a practical translation of ideas into new or improved products, services, systems, or social interactions. You may think of innovation as new ideas, but it’s more about a fresh way to look at situations, problems, products, and programs. It’s about how to turn challenges into opportunities and remain agile in a longevity economy where the ground is constantly moving under your feet.

Want innovative ideas? Look around. The ideas are everywhere—even in places you might not expect. For instance, Henry Ford didn’t invent the production line. He saw it working in a meat packing plant and adapted it for the automobile industry. The result—more efficient assembly and lower costs. Elsewhere, Starbucks looked around and saw an opportunity to provide coffee drinks with a high-end experience; and DeBeers produced industrial diamonds but saw a new market in engagement rings.

Watch Customers for Innovative Ideas

One approach to innovation is watching your customers. For instance, Avanti Senior Living saw the growing popularity of boutique hotels among older populations. These customers were attracted by the clean, bright, comfortable, convenient spaces; customized and easy-to-access service; and upscale attention to dining and other details. Avanti took this concept and applied it to senior housing. They established artfully designed spaces with thoughtfully provided health services, discreetly delivered on cue. Setting the scene for empowered, ageless, and heathy living, the dining hall resembles an elegant café, the exercise space an upscale gym.

Elsewhere, Latitude Margaritaville was inspired by the popularity of singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett among baby boomers and other older Americans. The result is a number of planned communities featuring recreation, dining, and live entertainment with a tropical theme aimed at boomers.

What’s Your Cronut?

A few years ago, people were standing in block-long lines to buy a cronut—a combination of croissant and a donut. Bringing things together that people want and need can result in big innovation. For instance, consider The Pickens Center in Dallas, TX. It combines the best of hospice, home care, nursing care, and palliative care in one elegant setting spanning 9 acres. The center includes lake-facing patient care suites with balconies, family support areas, and more. And it also happens to be a destination educational resource and training center for best practices in hospice care. Another idea growing in popularity is combining the convenience and popularity of the local fitness center with the need for rehabilitation. Across the country, physical therapy and other rehab services are being offered right in the neighborhood gym—a more familiar and comfortable setting for many patients.

Everything Old Is New Again

Women often hold on to clothes or shoes for years because they know that old styles often become new trends. At the same time, ‘retro’ ideas, styles, and concepts from the past are more popular than ever. You can look to the past for ideas that might be ripe for a fresh look. For example, physician house calls were common in the 1950s and 1960s, but—due to time and cost restraints—they eventually disappeared. However, they are becoming popular again as technologies like Uber have emerged, family dynamics have changed, more homes have two working parents, and it has gotten more difficult for people to travel for care.

Another growing trend also takes from the past popularity of the home visit and combines it with cutting-edge technology. Increasingly, telemedicine services enable patients—especially those in rural locations—to receive personal ‘visits’ from physicians and other practitioners. As ideas such as this grow in popularity and their effectiveness and efficiency are documented, payors and others start to see the value. For instance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services pay for certain telemedicine services and private insurers are following suit as well.

Elsewhere, the popularity of communes—which popped up across the country back in the ‘60s—is returning in the form of senior and inter-generational cohousing communities. These intentional communities offer closer connections for residents and, in most cases, require them to contribute to the greater community.

Eliminate Something

While seeking innovations, consider the concept of ‘less is more.’ Is there a part of your product or service offering you might eliminate that would result in success? In recent years, some Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have identified that the average move-in age is trending upward and that a growing number of seniors aren’t as interested in leveraging their private home in favor of the campus lifestyle. Yet these consumers still need supportive services to remain in their homes. Thus evolved the concept of CCRCs without walls. These are care communities that provide the services of a CCRC without requiring that you move in to receive them. Staff and family to remotely monitor and coordinate healthcare and other sorts of support for residents in their own homes. This concept enables seamless care coordination, home health care service opportunities, remote assisted living and nursing care, touch-screen-based wellness programs, medication management, social engagement, and more. CCRCs without walls combine home- and community-base services with cutting-edge technology to make care convenient and accessible for seniors. In 2016, there were about 30 of these types of programs nationwide, with more in the works (https://seniorhousingnews.com/2016/06/02/3-keys-successful-ccrc-without-walls-program/).

Ready, Set, Innovate

Now that you realize you don’t have to start from scratch, you can stop stressing and start strategizing your innovations. Need more ideas? Check out these ‘hacks’ to innovation (LINK TO HACKS LIST), ideas you can use to take a fresh approach to older issues, revive tired products or services, or take your business in a new direction.

Start today. Build a culture of innovation. Make it part of what you and your team do; and provide incentives to come up with fresh ideas. Go beyond the usual, the same old, and what everyone else is doing. Just be sure to have a clear definition of what success looks like. Follow your innovations—test, measure, and adjust as needed.

Not every idea or innovation—even what may seem like a really good one—will be a hit. Be prepared to embrace failure and identify it before—and definitely IF—you get there. Recognize failures without blame or finger-pointing and celebrate successes. Your diamond mine is waiting; get your tools and start cultivating it.

