What a Difference a Day Makes

Making of "What a difference a day makes"

By celebrating the essential spirit of Perley Health, a unique communications campaign has managed to recruit significant numbers of new staff and to raise public awareness. The campaign was the brainchild of Director of Communications Jay Innes.

“During the pandemic, long-term care homes across Canada were the focus of a lot of negative media coverage,” Innes says. “We wanted to find a new way to tell people about who we are and what we do. To compound the challenge, we rebranded as Perley Health in the middle of the pandemic.”

The new brand aimed to communicate more clearly the organization's focus on innovative, evidence-based, person-centred care. The brand also aimed to celebrate essential attributes such as strong community support, thriving creative-arts programming and a commitment to helping residents live each day to the fullest. Thinking about these ideas inspired Jay to recall a classic song popularized in the late 1950s, when many current residents and tenants were in their prime.

What a Difference a Day Makes is a sentimental song originally written in Spanish in the 1930s and popularized by Dinah Washington, whose version won a 1959 Grammy Award. The song's English lyrics describe how simple acts can make a significant difference in another person's life—exactly what Perley staff and volunteers set out to do every day. In consultation with various members of staff and peers, Jay designed and executed a multifaceted campaign based on the concept.

Innes secured the rights to What a Difference a Day Makes and a crew videotaped a performance featuring Perley Health musician Gertrude (Trudy) Létourneau on vocals accompanied by freelance pianist Mark Ferguson. The crew then videotaped various residents, tenants, volunteers and staff singing along to the recorded version. In addition, many recorded their thoughts on the campaign's “what a difference” theme.

From this wealth of materials, more than a dozen videos were created, including a 30-second advertisement designed to entice candidates to apply for jobs at Perley Health. The ad ran on select television stations and was also posted online and promoted on social media. The recruitment campaign attracted more 450 applications and 46 new hires.

Along with the recruitment ad, a series of other videos were created, posted online and promoted on social media. The videos include a series of testimonials, an overview of Perley Health's history and a full-length version of the song featuring all participants. So far, the videos have elicited more than 6 million impressions. The full-length song video closes on a touching moment: Second World War Veteran Joe Quinn and Trudy Létourneau ad-lib the last line of the song, with each claiming that “the difference is you…no you…no it's you.”

“To me, it first seemed to be a communication project about Perley Health,” says Létourneau. “But it really became more than that, it became a celebration of what Perley Health is all about. What a Difference a Day Makes was a perfect choice for the project because that's really what we're trying to do—we're trying to make a difference in our residents' or our tenants' day. And what ends up happening is that the is that the difference happens to us, too.”

View the videos that made the campaign a success.

And this Difference is You!

What makes Perley Health special and why?

We invite you to share your memories, kudos, heartfelt thank-yous, and moments that highlight how Perley Health touches lives each day. Your stories and testimonials will explain the impact we create together. Contact info@perleyhealth.ca

Gertrude (Trudy) Létourneau sings "What a difference a day makes" with Veteran Joe Quinn.

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