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

WIREMU WINS WITHOUT WIFI

A fun illustrated kids book showcasing the
best in creative storytelling across print,
interactive and augmented reality.

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 2019 Integrated Report
NZ Post 2019 Integrated Report
Rebranding The Sir Peter Blake Trust
Rebranding The Sir Peter Blake Trust
The maunga of Tāmaki
The maunga of Tāmaki
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
Starship Wonderful Forest
Starship Wonderful Forest
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.
Multi-disciplined physical and digital experiences engage your audiences, reinforcing your brand and culture to drive perception, awareness and behaviours.
Multi-disciplined physical and digital experiences engage your audiences, reinforcing your brand and culture to drive perception, awareness and behaviours.
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.

Becoming who we are

01 Sep 2020 by Steven Giannoulis

With a name like Giannoulis, I’m clearly not your traditional Kiwi of British colonial lineage. But I don’t think I am any less Kiwi than the decendants of Tasman or Cook. Like them, I come from immigrants and...

becoming who we are steven giannoulis

with a name like giannoulis, i’m clearly not your traditional kiwi of british colonial lineage. but i don’t think i am any less kiwi than the decendants of tasman or cook. like them, i come from immigrants and it’s taken me a while to fully appreciate that my identity is shaped by both my past and my ideas of what it means to be kiwi. like me, new zealand has taken time to fully embrace our identity and the many aspects that have, and continue to, shape it. we finally are and that is a journey i’m pleased to be part of. 

my parents are from greece, moving from a small fishing village to the wellington suburbs a few years before i was born. when i started school i could speak greek but limited english. we didn’t have a tv then, so english was very much the foreign language in our house.

it therefore still sometimes confuses me when, filling in forms, i must identify as the european pakeha majority. after all i’ve spent most of my life feeling i was a minority. as a kid i just wanted to be ‘normal’ like my kiwi friends. from where i stood, we looked different, we spoke another language, we ate different foods and we had weird traditions. it’s no wonder, i spent many years rebelling against my greekness, wanting to embrace those symbols that would make me seem more kiwi.

it’s only been in the last 20 years that i have really accepted my greek heritage. my greek background has given me so much, like a passion for life, a deep sense of family and an appreciation for art and culture. being greek isn’t the curse i thought it was – something to hide and only bring out when it suited me. (like when i wanted mum and dad to pay for me to go party in santorini!) being greek is part of who i am and it allows me to bring a different perspective to work, to home and to life. my identity isn’t either/or – kiwi or greek – it’s a combination of both.

in many ways, my story is a metaphor for new zealand’s identity story. for many years we’ve known that many cultures, and in particular māori, make up our identity but we’ve left it there in the background, bringing it out only when it suited us to. we’ve always pushed forward the identity we thought we wanted to be, rather than the one we really were.

but this is changing

but this is changing as we realise that being british isn’t necessarily a true reflection of who we are. and it’s certainly not unique – 50 plus commonwealth countries attest to that. where british is a key ingredient in our identity, it’s our māori and pasifika stories that make it our own. and then there’s the hundreds of other flavours – greek, italian, south african, chinese, croatian, syrian, indian, dutch and many more – that really make our recipe special.

as a nation we’re embracing diversity and our unique identity, especially the māori element of it, and we are seeing more and more of it on our screens, in our schools, sports, arts and way of thinking. i love that it’s part of who i am as a kiwi. in fact, i feel more cultural connection to this than any british culture, rooted in a land i’ve only visited a couple of times. i enjoy being greeted with kia ora and seeing tikanga principles embraced in our everyday society. my personal favourite is manaakitanga, probably because it aligns so closely with the greek philosophy of philoxenia that i grew up with. 

through our brand and communications work, we are seeing more clients, especially government departments, embrace this more inclusive kiwi identity. it’s an identity that reflects their customers, their communities and their workforce. the fact they are recognising that kiwi culture is changing, and they need to change with it, is a good thing. what i’m finding difficult, however, is the attempt to be something they are not.

