Some years ago, I was managing a large not-for-profit aged residential care facility in Wellington. We offered a range of rest home, hospital and dementia level care, and we were operating in a very competitive market, a market increasingly dominated by private ‘for profit’ aged care providers.
A perennial question for organisations in the aged residential care sector – be they private or not-for-profit – is, ‘What makes what we offer distinctive?’ Even earlier in my career, while undertaking a business degree, I remember a marketing lecturer defining the three key aspects of ‘market distinctiveness’:
You have to be either the biggest, demonstrably the best, or the most innovative.”
Sound enough concepts in themselves, perhaps, but somewhat difficult in a sector (like aged residential care) where virtually every aspect of the service you provide is detailed in standardised specifications and contracts, and then audited to within an inch of a contract’s life.