Great storytelling = larger mindshare = higher brand equity

Some of the most iconic brands in the world have fascinating stories behind their genesis. Whether it’s Colonel Harland Sanders’ story on how he ended up founding KFC or how iconic Italian luxury fashion brand Versace got its name – there is a story behind every brand. And it’s these stories that make these brands admirable, humane and iconic, writes Piali Dasgupta, SVP Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities. The venerable Piyush Pandey once famously said, “Products are made in factories. Brands are made in people’s hearts.” This is the fundamental truth of brand building. A marketer, who understands and acknowledges this, will understand the importance of storytelling in brand building. There is no brand without a captivating story. American literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall, in his book, ‘The Storytelling Animal’, talks about how human beings are natural storytellers and they have a compulsion to turn everything into a story. As human beings, we crave a good story. So, when Google tells us the story of long-lost friends across the border trying to be reunited after decades, it is a timeless story with universal appeal that takes their brand purpose forward. Storytelling is a very powerful tool, something more and more brands are realising and leveraging judiciously. It not only results in higher brand salience and top of mind but also forms a deep connect with end users – one which is not transactional in nature. Think of the most memorable ad campaigns in India in the last two decades. The ones that we remember are the ones that told a great story. Whether it is Cadbury’s “Pappu Paas Ho Gaya”, or SBI Life Insurance’s “Heere ko kya pataa tumhari umar kya hai” or even the socially relevant Ariel ads in recent years – they are memorable because they told a tale. Hence, the formula is quite simple. Great storytelling = larger mindshare = higher brand equity. Brand building is a long term game. And category building, even longer. Unfortunately, no shortcuts apply here. It needs patience, perseverance, strategic thinking, and of course, customer obsession, all geared towards achieving a set of unambiguous business objectives. You remove any one of the four, and your brand/category building efforts will be adversely affected. Customer centricity is the single most important factor that determines whether or not a brand will be a category leader. Brands that make customer centricity a part of their culture will not only have a larger market share and be more profitable, but will also see a higher customer lifecycle value, as it will earn customer loyalty – the most crucial business currency today. And customer centricity really starts and ends with listening to a customer’s problems, and then inventing or innovating a product that solves that specific problem. New age brands are using digital tools such as social media listening to mine customer insight and get a strong hold on the pulse of the customer, and eventually addressing a need. Three years ago, when McDonalds brought back Szechuan sauce for just a day, and in the process ran out of the sauce, customers expressed their disappointment on social media. The fast food giant listened, admitted that they let their fans down, and promised to bring the sauce back that winter in much larger quantities. It’s a great example of customer-centricity and quick reaction to customer sentiment. I work in a nascent category such as senior living. The category is not only niche, but also attempts to solve very specific problems pertaining to a certain demographic – senior citizens. At Columbia Pacific Communities, we put the customer at the centre of everything we do, and foster a culture of providing unconditional love, care and respect to our customers. This, we believe, is the only way to serve seniors. Our motto is to ensure a worry-free life for seniors by looking after their every need and letting them enjoy the best phase of their lives so that they live healthier and happier for longer. Customer centricity is not only about studying customer data and customer behaviour and showing them an algorithm backed product recommendation. It is about a larger awareness about a customer’s life that goes beyond mapping his online behaviour. What makes Netflix such a customer centric company? Perhaps the fact that in May 2020, bang in the midst of the global pandemic when the whole world was spending a lot more time on Netflix than ever before, the OTT platform, in an unconventional move, announced that it will stop charging subscription fee to users that haven’t used the platform for 2 years and ask them if they would like to continue the subscription. It’s a radical move, but one that earned the brand tremendous goodwill and respect. And that’s what customer centricity truly is about.

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In-depth: Why selling specifically to senior citizens is yet to catch the fancy of marketers

