The ExtraCare Charitable Trust is a leader in its field and Harrison Carloss has been its marketing partner since the creation of its first retirement village. This ambitious organisation has a consistent track-record of innovation and an appetite for doing things differently.
From day one it was clear that we’d need to think outside the box to deliver ExtraCare’s vision and a conventional property marketing approach would not suffice. Our challenge was to help achieve planning permission, galvanise local community support and then ensure that more than 75% of properties were sold off-plan before a village officially opened.
As we get older we still want to stay active and independent and we still value choice, opportunities and control over our own lives. This insight is at the heart of the ExtraCare concept and the marketing approach that supports it. It recognises that the ‘older and wiser’ consumer doesn’t like to be “sold to” and leads us to build a dialogue with potential customers at the earliest opportunity, creating trust and building a community before a brick is laid.
We applied the values of the ExtraCare brand to the marketing of its retirement villages. This defied a number of conventions within the housing, property and care sectors, which traditionally focused on above the line advertising and promotion. We like to think that this is a ‘social’ approach in action before social media was invented.
We built a dialogue with customers early on, engaging them with an inspirational proposition that focused on independent, healthy and active lifestyle benefits, rather than bricks and mortar. It enabled customers to shape and influence the end product and generated buy-in along the way. The approach reflected the lifestyle proposition in all aspects of the marketing mix and featured the voice of real residents as the most persuasive tool in building trust and confidence.
We developed and cultivated a database of over 2,000 people interested in moving to the first retirement village.
We built a vibrant community of older people interested in the village lifestyle before properties were released for sale.
We helped sell all the village properties and filled rental apartments before the village opened its doors.
We have since refined and developed our methodology over 16 other villages and are currently working on five current developments.