Arif Abdulla cringes every time he sees the same old stereotypical images of seniors sharing a laugh over a cup of tea, watering their flowers or playing chess.
As vice-president of marketing and communications for Nurse Next Door, a Vancouver-based home healthcare service provider with locations across the country, Abdulla is aware that today’s seniors see themselves not as frail and sedentary, but vital and active.
Nurse Next Door currently has about 4,000 clients across Canada, and has doubled its client base in each of the past three years according to Abdulla. The company is focused on helping clients remain in their own home as long as possible through services that range from simple companionship and in-home meal preparation to nursing care.
With the aging baby boomer population, the home healthcare sector is poised for explosive growth in the coming years. According to Abdulla, 10,000 people in North America reach the age of 65 each day. People 65 and older currently account for about 13% of the Canadian population, with that number set to double in the next 20 years.
With competition in the home healthcare space expected to intensify, Nurse Next Door realized that it could stand out from its competitors with a brand refresh that portrays both the company and its clients as vibrant, fun loving and caring.
Even though future clients were part of the Woodstock Generation, Abdulla says the industry still tends to present seniors in the wrong light. “We’re an industry that’s highly competitive, but also highly stale,” he said. “If you look at our industry, it’s filled with clinical, stale, muted imagery that doesn’t really portray seniors in the way they see themselves.”
Established in Vancouver in 2001, Nurse Next Door had already set itself apart from its competitors with its use of distinctive bright pink cars that went from home to home. The recent revamp, conducted with boutique Vancouver agency Domogeneous and an independent web developer, encompasses each of the company’s consumer touch-points – from its website, brochures and direct-mail pieces, to its e-mail and phone call signoffs.
The website, for example, eschews stereotypical senior imagery in favour of photos showing a grandfather and his grandson playing Wii, elderly twin sisters laughing gleefully while flashing the peace sign, or a dapper, bowtie-clad senior holding a glass of scotch. Launched in the spring, the revamp was conducted with input from a four-person senior’s advisory committee.
And while the organization has retained its original positioning “Making lives better,” it has also added a new slogan: “Our talent is caring.”
Nurse Next Door is something of an anomaly in the home health care industry, which tends to be dominated by small, localized companies. Employing a franchise-based model, the company has grown to include 47 operations in most major markets across the country (with the exception of Quebec), and is looking to add 15-20 locations in the U.S. and another five in Canada within the next year said Abdulla.