Case Study: Retirement Village

Posted on 09/04/2024 by Karen

Over the past few months, I've been working with an Adelaide retirement village to write their new website and marketing material.

The old website and brochures had been written in-house over a number of years, by different people. Now, they wanted to take the opportunity to make sure the branding and messages were up to date and consistent across all forms of communication.


Testimonials were the way to go

I wasn't quite ready for retirement myself, but I had previously worked with an Adelaide advertising agency on the press ads and brochures for another retirement village, Townsend Park. I remembered we got some great information from residents who were happy to chat about what they liked about living there. And when I mentioned testimonials to my new client, they loved the idea.


Good testimonials are hard to get

The best way to gather good testimonials is to sit down and interview people, ask really good questions, take notes and then write up the testimonial in their words. Over the years, I had developed a gift for it and I probably had Haigh's Chocolates to thank for that.


How working for Haigh's trained me

I worked with Haigh's for 11 years, writing their Haigh's Happenings newsletters, every one of which contained a staff profile. Chatting to a busy stranger (who often had no real interest in talking to me) helped me develop the ability to interview just about anybody. And over the phone, which is much harder! In person is always better, which is why I suggested I come in-house to meet with the happy residents at this retirement village.


In-house interviewing of happy residents

Although it wasn't formally an in-house gig for me, we started off with me coming in one afternoon a week for the first few weeks. The client wrangled the residents, booked them into time slots, then I interviewed them.

Over a few sessions, I chatted to members of the residents committee and then other residents who were happy to talk to me. As we went along, we made sure that I interviewed a good cross-section of retirees who had chosen to move to this retirement village for all different reasons.

After interviewing and writing up all the testimonials, I was intending to edit them down, but it was just too hard to do! I told the client that my attempt to write short testimonials was an epic fail — because there was just so much great information in these longer testimonials, I found it impossible to delete anything. But what a fantastic problem to have! These residents loved living here so much, they kept thinking of more and more lovely things to tell me. And, of course, the interviews all ran over time, for the same reason.


These interviews helped set the scene

These interviews really helped set the scene for me, about life at this retirement village. They gave me a great insight into the organisation and helped me decide how best to approach the writing of the rest of the content for the website, brochure and other marketing materials.

After working in-house for those first few weeks, the rest of the project was written remotely, with the writer coming in as needed for the occasional brainstorming session and progress meetings with the whole team.