The purchasing power of senior citizens is increasing more than ever. But why are they missing from the communications strategy of brands? BestMediaIno.com finds out With technology and the YOLO (you live only once) spirit rising among India’s retired or soon-to-be-retiring population, the segment that was once considered as a restricted buyer is now going through the process of something called ‘purchasing liberalisation’. The so-called senior citizens aren’t now wary of making expensive purchases, including gadgets. But why aren’t brands focusing on them as a full-fledged TG and why are marketers still chasing just millennials? (The Ganesh Chaturthi ad of Tanishq shows how three senior citizens together give their caretaker a ‘Vignaharta’ pendant; it shows they are self-sufficient to purchase as senior citizens.) Rahul Gandhi In India, marketing to senior citizens is still at a premature stage. Rahul Gandhi, CMO at iD Fresh Food said that people who will retire soon are those who have been working for over three decades from the early 90s. A time from when India’s economy started opening up, capitalisation came in and people started making money in the country. Gandhi said the previous generation of senior citizens were more into government jobs and did not have access to new products and so not many brands were marketing to them. Categories such as luxury cars would not market themselves to senior citizens as the group didn’t have a lot of money. In the last couple of years, marketers have realised that a whole host of a generation that started working in the early 1990s are going to be senior citizens in a few years and those people have money, having worked for so many years. Now is when marketing to them will be right because their disposable incomes are high, Gandhi said. “Once in a while, communication is launched from brands in the insurance space or health care space. But many categories such as fashion and apparel, FMCG and automobiles are still behind the curve but I see a lot of it changing in the next 10 years as a lot of disposable income is going to be with such people,” said Gandhi. One of the reasons brands do not use senior citizens as a part of their campaigns as they don’t see the TG a key decision-maker. Brands always market to people who are key decision-makers of a purchase. Kartik Johari Most of the flashy brands that marketers are enamoured by are not usually the ones employing disruptive tactics or are selling unique products, said Kartik Johari, Vice-President at Nobel Hygiene, makers of Friends Adult Diapers. “We are seeing Friends Adult Diapers fall on the cusp. There are successful examples of companies catering only to seniors and seeing an excellent return on their money,” said Johari. Ironically, Nobel Hygiene entered this space looking at it as an ancillary product with baby diapers 20 years ago. Its adult diaper foray led the brand into this disruptive path, towards being the first and biggest player in the adult incontinence space. Piali Dasgupta Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice-President, Marketing at Columbia Pacific Communities, feels marketing to seniors hasn’t evolved but continues to be ridden with clichés, ageism and stereotypes. Dasgupta said there is a tendency to be patronising and sometimes even condescending to this segment. And that’s unfortunate because senior citizens today value individuality more than anything else. They want to be treated as individuals and not as a demographic. There have been occasional moments of brilliance in marketing and advertising targeted to senior citizens. Piyush Pandey’s brilliant ad for SBI Life Insurance, ‘Heere ko kya paata tumhari umar kya hai’ done 11 years ago comes to the mind, as does the Google Ad done last year featuring best friends across the border getting reunited. Things are changing, albeit slowly. And a handful of brands are actively making senior citizens a part of the narrative and portraying them in a fresh new light. Thomas Cook’s #NeverTooOld, which talks about senior citizens making international travel plans, the recent Tanishq ad for Ganesh Chaturthi featuring a bunch of senior citizens surprising their “Vighnaharta” with a Tanishq pendant and the delightful Vodafone ad in 2017 featuring an old couple using GPS to find their way around Goa, are just a few examples of brands getting their tonality and communication right when it comes to talking to this consumer segment. “These brands, along with a few others, are crafting communication that empowers seniors, show them in a positive light by creating characters that are fun-loving, jovial, tech-savvy and living life to the fullest. And that is the right way to build narratives around senior citizens,” said Dasgupta. An expert said the change now is that today’s senior citizens are far more aware of what’s happening around the world. They have better purchasing power because of their provident fund and retirement plans. They are now far more sufficient than they were earlier and that’s why they have become an important segment for marketers to target. “Now marketers have started offering this group a specific demo, which has to be targeted and which has a consumption pattern that is unique to them and which is pretty much there,” she said. “30 years ago, ads showed a grandfather or grandmother sitting and interacting with their grandchildren but they were not really very active. Now we have people coming out of the typical grandparent’s shadow and are being used as lead protagonists,” she adds. Fevicol ad: At present, there are only a handful of players specifically catering to senior citizens. Senior care as a category is at a very nascent stage in the country. Experts said while the industry is growing, it’s at least another decade before senior care becomes mainstream, mature and an organised sector. “Millennials born in the early 80s will turn 50 by 2030. These are the people who grew up with computers and using credit cards. They also come with a different mindset of not being very careful about making sure they have a balance in savings. They have been spenders mostly and they will become older in 10 years, which is going to drive the change in business growth of brands targeting the senior community,” said Gandhi. India is a young country and senior citizens are not as large a demographic as any other age group. So that could certainly be a reason why only a handful of brands target this demographic, and why they are largely amiss from popular culture, media and mainstream discourse, Dasgupta said. Gandhi said now is not the right time to launch luxury products for senior citizens as today’s seniors have not reached that stage of luxury purchase. But maybe in 10-15 years from now, we will have people marketing luxury retirement homes and Mercedes to senior citizens. Seniors are one of the hottest growing demographics in the market, said Johari. Growth potential of the segment Johari said the market is just opening up to the potential of marketing to seniors. There is a spate of new companies, from assisted living for seniors, retirement communities, special vacation plans, special offers on medical check-ups, to harmonised meal packages—a litany of products and brands who are servicing their needs. “Double-digit growth to the range of 15-20% CAGR can be expected by targeting the senior citizen community as a separate tag. If you have the right proposition for them, you will be beating the overall growth,” said Gandhi. However, Gandhi doesn’t see a lot of communication changing for the senior citizen group from mainline brands. “Newer categories whose core TG will be senior citizens will draft campaigns on them.” Marketers have to wake up to the fact that this community has the purchasing power and is ready to spend on themselves. Their needs for the product will be different from the typical younger age group. This TG wants a simple tech that has less operating effort and there is a lot of traction for products focused on this TG. New category of products and services expanding According to Gandhi, there will be a growing concern for health, nutrition, going back to roots, going back to tradition, having no preservatives and chemicals. This positioning is very strong and grows as increasingly people nearing 50 will start adopting such lifestyles and continue into their old age. This also encompasses health supplements’ and vitamins or Ayurveda products. Those are categories that are likely to benefit from a population that is ageing and is rich. By 2050, senior citizens would account for 20% of India’s population. And this means that the senior care industry will see a meteoric growth in the coming years. Experts said brands have to understand the product demand of this particular TG and devise the product that tweaks that needs. Brands need to know the pain point the consumers have and how their product can and will solve that pain point. Thoroughly researching, understanding from the consumers about their concerns and why consumers will spend to buy a brand’s product. According to a 2018 report by Agewell Foundation, senior citizens are emerging as a very influential consumer segment as most senior citizens today are not retiring after 60, and continue to work past the retirement age. It’s a misconception that senior citizens do not have disposable income. Yes, they are certainly conscious spenders when compared to millennials. But they are also the ones that invest in high-value product categories such as jewellery, luxury products and real estate, said Dasgupta. Dasgupta said that Agetech (technology for the aged) will become an important focus area and an emerging segment, with more and more companies creating wearable technology for senior citizens to ensure safety and security. “There will also be a growing need for specialised and focused services for seniors — right from travel to mental health care and financial advisory, and a rise in boutique firms that will address this market. More and more seniors will continue to work/consult part-time after the age of 60, and hence there will be an emergence of seniors only networking platforms that will help seniors find work that suits their requirements,” Dasgupta said. The trend will be to offer simple and effortless product and services that benefits them and they become more independent. In general, there will be a greater focus on specialised services for seniors starting with healthcare, nutrition and mental health to travel and leisure as well as career and finances. Creating communication targeting senior citizens In terms of communication strategy, seniors tend to have a comparatively higher attention span than the millennial audience. They have a great appetite for good quality content, irrespective of the length of it. So there isn’t a constant pressure to grab their attention in the first three seconds. If a content served is meaningful, relevant and helpful for them, they would engage with you. The senior citizen TG is looking for meaningful content, as opposed to ephemeral content, which the youth audience tends to consume. And hence, they respond very well to long-form content in the form of articles, blogs and magazine features, said Dasgupta. Communication should be enhancing and not showing the dependency of the TG on that particular product or service, said an expert. According to experts, television dominates the choice of medium for content consumption for senior citizens, followed by print. The habits they have formed of consuming news will remain. In terms of offline channels, nothing beats print even today as seniors do like to start their day by reading the newspaper. A large number of them watch television, and so that’s a great medium as well for both reach and frequency when it comes to targeting senior citizens, said Dasgupta. As for online channels, WhatsApp especially is a channel that seniors use heavily and it is a great platform to connect with them.

