Case study: Shepherd Village

Shepherd Village, A Caring Christian Seniors CommunityCompany
Shepherd Village is  Toronto’s largest not-for-profit seniors community on one site. Shepherd Village has cared for seniors since 1961 with an array of healthcare, retail, recreational, and spiritual services and four types of accommodation, from fully independent to full-care, all within a caring, Christian-based community.

In partnership with Cathy Ledden, and her team at Ledden Design iT, I co-led the development of a full rebrand for Shepherd Village. This included:

  • Research and discovery (application of existing external stakeholder research and initiated new internal stakeholder research)
  • Brand and communications strategy (key messaging, brand hierarchy and nomenclature)
  • Visual identity (logo, typefaces, colour palette, photography and imagery)
  • Marketing material design (corporate brochure, residence and service pamphlets, Terrace Sales Kit)
  • Website

Opportunity & approach
Despite its long history, Shepherd Village didn’t stand out in the crowded and competitive seniors living marketplace. Research showed that people did not know who Shepherd Village was, what it offered or its value. Its positioning and messaging did not consistently communicate its strongest and unique competitive advantages. Different taglines were in regular rotation and did not clearly show that Shepherd Village offered many housing and service choices, all in one location. Its brand image and marketing did not present a professional, modern, and diverse organization, which in reality it is. Its logo, typefaces, imagery, materials, and website looked dated. At the same time, Shepherd Village faced evolving demographic and sector realities that affected its operations, such as increased competition from for-profit seniors living corporations and the fact that today seniors are living with more complex health needs.

The communications goal of the rebrand was to communicate the brand’s differentiators, especially its “continuum of care” or catering to distinct lifestyles; make the brand more modern; and amplify the brand’s “caring” attribute, all while spotlighting the four distinct residences of the Shepherd Village community.

Shepherd Village’s modern, professional look, and first ever corporate key messaging are now evident on its website, first corporate brochure, and residences and services pamphlets. The logo, website, and photography deliberately convey ‘caring’ and show a diversity of people, representing Toronto’s demographics.

The new brand also supports Shepherd Village’s operational goals.  The clarity of the new brand and its marketing materials are credited with: increasing the volume of sales inquires and sales; shortening the time span between an inquiry and a sale/lease; and refining waitlists with strong prospects. These changes have strengthened Shepherd Village’s ability to offer care to more people today and for the future.

From the client
“We highly recommend Nathalie and Cathy to other organizations looking for branding and insightful marketing materials.

Their creative-thinking provided such value to the rebranding of Shepherd Village. They helped us think differently about what we wanted to achieve and how to connect us to a broader audience. One good example is how they helped us work through our marketing materials. We had lots of discussion and disagreements as to what should be included but their recommendations won the day. They were insightful and brought an external perspective, which we were missing. We also appreciated them keeping us on track with realistic deadlines, the service of managing such an extensive project was much appreciated.”

– Farhad Sethna, Vice President Corporate Services

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