How the COVID crisis continues to bring out the best in us
Last year was a wild ride for everyone and it was no different for Karsh Hagan.
As the pandemic set in, it seemed like only deep breaths, coffee runs, critical thinking and long nights would get us through. But as the days went on, our teams hunkered down and worked together in new ways to meet the challenges of the new normal.
As an added bonus, in January we were awarded accolades from the Colorado Ad Club’s annual award show, The Fifty, for our stellar work on:
What did these award-winning ideas have in common? They were fueled with purpose and passion -- and they were successful as a result of meeting new challenges through creative problem solving.
We could not have achieved any of this work in such a challenging year without the collaboration and camaraderie of our many wonderful clients.
Below, we've rounded up the top five things that got us through the pandemic -- and helped garner a few accolades along the way.
1. Learn to Be (Even) More Agile
We became significantly more agile in the past year because we had to for our clients. Constantly changing client needs kept our creative, media, account, social and creative technology teams on their toes.
Through fast communication and even quicker thinking, our teams have been able to immediately address changing needs and develop solutions for fresh campaign messaging and tactics.
In July, Denver International Airport teamed up with facial recognition software company Daon to create a contactless app that would allow travelers to get through the airport without touching anything. To get this helpful app off the ground ASAP, Karsh Hagan’s creative team turned around the name VeriFLY and a logo in less than one week. By September, the app was live.
Recognizing the need for a trustworthy brand in the CBD category, it was time for Panacea Life Sciences to take a leadership role through elevated brand equities and premium quality products. So, in 2020, we created a new corporate identity for the brand in record time with a simplified, elegant name and logo -- "Pana."
2. Use Insights and Strategy to Your Advantage
Thanks to over 40 years of experience handling just about any situation, Karsh Hagan was able to deliver on the shortest of deadlines using a strategic approach.
Right at the start of COVID, our integrated teams harnessed data and insights to rework campaigns in real-time, giving clients a clear path through the uncertainty while meeting their customers’ needs.
Anticipation is the name of the game when it comes to crisis management and strategic planning. That’s why Karsh Hagan developed a “Plan Ahead” playbook that enables us to prepare for different scenarios and recommend strategic solutions that ensure our clients’ success as we collectively navigate the COVID crisis and enter the “New Normal.”
To highlight these efforts, we wrote a series of case studies and articles called “The New Normal” that revealed how we countered the impact of the pandemic— not by standing still, but by facing each dilemma head on.
3. Connect with Consumers Where They Are
Consumer behavior and media usage changed dramatically when the pandemic hit. This meant that we had to change how, when, and where we put our clients’ advertising.
For VISIT DENVER, this required weekly monitoring of COVID case counts in key markets while analyzing dozens of reports tracking traveler sentiment and hotel and flight bookings.
From this consumer data, we were able to find travelers who felt safer about coming to Denver because of lower case counts and enforced precautions, and because Denver offered outdoor activities, wide open spaces and abundant sunshine. Our inspiring campaign “You Deserve Some Denver” resonated well with travelers in creative testing, with 66% of people surveyed having a “positive” or “very positive” first reaction to the ad. (Source: Destination Analysts)
As vaccination rates rise and consumer optimism grows, we continue to evolve our tourism marketing strategies and messaging to inspire and activate pent-up demand for travel.
4. Make Collaboration Across Teams a Must
Getting through 2020 wouldn’t have been possible without teamwork. For countless projects, Karsh Hagan came together with our clients’ teams to brainstorm bright ideas and troubleshoot as health restrictions began to limit access and shrink marketing budgets.
Cherry Creek North saw us highlight their outdoor shopping offerings with an inventive TV spot built around “Winter Wanderland.” For Northern Light Health, we paired up with client production teams in Maine to capture footage when air travel was prohibited. For the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, we organized a shoot for one of its premier doctors at our office because hospitals were off limits.
For The Colorado Tourism Office, we completed three "mini-shoots" across the state by coordinating with a number of production partners throughout the Front Range, Aspen, and Telluride, eventually turning a collection of run-and-gun content into one artistic vision.
5. Get Ridiculously Creative
Sometimes things can’t be solved by a typical marketing move. That’s where a creative approach can literally save the day.
When Governor Polis declared Colorado’s “Stay at Home” order, we reimagined our state’s beloved “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” highway signs to read “We Need to Stay Home Colorado,” getting the Governor’s appreciation in return. And for VISIT DENVER, we had to suddenly add masks to people in video and print footage, using painstaking retouching techniques.
We recently launched the "Do Colorado Right" campaign that found the sweet spot between agility and creativity. To promote proper COVID behavior in Colorado, the CTO team has partnered with well-known Coloradans to spread how to #DoColoradoRight and inform tourists on the correct COVID behavior through a series of videos and digital ads. Our work has been featured in the Denver Business Journal and The New York Times.
With a touch of off-the-cuff creativity and nimble production, we were able to tackle new challenges.
Despite Everything, We Help Our Clients Do More
In the end, these five tenets of success helped push us further during a time when so many other things slowed or came to a halt. We couldn’t be more proud or grateful to see such big wins after such a tough year. Karsh Hagan has always been dedicated to insights and strategy, consumer experience, collaboration, and creativity -- but we now have endured a pandemic and have become stronger and more agile than ever.
Looking forward to the many more challenges and successes to come!
Art Direction: Eleeza Palmer