Seniors of A Feather: The Power of “The Tribe”

By Ben Hopkins, Copy Director

Birds of a feather flock together, and so do people. The need for belonging and love is deeply ingrained in each of us, driving social choices we make our entire lives—including when we shop for a senior living community. In more contemporary vernacular, we all want to “find our tribe.”

We often hear clients and prospects say, “Our residents really set us apart,” and they’re right. Who your residents are really makes your community who it is, but too many communities don’t use that to full advantage. That’s why it’s so important to understand who your (happy) residents really are and use that to drive creative work that attracts new residents by delivering an authentic, emotional, “these are my people” kind of experience that no other community can.

Think about your community and see if you can describe the “tribe” that defines it in terms more specific than “friendly, welcoming and active.”

If you can and your marketing isn’t reflecting it, you have a tremendous opportunity.

If you can’t (don’t worry, you’re not alone), the opportunity is even bigger.

Here’s a highly simplified breakdown of how to take advantage of “your tribe:”

Talk to Your Residents.

You probably know them all by name and more than a few things about them, but the key here is looking for—and documenting—as many commonalities as possible. Are there common pre-retirement professions? Do they enjoy creative pursuits like writing, art or photography? Do they share similar faiths? Do they come from a particular area? The more you know, the more powerful your brand will be. Make sure to interview several groups of residents to get a good cross-section of your community. We’ve done this with many clients over the years with excellent results.

Discover—and Articulate—Your Brand Personality

Review your notes and transcripts and work with your team or agency partner to unearth the most salient and compelling commonalities, then turn them into a phrase or paragraph that brings them to life. This is your community’s tribe—and its spirit should be the basis of every marketing message you create. (Creating those messages is something we’d love to talk to you about.)

Get Out There and Connect

Now that you know the type of people likely to thrive in your community, it’s time to go after them by working to get your marketing right where they live, physically and emotionally. If they’re educators, mail to a list of retired educators. If they’re veterans, advertise in a magazine like Military Officer, and so on.


Remember the “If you build it, they will come” line from the movie Field of Dreams? The “it” that line refers to is far more than a ballpark in an Iowa cornfield. It was also an emotional—almost spiritual—home for people who share a love of baseball. A tribe. If your creative work really captures the spirit of your community’s tribe and appears in the right places, the people you want will see and hear it not only with their eyes and ears, but with their hearts. Then they’ll tell others who are just like them, starting a cycle of emotional compound interest that will pay off for years to come.

If you’d like to learn more about how Love & Company has helped other communities find and capitalize on their tribes, and how we can help you do the same, please reach out to Tim Bracken.

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