Launch a new luxury boutique care group with care homes across the South of England, from planning permission to opening and into ongoing reputation management and community stakeholder engagement.
Establish each individual home as the premier care provider within the region, to drive occupancy rates from day one.
- For the localised PR to significantly drive occupancy rates in each of the 11 care homes to budget targets
- To massively shift expectations about what quality of care and environment can be expected in a 21st century care home
- To build trust and confidence in a new brand in the social healthcare sector, a sector which consumers often approach with fear and uncertainty
Strategy and Research
Our strategy was based on three key principles:
- Trust and transparency. Demonstrate and communicate the Gracewell KITER values (kindness, integrity, trust, empathy and respect) in all aspects of the operation of the business
- Residents are the story: Discover the tiny details of the lives of each home’s residents (the hallmark of personalised care) and to tell their story. Demonstrate that these homes are places where people go to create new memories and to live in the present as well as reflect on the past
- Thought leadership. Build a body of evidence over time which clearly positions Gracewell’s senior leadership as experts on all aspects of elderly care, from dementia care to the construction of leading edge physical environments, supported by leading academic institutions
- Community stakeholder mapping: Because each of the 11 geographic locations in which Gracewell operates has its own network of local influencers each required a detailed and accurate community stakeholder map (including full social media audit).
- Planning permissions: In collaboration with planning consultants each town had a pro-planning PR campaign. Examples include partnerships with local sports clubs that would benefit from sponsorship deals, and bespoke letters to local neighbourhood.
- Local media partnerships: identification and engagement with all local media partners (print, broadcast and community bloggers) to emphasise the positive addition each care home would be bringing to each town.
Local level content creation (some examples from many):
- Countdown to opening PR strategy including partnership with local primary school in each town. School encouraged to run local history project to find out more about their local area and pupils then use this information to choose a name for their new local care home. Start of ongoing partnership.
- Staff recruitment PR output. Winning favourable coverage in the local media about the creation of circa 70 jobs in each town and the desire to build teams dedicated to the KITER values.
- A menu of genuinely creative and newsworthy activities was created for each home. Examples include partnerships with local IT provider to train residents on digital technology, Great Gracewell Bake Offs, sponsorship and build of disabled access allotments for gardening clubs, to name just a few.
- Partnership with Alzheimer’s research charity BRACE. Public Question Time-style debates organised in two Gracewell towns (Frome and Salisbury) during Dementia Awareness Week where the company’s CEO appeared on a panel alongside leading BRACE research scientists and high-profile dementia bloggers (Beth Britton, who spoke at the recent G8 summit)
- Listening to the residents and sharing their incredible life stores (a dress maker to the Queen Mother, a Second World War Bomber Ace, a man saved from the Holocaust by the ‘Angel of Belsen” again, to name but a few).
National level content creation and brand building
- Establishment of meaningful social media profile.
- Elderly care sector news watching brief created to offer ongoing leadership comment in the national and specialist media on all relevant issues.
- The Home Champion Awards. These were created and rolled out across all homes where residents were nominated by staff, families and friends for some unique achievement in their life or a special contribution they have made to the home. Video nominations were shown at an Awards Ceremony and a winner was chosen for each home demonstrating personalised care.
- ITN media partnership. To mark National Care Home Open Day 2014 Arc Seven ran a media partnership with ITN Healthcare to produce a four minute news-style report, fronted by Natasha Kaplinsky, focusing on the three key aspects of Gracewell homes; luxury care, community involvement, truly personalised care. (See above)
- More than 500 pieces of positive media coverage (print and broadcast) in target local, regional and national media featuring all 11 homes
- Social media. 840 (meaningful) followers on Twitter with a 68% influence rate (Sprout Social) and 706 likes on Facebook
- Working alongside an SEO agency our content has significantly impacted web traffic to Gracewell.co.uk. Year on year comparison (April 2013 – April 2014), shows a 86.51% increase in organic traffic. There are now almost 5000 visits a month
- Gracewell Healthcare named Residential Care Provider of the Year at Health Investor Magazine Awards 2014
- ‘Your Care Rating’ Overall Performance Rating of 894/1000 across all the homes. The OPR provides a consistent measure of what residents think about their care home, taking into account their views on a range of aspects such as staff, care and facilities