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Senior Citizens are more susceptible to COVID-19

Authored By Dr. Mahesh Mylarappa, Consultant & Head of Emergency, Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal, Medical Partners to Columbia Pacific Communities Aging is a series of processes that begin with life and continue throughout the life cycle. It represents the closing period in the lifespan, a time when the individual looks back on life, lives on past accomplishments and begins to finish off his life course. Adjusting to the changes that accompany old age requires that an individual is flexible and develops new coping skills to adapt to the changes that are common to this time in their lives (Warnick, 1995). Seniors are more susceptible to COVID-19. This is because seniors have low immunity due to age and also because they have comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac diseases that make them more vulnerable to getting infected. However, they can take necessary precautions to safeguard themselves. Most importantly they should be isolated and follow certain precautions which includes maintaining safe distance, wearing a face mask, frequent hand washing and avoiding touching the face. Apart from these, inculcating good practices such as maintaining hygiene, eating fresh food, keeping oneself hydrated, having supplemental nutrition such as green leafy vegetables, fruits, eggs etc. It is also important to take care of comorbid conditions mainly blood pressure and blood sugar levels, regularising their medicine intake, follow up with regular doctor and also keeping a check on symptoms and taking care of them immediately with the help of their regular doctor. Moreover, diet plays a significant role as it boosts the immunity and prevents getting infected and in case infected, a healthy diet helps the body fight and prevents worsening. Most importantly, balancing the diet with adequate mix of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and other nutrients should be done with understanding of our daily food intake. This means including the right vegetables and fruits. Eggs and meat including chicken and fish can provide adequate amount of nutrients and can be planned weekly as per requirements. A personalised chart can be prepared with the help of a dietician. Apart from these, there are supplemental nutrients in the form of medications present in the market. A balanced diet with adequate hydration would be a key to boosting the immunity and staying safe. Apart from diet, the most important thing that supplements to immunity is physical activity in the form of walks, jog and exercises. This can be done for a period of 20 minutes daily which increases the circulation in the body and also helps in regularising the blood pressure and blood sugar. Physical activities significantly boosts the immunity along with proper diet and helps in fighting infections and recovery when infected. Yoga, meditation, Pranayama are all very disciplined practices and has always been an advantage to many who practice to keep them fit and healthy. It influences both the physical and mental health positively and also helps in the overall wellness of the individuals. Therefore, along with physical activity it is best to practice meditation for a few minutes on a regular basis. Activities such as listening to music, talking to friends, watching soothing television programmes, taking a short walk in the garden can help in keeping the mind calm and reducing anxiety thus, helps in boosting the immunity and playing a major role in being fit and healthy. In the present pandemic situation the elderly population is at high risk and those with underlying health issues should understand the need for a balanced and healthy lifestyle with strict adherence to the precautionary measures. This along with importance to diet, physical activity and mental well-being helps in improving the immunity and staying safe and healthy.

