Behind the special collaboration between HENNGE and Kairyou-yu


From May 1 - May 8, 2023, HENNGE held the special limited-time event “HENNGE-Yu by HENNGE” at the long-established public bath and sauna house “Kairyou-yu” in Shibuya. What kind of event is “HENNGE-Yu”, why and for what purpose did an IT company and a public bath and sauna house collaborate? Three project members (Inabe-san and Katsurada-san from Marketing, and Yano from Public Relations) looked back on the process leading up to the event.

If you don’t have time to read the full article, please watch the video that summarizes the events leading up to the event!

Hello! Thank you for your hard work with organizing “HENNGE-Yu by HENNGE”! We definitely have taken over Kairyou-yu with HENNGE’s colors.
Colorful bath bowls
Kairyou-yu entrance being decorated with colorful curtain
That’s right. In addition to changing the color and the scent of Kairyou-yu’s bathtub everyday, we also put up colorful curtains, bath bows and decorative lights. We are very happy that, over the course of 7 days, approximately 4,000 people visited the event.
Kairyou-yu Bathrooms
Colorful lighting
The lockers in the changing room were also decorated with various catchphrases from HENNGE.
Various catchphrases being posted in the lockers
In addition, we also organized a campaign giving away sports drinks for visitors who followed HENNGE’s recruiting Twitter account, and got lots of cooperation! Thank you so much for spreading the words on Twitter!
Yes, although it might be hard to realize at first glance, this event is actually a project that started with the purpose of recruitment branding.
Right, HENNGE is currently focusing on recruiting for the Sales and Customer Success department, but the problem is that we are still not well recognized by potential candidates. Thus, focusing on “increasing the brand recognition of HENNGE by making use of new ideas”, a project team was set up in the fall of 2022 among young people in the Marketing and Public Relations department.
That was already more than half a year ago! From there, we held regular weekly and monthly meetings in parallel with our regular work, and after many twists and turns, we arrived at this sauna collaboration event, didn't we?
Regular meetings being held monthly
In the beginning, we had totally different ideas from saunas, such as kitchen cars, collaboration with golf courses and traffic ads!
Inabe-san is usually in charge of digital marketing, Yano-san is in charge of public relations, I usually work on event planning. This was the first attempt to work on recruitment branding for all three of us, so we were really working our way through it.
At the time, it was difficult because we could not see what was going to happen. Since HENNGE offers BtoB and intangible products, it was quite difficult to come up with ideas.
Under such circumstances, it was Inabe-san who came up with the idea of a collaboration event with a sauna, wasn’t it?
Right. As we were thinking about the different measures, the three of us asked our friends what they do on their days off, and many of our friends who have IT Sales experience responded that they usually go to the sauna.
In addition to the recent sauna boom, we were also sauna enthusiasts ourselves, so we came up with the idea of this collaboration.
Kairyou-yu’s bathing area
Among them, I felt like Kairyou-yu is not only popular among the younger generation, but also is located in the same Shibuya area as HENNGE. The fact that it has been in business since the Taisho era and has been undergoing constant renovations has something in common with HENNGE, which continues to change day by day.
I think it was the perfect project to showcase HENNGE's "culture of valuing changes," a company which has changed its name, business areas, and even the company's official language.
We had been thinking about the details of the measures for nearly six months, so we were very moved when the decision was made in February 2023 to hold a sauna event after an internal presentation.
Katsurada-san reflecting on the process
Since I had been worried about when we would be able to do it and whether we would really be able to do it, I remember how happy I was to "finally be able to proceed”. However, from that point until the actual event in May, we were in quite a chaotic state with inquiries from Kairyou-yu, requests for the decoration design, contracts with contractors, goods ordering and updating press releases. It was quite difficult to give shape to our image while we had deadlines to meet.
Creating the design of the decorations was also difficult. It was quite challenging to figure out how to combine the simple and stylish design of HENNGE with the content we wanted to convey this time.
In the end, the colorful designs created by the HENNGE design team were well-received on social media as "stylish" and "cute," for which I can only express my gratitude.
Inabe-san (right) and Yano looking back on the event
Also, this is a behind-the-scenes story that I can tell you now, but a few days before the event, we realized that the stickers on the bath bowls were a little too big for the bowls, so we had to manually cut the stickers to a smaller size (laugh).
Since the stickers were round, I had to quickly buy a compass at a convenience store so that we could cut the stickers into neat circles one by one. It was really a unique memory that only a real event could have.
I also remember when I had to manually attach the stickers by hand, being careful not to peel them off when filling the bowls with hot water (laugh).
Attaching the stickers to bath bowls
Because there were various things happening, the moments we finished setting up the event on the morning of the first day and hung up the curtain, my heart was filled with excitement, thinking “our projects has really taken shape”.
What about you, how do you feel now that the event has finished?
I was able to learn “the importance of field work” and “the importance of planning things through”. As the ideas for sauna were born from our interviews with friends, I think that, rather than just thinking about it in your head, listening to the actual voices of people, is the essence of marketing.
Also, although there were a couple of twists and turns along the way, I think we were able to achieve a certain level of results this time, because we spent several months planning through.
The curtain being hung in front up of men’s and women’s bathing area on the first day of the event
I had no previous experience in planning an event from scratch, so it was good to learn the process practically with the help of two people from Marketing.
Along with that, I usually do work related to people in the media and information system departments, but this time, since the attributes of the target audience and myself were close, it was interesting to proceed while asking myself “what kind of decoration would interest me”, or “what kind of approach would make me want to go”.
Usually, we aim for numerical targets such as numbers of leads, but for this branding activity, it was refreshing to have the three of us decide together from the goal-setting stage.
During the event, there were many positive comments on SNS about our plan, such as “original”, “interesting” and “cutting edge”. I think that we were able to come up with a rather unique project because we spent a lot of time thinking about it. This would never have come up if we asked ChatGPT, which is a hot topic right now.
Pink bathtub on the first day of the event
Based on this experience, when we hold another event in the future, I would like to actively engage with users and accompany them on sales trips, so that we can gain insight into users' thinking and make better use of it in our marketing activities.
I realized that hobbies and passions that seemingly have nothing to do with the business at all can be connected to work. This may be another example of HENNGE's unique culture. I would like to keep my eyes on the trends and challenge myself with various endeavors in the future.
It was a good chance for me to reaffirm the amazing work environment at HENNGE, where GO signs could be given to passionate young people, even when their ideas are unconventional. I want to spread this spirit of HENNGE to even more people.
Thank you very much for your hard work this time!