Kat Cole Shares Brand Building Tips

Kat Cole, COO and President of FOCUS Brands North America

When you think of branding, your favorite products may come to mind—from cars to breakfast cereals to clothing. Due to companies’ branding efforts, we have become extremely familiar with many products. As a senior living professional, it’s important to think about what branding means for you and your company, according to Kat Cole, COO and President of FOCUS Brands North America.

“The way branding applies to senior living and the reason branding matters is because people have to base their decision on something, they don’t just throw a dart,” she said. “So everything a company stands for and the reputation in the community all fall under the brand—and they have a direct correlation to when and how people make decisions to do business with them.”

How to Leverage Branding in Your Business

With so much on your plate already, you may not have time to think about your brand and how you can get the word out about the good work you do in your community. According to Cole, the following three tips can help.

  1. Stay close. First and foremost, senior living communities should stay close to their residents, prospective residents, and families in order to understand their needs. Listening to what your stakeholders need; addressing their concerns will be the cornerstone of your branding message.
  2. Tell your story. Once you know what your message should be, you need to spread that message in as many avenues as you cost-effectively can. “Marketing is telling your story and that can happen through what most people think marketing is, which is advertising,” said Cole. “However, marketing can also happen through social media engagement, community engagement and community events, and strategic partnerships with other organizations.”
  1. Be the brand. Although marketing is important, Cole said organizations need to remember that it’s not the core of what your brand is going to be. In order to build a successful brand, your company or community has to actually be what you tell the community it is.


“Branding is not advertising. The philosophy of branding is be it, do it, then say it,” Cole said. “Some people say, ‘I’m building a brand and I need to put together a nice logo or a nice flyer and then I’ll have a better brand. However, a brand is what you stand for, not what you look like. What you look like is a part of it, but if you want to stand for reliability, you need to run a reliable operation first.”

To find out more about how branding can help your business, join us and hear from Kat Cole as our closing keynote on “Building Highly Successful and Resilient Brands” April 17, 2019 in San Antonio.