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Demand for Retirement Communities on the Rise

Considering the vulnerability of elderly living alone, the demand for retirement communities or assisted living facilities is on the rise. “We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of enquires along with 4x increase in organic traffic to our website,” said Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities. In an exclusive interview with RoofandFloor, he spoke about how the company is addressing Covid-19 challenges, changing buyers’ preferences, and much more. Here are the excerpts. What are buyers looking for in a retirement community? Are there needs evolving with time? The demand for wellness and wellbeing programmes aimed at positive ageing and a healthcare support structure is the top priority. Further, today’s well-travelled buyers are also looking for a more socially active and enabling service design that allows them to leave the day-to-day chores to the service provider while allowing them the freedom to pursue their interests and passions. What changes did you make in the retirement communities during the pandemic? More than changes, there was a reinforcement of current practices. This involved greater education and dissemination of credible information on the pandemic and the best ways to cope with it. The advice and expertise of our healthcare partners helped in countering the misinformation overload that accompanied the pandemic. We were also able to ring-fence the communities and provide services through team members residing with the community. This ensured that residents were kept protected from the external environment. There was also the introduction of immunity-boosting beverages and augmentation of such ingredients in the daily menus. The most important thing was the increased use of digital platforms to keep residents engaged so that physical distancing did not result in social distancing and loneliness. Is the demand for retirement homes and assisted living facilities in India increasing? If yes, what are the reasons? Yes, the demand for assisted living facilities in India is on the rise. We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of enquires along with 4x increase in organic traffic to our website. Demand for Retirement Communities on the Rise Considering that the elderly are among the worst hit due to the ongoing pandemic, the demand for retirement communities will only increase in the times to come. Who are the potential buyers? There are two distinct segments—first, senior citizens who desire to reduce their dependence on external service providers. Secondly, there is a high degree of interest from future residents in the age group of 50 – 60. Which price segment has the highest demand? There is a demand for communities at different price points. Generally, the prices vary from Rs 20-50 Lakh for a 1BHK (excluding the more expensive metropolitan cities such as Mumbai and Delhi) depending on the size of the home and the location. Similarly, monthly maintenance charges may vary from Rs 8,000-40,000 depending on the range and quality of services provided within the community. What should the government do to promote senior living as an attractive asset class for investment? I do not believe that one should look at senior living communities as an asset class or a financial investment. Having said that, the government should: Waive off GST on services provided in senior living communities Relax the FSI and parking norms for senior living communities Consider financial initiatives that make the reverse mortgage more attractive Create guidelines to govern the physical structure and services at communities designed for seniors Your advice for selecting a senior living home in the post-Covid world. Select the community as a whole and not just the home. Your neighbours, after all, are going to be your neighbours forever. Also, the selection should be based on the needs you wish to address today or expect to have in the future.

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In conversation with Piali Dasgupta, Columbia Pacific Communities

