Saying the write thing

How things are said is just as important as what is being said. The language used to express values not only needs to inform, but to engage and serve as a call to action.

These two gems (not) were plucked from a random online rummage of New Zealand companies.

Our people are real Author's comment - good to know and down to earth.Author's comment - better than being up in the air I suppose.

We challenge the impossible by turning the impossible into reality. Author's comment - I hope this wasn’t the outcome of three workshops and sign off from the senior management team.

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Values versus culture

Values are universal, culture is one-offs

Is too much time spent on developing values, at the expense of getting to the guts of company culture?

A number of these values may not apply to your organisation, but you’d be hard pushed to dismiss any of them as not being valid.

Values are an important feature of company culture, but how important are they?

To me, company culture is less about values and behaviour, and more about purpose. 

This of course begs the question, what is culture? Here's my take.

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Top Marques Interview: Kelly Gregor

Top Marques Interview: Kelly Gregor

It’s a bloody myth! Sharks won’t attack if you swim during your period. We had a chat with Kelly, the creator of Luna, who’s on the wild ride to demystify and normalise periods for girls.

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Bread, butter and branding

How do you know when it’s time to rebrand?

Five questions you need to ask

How often should you rebrand? Every five years? Every 10 years? When you enter new markets? When you realise your identity sucks?

Now the questions and comments below offer pointers only. Brands do have use-by dates, but the trick is working out when their time is up.

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Are annual reports losing their way?

What do you call the yearly exchanges between Bruce Sheppard and company chairpersons?

Annual Retorts

Most of us would agree that the prime job of an annual report is to provide an account of a company’s performance.

However, the report doesn’t exist in isolation. It is part of an ongoing discussion that commenced when the company was established and which takes place in a number of forums, including the media.

So one of the secondary functions of an annual report is to provide continuity as in; this is where we have come from, this is where we are now and this is where we are going. Or; this is what we said we were going to do, this is what we did and why, and this is what we are going to do next.

There are two points that I would like to pick up on. The first is the quality of information and the second is the way in which the information is presented.

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Auckland Story

Brand stories

Brand stories come in different guises.

Whatever the form, they shouldn’t be afraid of taking a position or indulging in a little hyperbole. Some will date or require revision, while others will stand the test of time.

Warren wrote this piece about Auckland 12 years ago, but in light of a recent event (the America's Cup win) he decided to give it another airing.

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The brand sponsorship model is broken

The days of plastering a logo on everything and expecting a return for your sponsorship investment are long gone.

How often have we seen that one-dimensional approach for sponsorships; a logo on a team shirt, a media backdrop or on the side of a car? And frequently in the company of other brands. Brand sponsorship in this form is lazy and doesn't make your competitor’s job harder. Coca-Cola GB marketing director Bobby Brittain made this comment when looking at Coke’s sponsorship of the Olympics.

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Creative Talk with Lezlie Mearns

This interview is reproduced with permission from Louise Lawton from the Creative Store. 

The Creative Store is one of New Zealand's premier recruitment agencies, specialising in the Advertising, Digital, Design, Marketing and Communication industries.

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Business of branding and eSports

Last week we spoke about the emergence of eSports and why brands need to be involved.

eSports is competitive online gaming and its reach is massive. People can compete from their living room and fill stadiums with people who buy tickets to watch two sets of teams compete in video games against each other. Madness you say? Many of us believe Donald Trump should be committed, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting within spitting distance of the White House.

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The Rise of eSports in New Zealand

It was thirty years ago when I got into my first computer game, but it wasn’t until I picked up a Play Station controller 10 years later that I began to understand the potential of video games.

WipeOut was the first game to use in-game advertising. Redbull was embedded into the game while The Prodigy provided the soundtrack.

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Auckland parking prices are set to go through the roof!

Auckland street parking is set to reach $45 per day. But there's hope yet!

Auckland is going through an infrastructure transformation that will go on for the next five years. While the future looks good, the current gridlock problems are so dire they are actually becoming world famous.

