Marketing Objective

In 2001, Bainum Healthcare developed the first of two communities; The Gardens at Fair Oaks in Fairfax, VA, an assisted living community that offered compassionate care for those requiring both short and long-term care. Then, in 2008, the Bainum family opened The Woodlands, an upscale independent living community adjoining The Gardens on 17 acres, also in Fairfax, VA.

Realizing that they should develop a more unified brand while retaining each community’s unique characteristics and range of services, the Bainum’s hired Carlson Communications to create a more enhanced, cohesive brand for their websites which would become the focal point of their marketing campaigns in both communities.


Community Branding

Bainum needed two separate websites, one for each community, but they wanted them to have a similar design and navigation. The goal was to have distinctive logos, accent colors, and content to complement each community’s brand.

The result was two separate websites that had similar organization and a similar look, but the content was targeted towards that community’s audience. Each website has a link links to the other community for easy access, whether the user is looking for independent living or assisted living.

The Woodlands’ theme is, “Never Retire,” a thought-provoking phrase that hopefully attracts the viewer’s curiosity since the word “retirement” is part of The Woodlands’ official name.

To further enhance the theme, “Never Retire,” we used very bold letter to convey the theme.  A series of phrases accompanied rotating photos on the Home Page: NEVER RETIRE…. “Your Sense of Adventure” ….“Your Desire to Connect” ….. “Your Passion for Living Well.” Each photograph reinforced the phrase with photos of an African safari, the indoor heated pool, and people enjoying fireworks.

The Gardens Theme, “Family Matters,” emphasizes that regardless of the type of service you need at the community, Assisted Living… Long-term Care…..Respite Care or Adult Day, FAMILY MATTERS to both the resident and The Gardens’ staff, regardless of the service they provide. Appropriate photos accompany each service mentioned, all reinforcing a compassionate, caring scene.


The footer on each website provides suggestions for viewers to connect, such as “Follow Us on Facebook,” “Sign Up for Email Updates,” “Download a Brochure,” or “Request a Visit.” In each case, the goal is to encourage the website viewer to learn more about the community.

Want to experience these websites for yourself?

Direct Mail

Direct mailers were designed for each community to reinforce the multiple messages on the home page of each website. As the mailer unfolded, it would reveal the various Never Retire or Family. Matters messages shown on the Home Page of each website.

This visual reinforcement of each community’s brand and messaging worked very effectively; a unique phone number was assigned to each mailer for tracking purposes.

Google Analytics review revealed increased website activity around the time of each mailing, especially in those towns where database prospects lived.

Print Advertising

Full-page color print ads in Positive Aging Sourcebook, a compendium of senior living communities in the northern VA, DC and MD area, again reinforced both visually and in messaging, the brand of each community. The main strength of this medium is that people going online to see that version of the Sourcebook are prequalifying themselves due to their interest in the topic of senior care and living.

The printed version of Sourcebook also has a longer “shelf life” than newspapers, for example, because people retain it as a resource guide for future consideration. This is especially true for The Woodlands that is an independent living community and moving there is based on a desired change in lifestyle.

Conversely, The Gardens’ services for the most part are based one’s more immediate needs, whether assisted living, long term care or respite care.  Here, the decision to move usually occurs in a much tighter timeframe.

Email Blasts

This is a cost-effective medium used to announcement special events (concerts, lectures, etc.), new services in the community, recent awards, etc. The blasts contain the visual look of the website, direct mail and print ads to reinforce the branding of each community.

As with the other marketing media, a unique phone number is assigned to the email blasts for the community for tracking purposes.

Special reports are also generated to identify as much as possible those who not only opened the blast but clicked through to the website.

Campaign Results

As with all facets of the marketing campaign, the key element is appropriate follow-through on all leads to determine their sense of urgency and their reasons for considering a move at this time.   Both communities have seen significant increases not only in website traffic but, more importantly, requests for information and visits to the community.

Because systems are in place to monitor feedback from each community’s marketing efforts, the type of media being used and the messages themselves are monitored continuously and adjusted as needed.

The Bainum Communities decided to revamp their websites so the two communities had a more unified look to enhance the company’s brand and reputation as a caring and compassionate community. While this could have been a difficult process, the team at Carlson Communications was very organized and led us through the process easily. The service they provided in both the development of our websites and accompanying marketing materials for each community was exceptional. Their responsiveness to our questions and requests for updates continues to this day and all the while they have provided exceptional customer service. Not only are they knowledgeable in their work, but they also offered suggestions and creative ideas adding pages and features to our websites that have resulted in higher occupancy in each community.

— Ellen Limburg, Director of Marketing, Bainum Communities

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