Showing how ‘Soft is strong’

Finding brand strength in the power of creativity and community

It was mid April, the pandemic was in full swing and every business in America, including ours, was assessing how they were going to prepare for the coming uncertainty. It was a scary time (it still is a scary time). There are no clear road maps for how to prepare, or what to expect. It was at the height of all of this uncertainty that we received a call from children’s clothing brand Hanna Andersson.

They were facing some incredibly tough challenges in a very short time. They had made the decision to temporarily shut their retail shops, and there was no clear understanding of when they would open again. Despite all of this sudden hardship, they were looking for a partner to help them create their first brand-focused campaign to be highlighted on their social, digital marketing, online retail and broadcast television.

They came to us with the loose brief of wanting it to bring ‘comfort and a sense of closeness’ to people and that it needed to reaffirm that the company was more than simply the products that they provide. With production at a standstill and with little to no content to leverage as we are all in lockdown we had to create a concept and production plan and do it fast.

Within three weeks of getting that first call, Hanna Andersson had it’s first multi-channel marketing campaign, co-created by it’s customers, and we at Studio Mega, in tight partnership with a small core team of decision makers at Hanna, had concepted and created our first national broadcast spot.

How did this happen so quickly in one of the most professionally challenging times in our lifetimes, and what did we learn in the process? The challenges Hanna Andersson faces are the same ones most consumer brands are facing today. How do you reach your audience at a time when you can’t be physically together, and your way of business has been disrupted? The things that helped us get there are the same things that drove our work before this pandemic. Here are a few of the driving factors that we utilize to help rapidly evolve business today.

Be purpose driven

At a time when people’s lives and companies’ way of doing business have been disrupted, brands have a chance to step back and remind others, and themselves, of the things that truly make them matter. It was by going back to Hanna’s core beliefs that we came up with the concept of “Soft is strong”, a celebration of kindness, care and the little things that matter most to us. Because we were unable to hold video shoots of any kind, the campaign content was to be created by the parents themselves. We would ask them to show us what strength means to them through the lens of their day to day lives with their children during this time.

Be more nimble

At Studio Mega, we often describe creativity as finding a new road to better. Versatility, speed and flexibility are some of our strongest tools in finding that road. Working within whatever parameters we’re given and combining both creative and strategic thinking allow us to craft new solutions. The Mega and Hanna teams worked together closely, to formulate a plan to ask their audience to help us create the campaign content. Within a few days our concept was born, a script was written, briefs were created, and parents were reached out to. We had a small but versatile team that was motivated and empowered to make things happen.

Be more brave

Of course, those days before we received the parent’s content were nerve wracking. Would people engage? What would they send us? We were working out contingency plans right up until the content started trickling in. Within a few days we were blown away with the sheer volume and quality of photography and video we were receiving. Such amazing depictions of love and care, we could not have been able to get any other way. Companies that have taken the time to build real relationships with their customers are able to not only engage, but enlist their audience in helping co-author their brands story. It took bravery, and a fair amount of trust, for Hanna Andersson to approach a campaign like this, but having already established an amazing connection with their customers, and production team, allowed them to mitigate some of those risks.

We’re proud to announce that together, we were able to pull it off. The speed in which we were asked to deliver in amplified the value of being purpose driven, nimble and brave. We learned that this pandemic hasn’t stalled business, rather it’s accelerated how brands must evolve to remain relevant today and into the future. The result of our efforts was an honest depiction of the Hanna customer, a timely message reaffirming the brands core values, and proof that creativity is more vital today than ever.

You can see more of the ‘Soft is strong’ campaign along with the broadcast commercial at hannaanderson.com, or see the work we do like this every day at studiomega.com

Partner and Creative Director at Studio Mega in Portland Oregon

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store