Strategy + Design

Two complementary forces coming together to engage your customers, investors, staff and stakeholders.

First we listen. Next we think. Then we design. Delivering results that accelerate your business.

see the full story
Results-driven. Case studies galore.
Our work is our advocacy. These are just six of the many case studies on this site showcasing our work and the results we deliver for clients.
NZ Post ecommerce Report 2019
NZ Post ecommerce Report 2019
Rebranding The Sir Peter Blake Trust
Rebranding The Sir Peter Blake Trust
Breadraft's Rebel Bakehouse new brand creation
Breadraft's Rebel Bakehouse new brand creation
Victoria University of Wellington Undergraduate Recruitment Campaign 2018
Victoria University of Wellington Undergraduate Recruitment Campaign 2018
Mercury’s augmented reality Waikato River experience
Mercury’s augmented reality Waikato River experience
St John retail store network
St John retail store network
Victoria University of Wellington Undergraduate Recruitment Campaign 2018
Victoria University of Wellington Undergraduate Recruitment Campaign 2018
Tamaki Regeneration Company Branding
Tamaki Regeneration Company Branding
Our Expertise. What we do best.
So much more than your name, your logo or visual identity, a brand reflects what you stand for and how you want to be perceived.
So much more than your name, your logo or visual identity, a brand reflects what you stand for and how you want to be perceived.
The best brands are built inside out, effectively engaging and aligning staff perception and behaviour with strategy, culture and performance.
The best brands are built inside out, effectively engaging and aligning staff perception and behaviour with strategy, culture and performance.
We approach digital from a communication, not technical, perspective, engaging audiences online with brand-aligned experiences that are intuitive and rewarding.
We approach digital from a communication, not technical, perspective, engaging audiences online with brand-aligned experiences that are intuitive and rewarding.
Your communication and marketing programmes should be driven by clear insights, engaging audiences towards the desired action.
Your communication and marketing programmes should be driven by clear insights, engaging audiences towards the desired action.
The right environments reinforce brand and culture, drive behaviours and create an engaging environment for staff and visitors.
The right environments reinforce brand and culture, drive behaviours and create an engaging environment for staff and visitors.
Good investor communication is much more than just reporting. A clearly communicated long-term investor brand helps you attract, grow and retain investors and capital.
Good investor communication is much more than just reporting. A clearly communicated long-term investor brand helps you attract, grow and retain investors and capital.
Blog Posts. Thought-leading insights.

Branding a political party

23 Jul 2019 by Jason Linnell

“Change we can believe in…Yes We Can” Very few people will forget Barak Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. Regardless of your political leanings, he electrified the world and heightened political...

branding a political party jason linnell

“change we can believe in…yes we can”

very few people will forget barak obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. regardless of your political leanings, he electrified the world and heightened political awareness to levels not seen since john f kennedy’s campaign.

and it was all about the brand. arguably one of the most successful political brands in history. it was simple, reassuring and centred on a clear message of ‘hope’. supported by a sophisticated marketing campaign that was straight out of the business playbook, obama became one of the world’s most recognised people. seemingly overnight. 

last year, i remembered all this watching the television news one evening. act’s mp and party leader, david seymour, was giving a speech saying that his party was rebranding. as a voter who sits in the middle of the political spectrum, it got me wondering about what was the act brand? what did they stand for and why, with polls having them at 1%, was this twenty-year plus old party not resonating with the electorate?

naturally, this curiosity led me to call david and so insight creative’s association with rebranding act began. 

as i suspected, act had found themselves in a position where the electorate was indeed not sure what act stood for. and even if they did, people were just not listening to the messages. our challenge was pretty clear and not dissimilar to the business and government agency challenges we regularly worked on. it was about discovering a clear expression of what act stood for, define who that would appeal to (and why) and then finally, work out how that would translate to electoral success. 

much like any brand to succeed, we knew that act had to be genuine. without that, it couldn’t be trusted. our research uncovered consistent messages and actions over their entire political existence. nearly all of those originated from a position of profoundly caring about new zealand and its people. the findings were also at odds with the perception that act was a party ‘for grumpy old white, rich men’. 

the overarching message though, was that act stood for personal freedom. this was the founding principle that their brand promise was built upon, but had been lost at some stage. it was also a position that would resonate with people who wanted less government intrusion in their lives and who took responsibility for their futures – in their family, their workplace and communities. 

knowing that, we also considered changing the party’s name. but this is as sensitive a debate in political branding as in any commercial activity. would the new name get enough recognition widely and quickly enough? will the party lose all the brand equity it had built up over 20-plus years? would a new name isolate those faithful to the brand, causing them to move elsewhere?

these were all considered questions as we then designed the options that would bring the act brand promise of freedom back to the fore. each iteration was then sense-checked against our criteria for a what a successful political brand had to do:

was the message simple and clear?

was the brand promise unique?

would the electorate be reassured by the brand?

does the brand create aspiration among voters?

would the brand be credible and genuine by delivering?

the end result was a modern, impactful reiteration of what act have always stood for. we were also able to shift ‘act’ from being an acronym to a dynamic verb able to carry a myriad of policy positions. again, in a simple, unique way that would be credible with their brand promise. 

in a time when political deliverables and transparency were promised but are absent, it will be intriguing to see how act’s brand promise will resonate with the electorate in 2020.

act, act party, political branding, insight creative

Is authenticity real?