Piali Dasgupta is the Senior Vice President, Marketing at Columbia Pacific Communities. As a marketing and communication professional, she has over 14 years of cultivated skill sets in strategizing and driving branding, imagery, brand positioning, brand architecture, customer segmentation, communication, and storytelling. Agency Reporter- How did the idea of establishing Columbia Pacific Communities in India come into the picture? In 2017, our founder Daniel R Baty came to India and realized that the country was finally ready for senior living. Baty has over 40 years of rich experience in building senior living communities in the US of A and is also the promoter of Columbia Asia Hospitals in India. He acquired a company called Serene Senior Care in 2017, that has nine senior living communities across five cities in south India. The idea was to first learn about the business in India and gather enough customer insight and then reimagine and recreate the category in India. Dan realized that the social fabric in India has changed dramatically in the last two years and senior citizens and their children are seldom in the same city, or even in the same country. Hence the need to solve for a large social problem that few are willing to talk about arose. With their children traveling far and wide for their careers, today’s seniors find themselves lonely, distressed, and without a solid support system. That’s where Columbia Pacific Communities comes in. AR- Is there a particular reason for setting up the residential units only in south India for now? Two of the top three states in India with the highest senior citizen population are in the south of India – Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This has led to a large number of senior living facilities being built in these regions. In our case, as mentioned above, we acquired a company that was focused entirely on the south market. Our nine communities are across Chennai, Kanchipuram, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, and Bangalore. Also, a large number of the younger generation of south Indians have migrated to the USA, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and part of Europe, thanks to their software jobs. They have left their aging parents back home. It is this audience segment that we primarily cater to. Having said that, we have recently announced our first project outside south India, in a JV with Pune’s numero uno developer, Nyati Group. The project in Pune will be our first one outside of south India. AR- What lies at the essence of CPC’s identity that sets it apart from other senior living communities? Our brand credo of “positive aging” is our key differentiator, coupled with a deep commitment to bringing world-class senior living to India. We are committed to helping seniors live healthier, better, and happier for longer through the power of positive and active aging. Our communities are designed to encourage social engagement and interaction which go a long way in eliminating loneliness, one of the biggest killers for this demography. Our guiding ethos of positive aging underlines the fact that age is just a number and you are as old as you feel. We look at age as an enabler rather than a deterrent and work towards shattering ageism and age-related stereotypes that exist in society. We aim to build communities that offer seniors a worry-free life where they can focus on all that they truly love and cherish, leaving the mundane, troublesome, and hectic chores to us. AR- Building awareness about a concept that isn’t talked about widely must have been an uphill task. What challenges did you face while reaching out to your target group? This is a category that is mired in deep-rooted stigma. For decades and years, senior living communities have been seen as “old age homes,” which paint a dreary, dismal, pitiful picture in people’s minds. People have not looked at the category as a lifestyle option. It has always been seen as an option for those who don’t have a choice. However, what we are building at Columbia Pacific Communities is as far from “old age homes” as one can possibly get. We are building holistic lifestyle options for seniors who like to live well, lead an active life, have seen and done it all, and now want to spend the rest of their lives in comfort. Changing the perception of senior living communities from “something for people that don’t have a choice” to “something that people choose” has certainly been an uphill task and one that we still struggle with. And this needle can only be moved with compelling narratives that tug at your heartstrings and deliver the message in a way that positions our offering as an aspirational lifestyle choice. Besides the challenge of breaking the age-old stigma and misconceptions that exist in this category, the key challenge has been to catalyze a conversation between two generations of people where they both see the merits of opting for a solution such as ours. AR- There is a huge digital divide that exists amongst the senior citizens and youngsters in our country. How do you deal with the same in your marketing and social media efforts? Senior citizens today are not strangers to digital platforms. They use platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, and Quora extensively and are very comfortable with email and video calls. Of course, the debate is on social media security for senior citizens with over 60% of senior citizens participating in a Help Age India study revealing that they feel the usage of social media has resulted in economic losses through spam calls, etc. We have a digital-first approach for our marketing with a large share of our marketing budgets reserved for digital spending across digital marketing channels such as Google Search, Affiliates, email marketing, WhatsApp, display ads, and social media. Our learnings suggest that digital channels offer us the highest ROI and also help us execute target marketing which very few traditional/offline mediums can do. Given that our target audience is a combination of both the primary (senior citizens looking for a solution for themselves) and secondary audiences (younger generation looking for a solution for their parents) digital media work quite well for us. We use digital marketing to address the entire marketing funnel – from top to middle and bottom. That is, from awareness to interest, right through conversion and sales. Additionally, we have used social media effectively, for a lot of our award-winning brand campaigns in the past year and a half. No media allows a two-way conversation quite like social media does, and we leverage that pretty well when planning campaigns that are aimed at starting a conversation around age, aging, and what it means to be a senior citizen in this country today. Our digital-only initiative, The Living Room, which was launched during the lockdown, is a series of 40-minute Facebook Live sessions, aimed to give seniors access to some of the finest minds in our country from the comfort of their living rooms. These include stalwarts, experts, professionals, popular personalities such as comedian Anuvab Pal, medical expert Dr. Mahesh Mylarappa, cricket commentator Charu Sharma, actor, filmmaker, and activist Nandita Das, veteran actor Kabir Bedi, ad guru Prahlad Kakkar, musician Vasundhara Das, and music composer Anu Malik, among others. AR- Did roping in celebrity figures like Anupam Kher and Zeenat Aman help in changing the mindset of your senior target audience? Changing an age-old perception about age, aging, and how senior living communities are perceived in this country is a time-consuming exercise. It is not something that can be attained, much as we would like it to. The needle can be moved to some extent with consistent efforts towards changing the narrative around aging. Having said that, celebrities that have a high resonance with our primary target group (55-75-year-old) does help build credibility for a new brand in the country and invoke confidence among our audience. In the case of Zeenat, it was also about a sense of deep nostalgia we wanted people to feel. As a brand, we are quite particular about the public figures and celebrities that we associate with. Not only do they need to have an influence on our target audience but also by men and women of relevance. They also need to be people that have, over a period of time, imbibed the brand’s core philosophy of “positive aging.” To us, Zeenat Aman and Anupam Kher, are two such people, who are only getting better, zanier and zestier with age. AR- What has been the impact of the pandemic and the ‘new normal’ on your marketing strategy? Almost all digital KPIs have seen a massive uptake across demographics in the past five months – from average time spent on platforms to the number of downloads. This has resulted in brands shifting a large chunk of their offline budget to digital media. This, coupled with a drop in both CPM and CPC pricing on platforms such as Facebook by 50% and 19% globally, has led to brands across categories such as FMCG, real estate, and edutech, who are looking at getting the best returns from their marketing investments given the budget cuts. We are no different. And we have adopted almost a 100% digital marketing approach during this time, spending close to nil on offline channels, barring just one TVC with Tata Sky Seniors. We also tried to gain customer trust back through effective communication highlighting safety and hygiene measures adopted by our communities, with the use of testimonials featuring our residents who were more than happy to praise the exemplary service and care they received during the various phases of lockdown. We have reduced discretionary spending and focused on ROI-driven marketing and adopted a “wait and watch” strategy to see how the economy bounces back. And finally, we have used hope, human connection, kindness, gratitude, and empathy as the key sentiments for brand narratives during these very troubled times. AR- What is that one element that is central to your award-winning campaigns? Do you think it will or has to change in the post-COVID era? As a brand, we don’t create campaigns with the sole aim of winning awards. I don’t think any marketer approaches campaigns in that manner. We create campaigns with specific objectives – they could be anything from awareness and interest, to more lower-funnel objectives such as leads and conversions. What we monitor is how our campaigns perform against the specific OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). If they perform well and achieve or overachieve our targets, then they are already successful. And successful campaigns have a higher chance of winning the awards because the jury at an award show today certainly looks at the efficacy of a campaign as much as it looks at the brilliance of the central idea that helped achieve the targets. If I look at our award-winning campaigns – whether it was RELEARN, a campaign done last year to shatter age-related stereotypes and carry the central message of positive aging forward, or our innovative senior citizens Christmas flash mob campaign, I think the common element is cutting edge creativity and out of the box thinking coupled with a strong focus on creating compelling content. We lead with content and put content in the center of everything that we do. Ultimately, we are storytellers and we believe in carrying the narrative of positive aging forward through various campaigns. In the post COVID world, I see creativity, innovation, sharpened strategy and purposeful content (as opposed to content for the sake of content) play a much more crucial role. And a combination of the above would be a recipe for successful campaigns even in the post COVID world. However, innovation would be key to everything marketers wish to do in order to connect with their audience.

