Amanda the Panda: the sound of hope and healing

Situation – Touch their hearts
Amanda the Panda’s mission is to restore grieving children and families back into the mainstream of their lives through innovative grief counseling services. At the heart of those services is a real sense of hope and healing delivered through a variety of innovative camps and services.

In 2010, I was part of the team at McLellan Marketing Group that developed enhanced brand communications tools for the organization. It included a new website and brochure, but we really needed an emotional element that would touch the hearts of donors and other audiences while compelling donations and volunteerism.

Strategy – a one-of-a-kind song
We tapped into the gifted singer-songwriter, Tina Haase Findlay – a central Iowa music institution! Tina was instantly excited about the project, and at a meeting with Tina and the staff at Amanda the Panda, she heard the Amanda the Panda story. To say Tina was inspired would be a major understatement. Within a week, the veteran gospel, blues and rock vocalist performed an acapella version of “Amanda’s Here” at the organization’s offices. Those few of us who were there were moved to tears and smiles, and the concept began to grow.

The song was used in a video that tells the Amanda the Panda story. Tina sang it live at the organization’s fall auction. And it was made available to the public via YouTube and, eventually, an iTunes download.

Results – It’s a hit!
The video was played at the auction and received rave reviews from everyone in attendance. The video was posted on YouTube and the Amanda the Panda website and received more than 300 hits in the first two months. But the inspiration continues. After taking in the response from “Amanda’s Here”, Tina wrote and recorded five other Amanda-inspired songs which were released on a special CD at an Amanda the Panda fundraiser in February. More than 75 people attended the CD release party and snapped up dozens of the very special CDs.

What made it work?

  • It tapped into the audience’s emotion
  • It was a big idea
  • We relied on a professional – Tina – to do what they do best