To learn how Quantum Age can help you innovate successfully, request a consult.




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The 4 Keys to Maximizing Your Sponsorship Expenditures

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Apr 3, 2018 5:59:00 PM

Companies invest a lot of money in sponsoring membership associations. And for good reason: These associations can be ideal markets for companies, and companies that align with associations as sponsors can increase the likelihood of achieving their business goals with the association’s members. The power of affinity is significant.

 

Seems like an ideal situation. What can go wrong? Confidential interviews with sponsors of several leading associations are revealing:

· “Often we didn’t utilize the sponsorship benefits.”

· “As much as we would like to be a sounding board in the blogs or publicity at events as a sponsor, we did not always have the time to allot.”

· “We didn’t ask enough of the association. I could have asked more.”

  • “Our company’s challenge was taking advantage of what was available to us as a sponsor.”

 

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For most companies, sponsorships are a marketing expense, not a philanthropic expense. If sponsorship was a philanthropic expense, companies would sponsor because it was the right thing to do, it was supporting a good cause, and the company executives want to feel good about their contribution.

 

Marketing expenditures, on the other hand, require a much more rigorous justification. Based on the way your company justifies its marketing expenditures, here are four ways to maximize the value of your sponsorships. 

1. Understand your company’s sponsorship value proposition. Based on the association’s membership; communications to members; opportunities to engage with association leaders and other sponsors; etc., determine why your company wants to be a sponsor and what your company expects to gain as a sponsor. Be specific, including metrics if possible.f your sponsorships:

2. Negotiate with associations. Whether associations offer a standard list of benefits or a customized program, your company is in a position to negotiate. Based on your sponsorship value proposition described above, suggest to the association benefits that will help you fulfill your goals (while adhering to the association’s mission).

3. Appoint a liaison. Identify someone on your internal or outside marketing team to be accountable for implementing the sponsorship program for your company. This person should be knowledgeable about your company’s sponsorship value proposition and the association your company is sponsoring.

 4. Implement the sponsorship. To have a successful sponsorship, work with the association’s staff to develop a plan with action items and deadlines. Then devote the time and resources (human and otherwise) necessary to implement the plan.

 

Some companies view sponsorships passively. Sponsorship jargon for implementing sponsorship benefits is activate. Companies should activate sponsorships with the same methodological approach they would use to implement a marketing campaign or advertising campaign.

 

If you would like more information about how your company can maximize your association sponsorship expenditures, contact Quantum Age.

 

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Topics: Associations,

The Dollars and Sense of the Business of Aging

Posted by CC Andrews

Mar 16, 2018 5:08:19 PM

In 2014, L’Oreal made a bold move in the ever-youthful beauty industry. The cosmetics company launched a splashy new line of anti-aging products and hired Diane Keaton, then 68, as the spokeswoman. L’Oreal realized that older women were an underserved market with money to spend.

More companies are starting to realize that being age friendly isn’t just good business, it’s also good for business. Seniors are redefining the aging process

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and are forcing companies to rethink aging from both a customer and workforce perspective, according to “Turning Silver into Gold: The Business of Aging,” a report produced by the Milken Institute as part of the 2017 Summit on Business and the Future of Aging.

Seen by some as the world’s most compelling business opportunity, the 60-plus population will double to more than 2 billion by 2050. Seniors bring highly desired disposable income and growing needs as customers while offering experience, wisdom and institutional knowledge as employees. The fastest-growing demographic is unrivaled both by what it has—and has to offer. Now, it’s up to companies to realize the lucrative opportunity at their doorstep.

But to capture these emerging markets, businesses need to imagine a new future of aging. “How can we rewire, not retire? Reboot not retread? Turn recreation in to re-creation? The business sector can play a key role—and provide important leadership—in all of these areas,” notes Peter Mullin, chair of the M Center of Excellence, quoted in the report.

Businesses need to understand how today’s seniors differ from previous generations, and their willingness to learn can impact the bottom line. Older adults are a human capital resource pool that can contribute as entrepreneurs, employees, mentors and leaders. They can also train the next generation of workers, thereby helping to avoid a brain drain that would be detrimental to the economy.

The business community must embrace the undervalued and underutilized talents of older workers to realize “opportunities too compelling to ignore,” the report warns.

 

Spending power

Consider this: baby boomers account for half of all consumer packaged-goods dollars, but marketing tends to stop courting customers at the “cutoff” age of 49. “(But) older adults are “the most marketing friendly generation in U.S. history,” notes market research company Nielsen, quoted in the report. “They are healthy and growing, not broken and dying.”

 

Campaigns that target boomers are twice as likely to be successful as those targeting millennials, according to University of Michigan researchers. While younger generations are merely liking and sharing on social media, boomers are buying.