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Anu Malik: Four hundred films and not counting

New Delhi, Sep 3 | As a 14-year-old working in the film industry, he once saw composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal at Mehboob Studio. Overawed, he ran away, wondering how he could ever compete with such names. “But there was a spirit to excel right from childhood.AIt was not easy to get even one film considering people like RD Burman and Laxmikant-Pyarelal were doing such excellent work,” remembers music composer Anu Malik. It may be almost 45 years since the incident and he may have composed music for more than 400 films, but Malik, who won the National Award for Best Music Direction for ‘Refugee’ and has carried home several trophies for Music Direction, working with filmmakers across generations, insists that consistent hard work and striving for excellence has kept him relevant all these years. “My struggle is my strength,” he smiles. At present working on the score for Priyadarshan’s ‘Hungama 2’, starring Paresh Rawal, Shilpa Shetty, Meezaan Jaffrey, Malik, the music composer, who also worked with the director in ‘Hera Pheri’ and ‘Virasat’, tells IANS, “I am pretty excited as I have done the entire score for this fun film. Priyadarshan is an amazing director and it is always a pleasure working with him.” Talking about the drastic changes he has witnessed in the music industry, Malik, who belongs to the Kapurthala Gharana recalls that from a live orchestra comprising hundreds of musicians to the present age digital technology when he is making songs sitting at home — it has definitely been a 360 degree change. “At the age of 55, I had to regroup my life and understand that in order to survive with such great talent around me, I have no choice but to master technology. Today, ‘A minus’ can be turned into a ‘B minus’, ‘S Major’ song can suddenly be turned into a ‘D Major’. You can even auto-tune your voice — would this all be possible without high-end technology?” asks Malik, who grew up listening to the Beatles and finds solace in Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt.Ravi Shankar and Kishori Amonkar. Considering he has been a consistent face at talent shows, Malik, who made his debut as a music composer in 1980 with the film ‘Hunterwali 77’ admits that walking away with the winner’s trophy does not really guarantee sure-shot success in the film industry. “Remember, there is much talent in the industry and the competition is always very fierce. Talent shows bring the spotlight on you, but to truly arrive, there is a long struggle. You have to consistently sing extraordinarily and continue to practice. Malik, who recently spoke during a virtual chat series organised by Columbia Pacific Communities on how music plays an instrumental role in keeping ageing minds happy, adds, “I have always felt deeply for seniors, so I am bound to like the Living Room concept by CPC.” All for professional music institutes, the composer, citing the example of Berklee College of Music adds, “I may not have learnt professionally, but it makes a lot of sense to have a great institute, boasting of top faculty, devoted completely to music. After all, we have colleges for sciences, no?” Admiring young singers releasing singles on YouTube, the music composer says it is refreshing to listen to so many new voices. “It is an excellent platform to showcase your skills, and I am glad they are using it to its full potential. Not only are they getting a sizable fan base, the medium is also exposing them to many music composers and directors.”

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Columbia Pacific Group to expand senior living biz in India, forms JV to develop project in Pune

