Village sector in crisis – how will marketers regain ‘trust’. Step One: communication

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“No doubt we have lost the trust of the public”.

This was the statement by the President of the Retirement Living Council, Alison Quinn, at their National Conference on the Gold Coast on Monday.

Alison was referring to the fallout of the Fairfax/ABC/Four Corners media coverage since June (5 months).

She also said, “This is the greatest opportunity – social and economic – we can deliver on”.

So, how do we marketers rebuild ‘trust’? What steps would you take?

And did we have ‘trust’ in the first place, or did the media spotlight just bring to the surface the shallowness of the trust the sector enjoys?

Our past surveys gave extremely strong ‘satisfaction’ results and an NPS score of 25 for the sector (sample 5,100 residents).

Step One must be to engage our customers in the conversation about where we are and are not delivering.

We all must now go back and ask more focused questions, especially around the areas identified by both the media and the people closest to the ‘dissatisfaction’ within villages – the resident associations.

Are you doing this?

A shameless plug: if not, you can by joining the 55 operators that are participating in our National Village Survey. It delivers a very sophisticated survey to your residents and will allow you to benchmark against the 80,000+ residents already engaged. More info HERE.

Meanwhile, as marketers, we need to think about the job of rebuilding trust.

The tools we have include:

  • Above the line advertising – TV, radio, press
  • Direct mail – hard and soft materials
  • Digital / Online
  • PR
  • Social media
  • Events
  • Price
  • Product etc.

What is the task: persuasion or education or sales or ??

What time frame do we have to achieve the rebuilding of ‘trust’?

What budget have we got and over what period?

When should we start?

The RLC has developed the 8 Point Plan out of workshops with residents and operators, demonstrating that “we have listened and acted”, but Alison Quinn acknowledges this is the tip of the iceberg.


Now, what would you do next?