Inside Serenity Engage’s Quest to Improve Senior Care
Ten years ago, Katherine Wells’ mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and eventually moved into a memory care facility. At that point, Wells’ father couldn’t take care of himself without her, so he had to go into assisted living.
It’s a complex emotional, financial and logistical situation that no family member ever hopes to be in, but it’s all too common. So Wells decided to do something about it.
“My story is one of 14 million other stories that are out there,” Wells said. “I’m a busy executive. I had four kids at home. I was juggling 37 different providers, and I was holding the purse strings for $600,000 of spend in aging care services. None of those providers spoke to each other, and they did not speak to me. That’s the big problem I set out to solve.”
Wells is solving the problem through Serenity Engage, a collaborative conversation platform for senior care, which she founded in 2020. With an entire career in technology sales and marketing, Wells knows the importance of storytelling in building a brand. But now as an entrepreneur, she also knows there aren’t enough hours in the day. So she turned to York IE’s Marketing and Communications advisory services.
“The best way to market is to have your customers market for you and tell their own stories, and I just wasn’t getting it done,” Wells said. “York IE has been unbelievable in helping me get our customer stories out.”
“York IE has been unbelievable in helping me get our customer stories out.”
Katherine Wells, CEO, Serenity Engage
Drumbeat Marketing in Action
Wells and Meaghan McGrath, York IE director of advisory services, meet weekly and stay in close contact on a daily basis. Together, they plan for future events, identify emerging industry trends to capitalize on and discuss immediate needs that York IE can help with, such as quickly producing new landing pages to support business goals.
Serenity Engage has published three customer case studies to date and produces regular blog posts and thought leadership articles reinforcing its key message: the need for collaborative communication in senior care. On the earned media front, the company has told its own story through contributed articles and media interviews featured in multiple industry publications.
This consistency is beginning to pay off. Serenity Engage has more than doubled its social media following. Its content has developed a growing presence in organic search results for targeted keyword phrases such as “family communication platform for residential communities.” Organic search even generated a new customer for the company. And Wells secured a speaking engagement at On Aging, a major industry conference.
“Katherine is the epitome of both a great entrepreneur and a great partner, with a vision and drive that is bringing Serenity to new heights,” McGrath said. “She also knows that marketing is key for startups. Her willingness to collaborate, coupled with her vast experience in marketing, truly creates a recipe for drumbeat marketing success.”
‘It’s the People’
Serenity Engage evaluated other options for marketing help but selected York IE primarily because of the firm’s storytelling skills and its day-to-day strategy and execution capabilities.
“What does that all boil down to? It’s the people,” Wells said. “They keep me on task and focused on the things we need to be doing.”
Serenity Engage is a York IE portfolio company — the firm led its $1.25 million seed round in April 2021 — and that existing relationship also played a role in the decision to bring on the advisory services team.
“I probably would not have gone with an agency, because agencies are generally very expensive in my world and not quite in tune with what we’re doing,” Wells said. “The appeal here is York IE knew what we were doing and was already informed and excited. I saw from the beginning how everyone was able to jump right in, and there wasn’t a big ramp-up for it.”
For York IE, it’s all part of the goal: to help build successful and sustainable companies.
“Our incentives are aligned with those of our startups, so we can help them in ways that other firms just can’t,” said Kate Campbell, vice president of advisory services.