18 Jul 2019 by Steven Giannoulis

I recently attended the Digital Day Out (DDO) and noted that pretty much every speaker spoke about the need to be authentic. Speakers included a Google exec, a panel of social influencers, an AR/VR specialist and an...

is authenticity real? steven giannoulis

i recently attended the digital day out (ddo) and noted that pretty much every speaker spoke about the need to be authentic. speakers included a google exec, a panel of social influencers, an ar/vr specialist and an online e-sports gaming marketer. i couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of a whole bunch of people making money by distorting reality espousing the virtues of authenticity. it made me question my own interpretation of what authenticity is. 

i’d forgotten all about it until a couple of days ago when i saw ecostore was awarded nz’s most authentic brand. they are a company i admire – and genuinely think are authentic. and that’s not just because we were part of the team that launched the brand from niche category to mass marketing.

 

for me, being authentic is about being clear about what you stand for (beyond making money) and consistently speaking and acting in a way that reinforces this position. i find brands like whitaker’s, kathmandu and air new zealand highly authentic because every experience i have with them reinforces what i know they believe in. it’s not just about supporting good causes but delivering consistent brand experiences.

when dove began its campaign for real beauty in 2004 it transformed from a commercial soap-seller to a company with a strong social vision - “beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety.” by consistently aligning its marketing efforts with this vision, dove has truly championed women’s empowerment. the sustained effort and resources dove have consistently put into changing the advertising industry’s view of beauty has made them genuine and credible. as a result, people listen, believe and buy from them with confidence.

 

 

one of the ddo speakers referenced patagonia, a company i’d heard of but wasn’t fully up to speed with. patagonia is committed to building the best products, causing no unnecessary harm, using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. this informs everything they do. it comes through in their product design, manufacturing practices, culture, company fleet, energy choices, labour policies and their communications. so when we see it in their ad campaigns we know they really mean it. they’ve become my new favourite company to follow.

i’ve worked with the mercury team for about seven years now and they are another company who said the right things but didn’t always act in a consistent way. the rebrand three years ago created a new mission and a shared vision. we see it in everything they do now. from the focus on renewable generation, to the promotion of electric vehicles, to customer offers, to staff engagement programmes, right through to their new office environment and creating wonderful experiences for their customers. they’re a company who are quickly moving up my list of authentic brands and will, without a doubt, be up with ecostore in the awards in the next year or two.

on the other side, while everyone is pointing to nike’s applauded colin kaepernick ad as an example of authentic, i find it somewhat disingenuous (though i support colin’s stand). firstly, because they are using the cause so blatantly for commercial gain and secondly because it still doesn’t align with my perception of their global practices. i know the underage child sweatshops are gone but i still need to see a string of ‘good behaviour’ stories before i start believing in a genuine social purpose behind their messages.

'authentic' is fundamentally walking the talk. so if this is all about being true to what you stand for, then the ddo influencers, the kardashians and even donald trump can be as authentic as ecostore, dove and patagonia. who cares how manufactured what they stand for is, as long as they do it consistently! i get that but i also suspect that it’s more than just my interpretation of authenticity that is a little bit fake here.

 

so if this is all about being true to what you stand for, then the ddo influencers, the kardashians and even donald trump can be as authentic as ecostore, dove and patagonia.

 

is authenticity just about being true to yourself, consistently? or is it about genuinely thinking good thoughts and being true to that in your behaviour and communication? 

can you manufacture authenticity and call that authenticity?

is authenticity an admirable quality when you really think about it?

authenticity, authentic brands

A celebration of creative thinking - week 7

05 Jul 2019 by Alice McKeown

Like it or not emotions will drive many of the decisions we make. Even the most analytical of us will respond emotionally to stimulus. This week, the creative team chooses their favourite recent examples of  ideas...

a celebration of creative thinking - week 7 alice mckeown

like it or not emotions will drive many of the decisions we make. even the most analytical of us will respond emotionally to stimulus. this week, the creative team chooses their favourite recent examples of ideas driven by emotional connection.

 

this is us – symbol

insight created this symbol in the wake of the christchurch terror attack and was supercharged with emotion. what i liked about this is that it embodied positive emotions of love, support and empathy to showcase strong values held by new zealand as a nation.

— alice mckeown

 

vector 2018 annual report

working to the theme of empowerment, we developed our creative thinking around the emotion and joy individuals are likely to feel when ‘empowered’ within an environment of the ‘new energy future’. vectors vision for its customers.

— brian slade

 

 

insight creative auckland fit-out.

the clever placement of simple vinyl graphics turn everyday elements within the auckland office into detailed and surprising interactions of joy and delight, over and above their obvious application to enhance and liven-up the office environment as part of the bigger insight office fit-out. my favourite, and perfect example, is also the smallest artwork; the wee hamster running on its wheel just above the light switch – positioned for those who get to work first, or last to leave – a smile-in-the mind and emotional connection for when it’s needed most.

— chris gough palmer

 

st john retail network – identity

from the position ‘all good in the community’ to the lively execution, this project brings a positive, optimistic, feel-good feeling to the ‘recycled goods shop’ experience. repurposing things to help the planet, helping those in need and the wider community that st john supports and helps. all good, all round.

— edwin hooper

 

nz drug foundation catalyst room illustration

the illustration for the nz drug foundation catalyst room tells an emotional story of how drugs can effect people’s lives and loved ones. the illustration allows the story to interweave many different people, roles and outcomes combining both positive, triumphant messages and sad stories of struggle and despair.

— jo ross

design, creative celebration, insight creative, emotional connection
Our Clients. We're in good company.
see our clients' work
Need to communicate more effectively with your customers, staff, investors or stakeholders?