Please describe the scope of their work.
They’ve really served as a fully-integrated marketing company for us. Initially they helped us with some design work, designing our collateral and print advertising. Once we saw that they did a good job, what it spiraled into next was a branding exercise, a process where they helped us really look at what our business is, and helped us come up with a defined brand. From there, they continued to help us design not only the print collateral, but our website and social media presence as well and just generally helped us implement our new brand.
What was your process for selecting JB Chicago to work with?
We met them at a conference. We took a leap of faith; we liked Steve Gaither [CEO, at JB Chicago], and we thought he had good vision for what we could be. What I really liked was, he understood the senior housing business a little, he had some senior housing clients, but more than that, he had a lot of other different types of clients. I really wanted to bring something different to the senior living business, a lot of what goes on there is recycled, which isn't how it should be.
I wanted Steve, in a tasteful way, to take what he’s done in the bar industry, the gym industry, and different types of sectors, and help me bring it into senior living. I think he did a good job of that. I think the branding is very, very unique, and it stands out. We’ve had a lot of compliments on our work, our website, and things of that nature.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
I think the websites cost us close to $40,000 or $50,000. I think the branding cost about $10,000. I’d say all in on design stuff, we probably spent about $20,000. We pay about $2,000 a month on an ongoing basis for social media, some of that goes directly towards advertising. That amount fluctuates, it’s been as high and $10,000 and as low as $2,000.
Can you tell me what the timeline of the engagement was?
It never really began or was completed. We started with Steve three or four years ago, and it’s still ongoing. He still does our social media on a monthly basis. We continue to use them as a one-stop shop for our marketing needs on bigger projects.
Do you have any stats, or metrics, or general feedback to show the success of the project?
The quality is outstanding. I don’t know if I have any specific data that I can share. I can tell you that the culture has improved with the properties in the sense that everybody now knows they’re working for Bloom as opposed to a bunch of different operating companies. Now there’s a single brand, everybody can identify with each other, and it’s consistent from property to property and market to market. Again, that’s not measurable.
On average, I get a certain amount of leads per month from social media and the websites, but I haven’t tracked that all the way to move-in. So I can’t give any general statistics on how much we’ve spent, which equals ROI on actual move-ins. So we took a leap of faith, and we think it works.
I can share one piece of anecdotal information. We purchased two distressed buildings in South Carolina about two years ago. We plugged them into the Bloom system and did a big ad and direct mail campaign using the branding developed by JB Chicago. The buildings ended up filling up to complete stabilization to 100% within a matter of six months. Obviously that’s partly due to a new family owned and operated company coming into the market and new people, but it also had a lot to do with the branding, the new look of the company, and the name change.
Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
A couple of things. They've worked hard to understand our business, and understand what I want, which is to take a fresh look and feel from outside the industry and bring it to the senior living business in a tasteful manner. I think Steve’s got a very good team under him. All the people who work for him are very, very good, so I feel comfortable, I don’t have to just rely on him. As a matter of fact, they’re probably better than him, haha. I like that I don’t need the boss all the time, so I think that’s positive.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?
The only constructive criticism, and I would take it with a grain of salt because I know marketing is expensive, but I think it’s been tough for me to work with them on smaller projects.