Columbia Pacific Group to invest about 150 crore in tie-up with Nyati group, to develop senior living housing projects Columbia Pacific Group ties up with Nyati group in PuneColumbia Pacific Group ties up with Nyati group in Pune US-based Columbia Pacific group has tied with Nyati group to develop senior living housing projects and will build the first project jointly in Pune at Rs 150 crore investment to tap the expected rise in demand for such properties post COVID-19, a top company official has said. Columbia Pacific Communities, which is part of Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Management, entered into senior living housing in India in 2017 with the acquisition of Tamil Nadu-based Serene Senior Care. At present, it has nine senior living projects, while the tenth one being constructed in Bengaluru. In an interview with PTI, Columbia Pacific Communities CEO Mohit Nirula said the company is bullish in growth prospect of senior living housing segment in India and is targeting to add four new projects every year. “We have formed a 50:50 joint venture with Pune-based Nyati group to develop senior living projects. The first project of this JV will come up in a 200-acre township,” he told PTI. The JV would build around 200 housing units on a 2 acre land parcel within the township. The construction is expected to start next year after taking necessary approvals from regulator RERA and other government departments. The price of an apartment will be between Rs 50 lakh and 80 lakh. Besides senior friendly amenities and medical support, the project will be fully serviced including food, housekeeping and 24-hour assistance. Asked about investment, Nirula said the project cost is estimated to be around Rs 150 crore. The joint venture is in the process of identifying other land parcels as well to develop senior living projects, he said. Nirula said the demand for ready-to-move-in units in senior living housing projects has increased after the outbreak of coronavirus disease. People want to buy or rent flats in senior living projects because of safety and security aspect as well as other services, he added. “We believe that community living and social engagement is the strongest antidote to loneliness and a wonderful enabler of positive ageing,” Nirula said. Property consultant Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said the demand for retirement homes and assisted living facilities will rise for both rental and ownsership purposes. “COVID-19 and its inherent dangers to the elderly have brought into sharp focus the importance of dedicated and protected facilities aimed specifically at the needs to seniors,” he said. Recently, Anarock came out with a report on senior living that suggested most of the projects are located in south India and tier II cities. It mentioned that India’s aged population (>60 years) is expected to touch nearly 17.3 crore by 2026. Apart from Columbia Pacific, Ashiana Housing, Brigade Enterprises, Paranjpe Schemes, Tata Housing and Max India Ltd’s Antara Senior Living are major players in this segment. Columbia Pacific Communities is currently operating about 1,600 residential units in 5 cities and 9 locations across south India. It has four senior living projects in Coimbatore, two in Chennai and one each in Bengaluru, Kanchipuram and Puducherry. Founded by Dan Baty, Columbia Pacific group has more than 40 years of experience in designing, building and managing senior housing communities globally. Columbia Pacific Management oversees international healthcare business, and develops as well as operates hospitals, clinics and senior housing. Columbia Pacific group has 11 hospitals in India under the brand ‘Columbia Asia Hospitals’ having more than 1,000 beds.

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Nyati Group set to bring world-class senior living to Pune

Announces partnership with Columbia Pacific Communities, India’s largest senior living community operator, on World Senior Citizens Day PUNE: Nyati Group, India’s leading real estate developer, forays into a new asset class, Senior Living, to cater to senior citizens in the country by creating communities that offer the highest international standards in design, facilities, and services that allow residents to age positively. To bring in world-class expertise, Nyati Group has joined hands with Columbia Pacific Communities for its first project. Columbia Pacific Communities is part of the Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Management, also the promoters of Columbia Asia Hospitals, with over 40 years of experience in building, managing, and operating senior living communities in the USA, China, Canada, and India. Nyati Group and Columbia Pacific Communities announced their first project on the occasion of World Senior Citizens Day, a day observed and celebrated worldwide to support seniors through the aging process as well as to recognize their contribution to society. India will be home to 17.3 crore senior citizens by 2026, as per the Registrar General of India. The evolving lifestyle in urban centers has created a need for self-sufficient and socially engaged communities, where the seniors can lead a healthy and content life. With limited supply from Grade A developers, there is an urgent need to cater to this segment with well-designed and fully serviced facilities. Nyati Group and Columbia Pacific Communities’ first senior living project in India will be launched at Nyati County, nestled in the green haven of southern Pune. It is spread across 210 acres comprising several gated communities that are home to over 6500 happy families. It is the perfect location for scenic views, great infrastructure, and superlative accessibility. The senior living initiative will be launched at the heart of Nyati County with over 3.64 lakh sq.ft. dedicated exclusively to this enterprise. The launch is expected to be at the start of the next fiscal year. The senior living facilities will be holistically designed bringing the finest amenities and care on offer. The community will be fully serviced for food, round-the-clock medical support, and physical activities. The project will have approximately 200 units in 1 and 2 BHK formats with unit sizes ranging from 736 – 1331 sq. ft. priced between Rs 50 lakhs and 80 lakhs. Nyati Group aims to make senior living a mainstream concept in Maharashtra. The senior living facilities will be designed to meet international standards and offer the finest of amenities. Besides senior friendly amenities and medical support, the communities will be fully serviced including food, housekeeping and 24-hour assistance. Pune has a population of over 5 lakh senior citizens. On the Mercer Quality of Living Rankings, Pune is ranked at 145, the second highest score for an Indian city. Although the city has traditionally been seen as a pensioner’s paradise, it is an underserved market when it comes to world class senior living. Columbia Pacific Communities has pioneered the concept of community living for seniors across the world and are committed to bringing world class practices in senior living to India. The joint venture with Nyati is one of the Group’s several collaborations to build world class senior living communities in India with fully serviced residences designed to international standards. Commenting on the new business foray, Mr. Pranav Nyati, Director, Nyati Group said, “The dream originated from watching my grandparents and parents grow through life, putting our needs first to ensure that we get everything we need to be balanced, healthy individuals contributing to society. Hence, it has always been my dream, which I share with my father, Mr. Nitin Nyati – Chairman and Managing Director – Nyati Group to provide a lifestyle that seniors have always dreamed of living – with dignity, choice, freedom, and independence, in an engaging and fulfilling environment – ensuring their physical, mental, emotional & spiritual well-being to enrich their quality of life. Retirement is an opportunity to redefine one’s role in life. I would want to give them a sense of purpose, where they have a platform to contribute to society, by sharing their vast ocean of knowledge backed with experience, as well as their skillset and support in enabling growth for the community at large.” Commenting on the 50:50 JV with Nyati Group, Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities, said, “We are entirely committed to building and nurturing communities for seniors, as we believe that community living and social engagement is the strongest antidote to loneliness and a wonderful enabler of “positive ageing”. Residents can expect to find an environment that encourages them to remain physically fit, mentally alert and emotionally stimulated. To be able to create this environment with a credible partner such as the Nyati Group is both a pleasure and a privilege and to the ultimate benefit of our residents.