The word on the street is that Auckland City Council is about to increase the maximum daily parking limit from $15 to $45. Some may call this greedy, while others view it as a necessity. But the smart ones will see this as an opportunity to offer something new and exciting.

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Is Sky heading for a Blockbuster moment?

If Sky has learnt one thing this last week, it’s that people will steal content.

Duco Events and SKY have every right to be pissed off. But the dumbest thing SKY can do is waste resources trying to bring the people, who illegally streamed the Joseph Parker fight, to justice. If they continue down this road they’ll lose sight of the prize and set themselves up to have a Blockbuster moment.

Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and the Premier League football are some of the most heavily pirated shows, yet even they can’t stop this behaviour.

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How DDB got us all a Twitter

Has DDB's campaign for Sky TV to promote Game of Thrones been unfairly misinterpreted as spam?

Without fail, if we’re not fast forwarding through the ads my wife and I are racing to grab the remote to mute the damn things. This morning we were discussing whether the broadcaster can measure how often ads are muted. If they knew perhaps Emily from 2 Cheap Autos would have been muzzled a long time ago.

While I wouldn’t call these sorts of ads spam, I do call them noise and visual pollution. Fortunately, unlike spam, we have the power to turn them off.

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If you can’t out-spend them, out-dance them.

When it comes to getting the pulse racing, the financial sector doesn’t quite cut it. Nothing says boring more than a bank trying to get me to spend money.

Whether we like to admit it or not, money makes the world go round and in terms of control, banks rule the market. But change is coming.

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What Can NZ Post do with $495 Million?

New Zealand Posts business model has been sinking slowly over the past 10 years.

The drop off in letters and dwindling numbers of visitors to their retail stores has been like watching a roaring waterfall become a mere trickle.

Since the creation of Kiwibank, NZ Post’s profits have slowly eroded because of the shrinking market for Post’s offering and as they’ve poured money into their subsidiary.

But the cost to NZ Post has been greater as it has failed to redirect resources to create a culture of innovation in response to the very real threat of digital disruption.

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Prosper Loans beats the Banks

Peer-to-peer vs Banks: who innovates the most?

The following is a true story, it dates back a few years and I still haven't found a solution.

I'm meeting with a staffer at the ASB bank. “Do you have an application that will automatically track my spending habits and place them in predefined buckets so I can see where, what and when I’m spending my money?”

“No, but that’s a great idea. You should get in touch with our innovation team.”

I don't know if ASB ever developed this type of product, because I switched banks when they wouldn't renegotiate my mortgage rates – but that’s another story. Plus, it would be unfair to suggest all banks lack innovation, because they don't.

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Business of naming

Have all the good business names been taken?

When thinking about brand strategy, naming is essential. It will help establish your brand identity and help ensure you are not confused with your competitors. But have all the good business names been taken?

This selection would suggest they have.

  • A1 Solutions

  • Instant Solutions

  • DHP Solutions

  • New Solutions

  • Solutions Consulting

  • Solution Partners

  • IT Solutions

We’ve all seen names like this before. A bit clichéd, pretty unmemorable and falling short of differentiating the brand from the competition.

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Explain like I'm 5: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Today the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is due to be signed and with it the largest regional trade deal in history. What's it all about and why are so many people against it?

Redditor, thimblefullofdespair, gives a fantastic explanation about what the TPP is all about.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a multi-layered deal whose particulars have just been agreed upon by the twelve participating countries. Its stated purpose is to reduce tariffs - taxes on bringing your goods into a country or sending them out - and therefore encourage industry by making it cheaper for importers and exporters to conduct business between these countries. Its other stated goal is to create a set of easy rules that businesses can live by when dealing between these countries.

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Cinesift: movie ratings and regional stream availability

By the time it takes you to sift through the Netflix library and decide what to watch, you could be three quarters the way through an episode of The Man in the High Castle (hint: watch this show - amazing). There’s too much content to look at and too few ways of helping us to decide what to watch.

IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic use aggregated user ratings to help us make decisions, if only Netflix and other streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu tried to incorporate these powerful tools. Well now there is.

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