 

Other highlights from the Milken Institute report show the global power of the silver wallet:

 

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts project that by 2020, annual consumer spending by adults age 60+ globally will reach $15 trillion.
  • Americans age 50 and up account for $7.6 trillion in direct spending and related economic activity, a figure surpassing the gross domestic product of every nation except the United States and China. However, fewer than half of companies are taking global aging into account in their strategic planning.
  • In developed countries, the 60 and older demographic is projected to generate half of all urban consumption growth between 2015 and 2030, significantly fueled by health care spending, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
  • In the United States, adults age 60 and older control 70 percent of disposable income.

 

Redefining retirement

Older adults want to continue living productive and meaningful lives. A growing number of workers are working well into retirement years and redefining retirement expectations.

Current trends suggest it will become increasingly unusual for retirees to leave the workforce altogether. That’s a boon to companies facing a brain drain as their most experienced and knowledgeable workers retire. And, recent research bolsters the argument for older workers by disproving the stereotype that productivity declines with age.

Older adults who remain working beyond age 55 are having significant and wide-ranging impacts on the U.S. workforce already, the Milken Institute report emphasizes:

  • Workers age 55 and older have driven nearly all the labor force growth in recent years, growing from the smallest to largest segment of U.S. labor.
  • By 2024, nearly 25 percent of American workers will be age 55+, up from just 12 percent in 1994.
  • Almost 9 million Americans age 65 or older are working, nearly twice the number of teens who work.
  • Even so, the overall U.S. labor force has declined in recent years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Without proper foresight and preparation, these two challenges will combine to create an unprecedented and potentially crippling talent crisis in the coming decade,” notes the Baxter Consulting Group, publisher of the 2017 “Managing the New Multi-Generational Workforce.”

 

 

The times are changing, and businesses have to change right along with them, the report urges. Embrace the promise and possibilities of an older workforce and develop policies and practices that reflect changing demographics for both customers and employees. Changes today will positively influence profits and position companies for a more diverse and prosperous longevity economy.

As Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, notes in the report, “We know that over half of workers report they want to work longer and differently, which tells us the megatrend of the aging of society is beginning to have huge impact on 21st century life. The question remains: are institutions of society, including employers, ready to deal with these transformative changes?”

If you want a focused approach to staying relevant in the longevity economy, facilitated by experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today.

 

 

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Topics: longevity, Business, 55+, older adults

Recognizing the Loneliness Crisis Among Older Adults Is a Vital First Step 

Posted by CC Andrews

Mar 4, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Being lonely is not a new phenomenon, just think of all the pop songs with the word lonely in them or the melodramas that play out on television and film in which characters feel isolated or lost in their own world. When it comes to reality and the issues of loneliness among older adults, however, the repercussions are rife with physical and emotional costs and are not cured by pep talks or Hollywood happy endings.

Nursing Home Stays_1920 copyA new study from the IBM Institute for Business Value and the IBM Aging Strategic Initiative puts the human and economic price of loneliness in perspective as a way to not only deal with the psychic toll of being lonely, but also to offer ideas to help limit the problem.

IBM’s research revealed, among other things, that families and caregivers of those affected by loneliness leaves them feeling overwhelmed by the chore of filling in for the social gaps in their loved one’s or patient’s life, while at the same time ensuring their medical care is top priority.

“Frequent visits by older adults to their physicians for social interaction also strain limited health care resources by diverting them from other acute needs,” IBM found. Often, this process leads to what doctors call “somaticizing,” which is defined as a person who converts anxiety into physical symptoms. There is no underlying ailment to cure, as the interaction with a doctor is instead a cry for social interaction.

Even with the knowledge of what loneliness does to older adults, there are barriers to knowing how to proceed, the report says, running the gamut from the stigma associated with the condition, the lack of a screening process, and inaccurate assumptions prioritizing technology over the personal and customized.

But, there is always hope. And, many communities around the country and world are offering solutions like in England where postal workers are trained to do call and checks to see how isolated residents are doing, or in Japan where specific communities are being constructed to cater to more social interaction allowing residents to age in place.

Professor Hiroko Akiyama of the Institute of Gerontology at University of Tokyo said in the report that society needs an entire redesign in order to address loneliness. Akiyama also noted that there is tremendous potential to engage with new and existing industries, organizations, and agencies to create more holistic solutions that better support the aging population and help them maintain social connections. Examples include:

  • Intergenerational living: Co-housing programs, as explained in a previous post, are shared living areas for older adults and younger generations can contribute to the exchange of support and companionship between residents.
  • Post-retirement careers and education opportunities: New partnerships among employers, universities, and government agencies that can create new work options, in addition to the opportunity to build new skills and associations.
  • Autonomous transportation: Older adults may be the most enthusiastic early adopters of self-driving vehicles, claims the report. This mobility option can restore their independence and re-open social engagement with the community.

All told, it’s going to take a new kind of village to make loneliness less prevalent, the report implies. In the longevity economy, that village must include entities that can come together to find solutions.

If you want a focused approach to staying relevant in the longevity economy that is facilitated by experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today. 

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Topics: Business, longevity economy

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