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Columbia Pacific Communities Launches “UnRetire”

A Campaign That Urges Senior Citizens To Make The Most Of The Golden Years Noted actor Anupam Kher encourages seniors to build a sense of identity and self-worth as part of the campaign Mumbai : On the occasion of World Senior Citizens Day, Columbia Pacific Communities, India’s largest senior living community operator, celebrates the spirit of un-retirement through a series of social media posts and a special message from actor Anupam Kher. In an inspiring campaign centred around the core message of UNRETIRE, they encourage baby boomers to retire the word “retire”, try something new and pursue dreams they were unable to explore during their pre-retirement years. Link: https://youtu.be/YWYk_Mo4IRU The campaign UNRETIRE, featuring a video message by Anupam Kher, tackles the underlying ageism prevalent in our society. It emphasizes the fact that age is merely a number and the golden years is in fact the best time to learn new skills, pick up new hobbies and discover unexplored talents. Retirement is usually seen as the end of the road, but the country’s largest senior care brand believes that it’s a new beginning – one with countless new adventures and exciting new challenges. It aligns with the brand’s purpose of nurturing a positive mindset and optimistic attitude; trying to stay healthy and happy by engaging with life and friends meaningfully. Columbia Pacific Communities’ recently launched signature project The Virtuoso Club and Serviced Residences is designed to help senior residents pursue their hobbies and passion throughout the year by taking the burden of daily chores and other responsibilities off them. The month-long virtual talent hunt PLATFORM 2020 launched by Columbia Pacific Communities also culminates into the grand finale on World Senior Citizens Day. Winners from categories such as photography, music,rangoli, handicrafts, paintings and dance will be declared on this day. While the virtual event was inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Dr Kiran Bedi, several brands have joined hands with CPC to support the novel initiative. Sa Re Ga Ma Carvaan has partnered with Columbia Pacific Communities as the Official Gifting Partners for the Music categories and India’s leading photo service Zoomin is the Associate Gifting Sponsor for the event. In all, it will be a day filled with celebration and inspiration. Speaking about the campaign, Piali Dasgupta, Vice President, Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities, says, “”UNRETIRE” is a state of mind, and one that we want senior citizens to actively embrace. Life takes a thrilling new turn at 60, in one’s golden years that one can reconnect with old hobbies, reinvent oneself and give back to society in a meaningful way. That’s what our campaign UNRETIRE tries to convey. We couldn’t have had a better person than Mr Anupam Kher to share this message of positivity on a very special day such as World Senior Citizens Day. Mr Kher, after over 500 films and Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan under his belt, believes that his best is yet to come. And that’s exactly the message we have for senior citizens.”

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Columbia Pacific Communities’s new campaign celebrates the spirit of un-retirement

Columbia Pacific Communities, a senior living community operator, celebrated World Senior Citizens Day with the spirit of un-retirement through a series of social media posts and a special message from actor Anupam Kher. In an inspiring campaign centred around the core message of UNRETIRE, they encourage baby boomers to retire the word “retire”, try something new and pursue dreams they were unable to explore during their pre-retirement years. The campaign UNRETIRE, features a video message by Anupam Kher, tackles the underlying ageism prevalent in our society. It emphasizes the fact that age is merely a number and the golden years is in fact the best time to learn new skills, pick up new hobbies and discover unexplored talents. Retirement is usually seen as the end of the road, but the brand believes that it’s a new beginning – one with countless new adventures and exciting new challenges. It aligns with the brand’s purpose of nurturing a positive mindset and optimistic attitude; trying to stay healthy and happy by engaging with life and friends meaningfully. Piali Dasgupta, Vice President, Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities, said, “UNRETIRE is a state of mind, and one that we want senior citizens to actively embrace. “Life takes a thrilling new turn at 60, in one’s golden years that one can reconnect with old hobbies, reinvent oneself and give back to society in a meaningful way. That’s what our campaign UNRETIRE tries to convey. “We couldn’t have had a better person than Anupam Kher to share this message of positivity on a very special day such as World Senior Citizens Day. Kher, after over 500 films and Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan under his belt, believes that his best is yet to come. And that’s exactly the message we have for senior citizens,” Dasgupta added.

Continue reading “Columbia Pacific Communities’s new campaign celebrates the spirit of un-retirement”


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2999, 12th A Main Rd,
HAL 2nd Stage Indiranagar,
Bengaluru - 560008
Phone: +91 80 4018 1000