as in my own journey, you must understand how culture is part of how you think and act before you can publicly embrace it. adding a māori name, or adding some te reo words to your website, doesn’t change who you are, how you think or how you act. i’ve worked with a number of clients recently who tried to do just this. our philosophy is that brands work best from the inside out, expressing who you really are rather than how you want others to see you.

my advice to clients

my advice to these clients is to grow into their identity, finding ways to make a diverse culture part of who they are first, before starting to express it externally. there are many ways to do this and each organisation’s journey is different. find ways to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the many cultures that make up your identity. actively ask staff about the cultural barriers they see and find ways to address them. review staff benefits, like leave entitlements, accommodating different religions and cultures. offer cultural training, appreciation and support to those who most want it. make iwi connections and use specialist partners to help you on your journey.

at insight creative, we share our many cultures through regular team stories and food. but only one of our 25 staff has a māori connection so we’re on a journey to better appreciate the māori way of seeing things. we share a daily māori word; we bring people in to help us understand and apply key māori world concepts; and we make a point of celebrating matariki and māori language week in ways that grow our understanding. as a result, we are seeing more te reo in our everyday communications and kotahitanga as a core idea in how our team culture develops. already our growing knowledge and appreciation, together with our specialist mana whenua partner support, is coming through in the quality of thinking and design we are delivering to clients.

personally, i’m enjoying this identity journey and the increased confidence to explore and learn. the next step in my journey is to study pasifika and asian cultures further. they’ve made a significant contribution to who we are and they’ll play an even bigger role as our place in the asia-pacific region evolves. and maybe then i’ll also go back to my own greek origins, seeking to find new insights and inspiration. after all, we’re always on the journey of becoming who we are.

identity, new zealand, inside out branding, insight creative

The 101 of Augmented Reality

27 Aug 2020 by Jeremy Sweetman

By now you've heard about Augmented Reality (AR), but are still really confused about what it all means. What makes it different from VR? Are there different kinds and do I need a device, goggles, 3D glasses or...

the 101 of augmented reality jeremy sweetman

by now you've heard about augmented reality (ar), but are still really confused about what it all means. what makes it different from vr? are there different kinds and do i need a device, goggles, 3d glasses or something else to experience it? read on to have all your questions answered and to find out ar’s potential for your business.



for many the altering of reality, with holograms, interactive displays and 3d projections, is still the stuff of science-fiction. the truth is that all these things already exist and are playing an ever bigger role in our life experiences. as ar capability is being built into our devices (by default), its technology is set to dominate more of our daily lives. this ongoing advancement means delivering ar experiences to customers, prospects, employees and other stakeholders is becoming more affordable and accessible for business. and that’s exactly why you need to get your head around the basics of ar as a business opportunity.

a quick breakdown to start with.
before we explore more of the stuff within ar, it’s best we break a few things down and address some of the confusion that currently exists around what-is-what. there are typically three approaches that come under the umbrella term of extended reality (xr): 

  • ar (augmented reality)this is where your content appears over real-world views, usually in the form of digital images and sounds. often this is experienced through your smartphone. 
  • vr (virtual reality)this is where you deliver fully immersive experiences in an artificial world. typically this sort of content is delivered via headsets.
  • mr (mixed reality)this is where content combines both ar and vr elements so digital objects can interact with the real world. again, a range of specialist headsets allow for these types of engagement 

although this article is about ar, it’s important to understand the family of differing approaches this experience belongs to.

so, what is ar?
as indicated, augmented reality is the approach that expands the real world by adding layers of digital information onto it. it does not create an artificial world but enhances an existing real environment by adding digital sounds, videos and graphics to it. if you’ve ever tried to catch a pokemon, virtually move furniture around a room (via an app) or used a qr code to activate a video, sound or animation then you’ve probably already experienced ar. 

how does ar work?
this is probably more technical than most really need to know, but the short story is that ar overlays data (images, animations, videos, 3d models), via a range of devices (more on this later), to add computer effects to a real world setting. this is achieved via a combination of elements such as:

  • cameras and sensors. these collect data about a user's interactions and send it for processing. cameras on devices scan the surroundings to locate physical objects and generating 3d models. 
  • processing. ar devices act like computers, requiring a cpu, a gpu, flash memory, ram, bluetooth and/or wifi, a gps, etc. to be able to measure speed, angle, direction, orientation in space, and so on.

there are other elements, like projection and reflection, which are also core to many ar experiences but they need a more complex explanation so we’ll leave these for another time.

what types of ar are there?
the two most common ar types are marker-based or marker-less:

  • marker-based ar: this requires a special visual object and a camera to scan it. it may be anything from a printed qr code to a designed symbol or icon. the ar device uses the marker to know it needs to start the digital experience.
  • marker-less ar: can also be referred to as location-based or position-based ar, marker-less uses gps, a gyroscope, a compass, and/or an accelerometer to provide data based on a user's location. this data can determine what ar content you get in a certain location. with the widespread availability of smartphones, this type of ar can be used to produce maps or directions, nearby businesses' info or additional supporting content like words, numbers and video.

other ar types include projection-based (typically 3d projections on to a mapped out surface) and super-imposition-based (using object recognition to replace part or whole objects).

what devices are used?
many devices, from smartphones and tablets to gadgets like google glass, support ar. these generally fall into these categories:

  • mobile handheld devices (smartphones and tablets) – the most available and best fit for ar mobile apps, across gaming, entertainment, business analytics, sports, social networking and more.
  • special ar devices, designed specifically for ar experiences, such as head-up displays (hud), that send data to a display directly in the user's view. such devices already have applications in aviation, automotive industry, manufacturing, sports and other areas.
  • ar glasses (or smart glasses) like google glasses, hololens, laster see-thru and others. these display data from your smartphone or tablet, allowing hands-free access to content. we see a great example of this technology driving business improvement with boeing’s assembly lines.

device technologies continue to evolve. samsung and sony are developing ar contact (smart) lenses and virtual retinal displays (vrd) are also in development, creating images by projecting laser light directly into the human eye.

what are the possible business applications of ar?
ar business applications are growing at a rapid rate. these include:

  • retail - driving better customer engagement, retention, brand awareness and sales. some features help customers make wiser and quicker purchases, liking providing product data with 3d models of different sizes or colours. 
  • real-estate such as 3d tours of apartments and houses that haven’t been built yet, allowing potential purchasers to visualise themselves in them and make design decisions.
  • education and training with interactive models for learning, from mathematics and chemistry right through to simulating real life work situations.
  • medicine and healthcare to help diagnose, monitor, and train.
  • military for advanced navigation and real time data.
  • tourism, with data on destinations, navigation, and directions.
  • broadcasting, to enhance live events and event streaming with overlayed content.
  • industrial design, allowing the visualisation and modelling of potential solutions.

why we love ar so much?
as a strategic communications agency that works across both physical and digital mediums, we’ve really embraced ar as a tool to help our clients communicate more effectively with their existing and potential customers, with their staff and with the wider community. in all cases, our goal is to build engagement, grow perception, and to drive actions that align with our clients’ objectives. here’s why we think it’s so effective:

  • ar is multi-sensory, making it particularly effective in driving engagement, recall and association. 
  • brands are formed from people’s experiences and ar experiences are rich and immersive, helping drive positive associations with your brand. 
  • one of the key challenges for business is getting audiences to make multiple contacts across their sales, social, web and other touchpoints. ar has the potential to bring many of these together in one experience.
  • finally, ar is cool and interesting. therefore it has a curiosity factor that will make audiences want to try it. they engage with you when otherwise they may not have.

and as ar technology advances and becomes even more accessible, we see the business benefits and possibilities continuing to escalate.

 

augmented reality explained, augmented reality 101

Integrated Reporting Principles - Alignment in storytelling

30 Jul 2020 by Mike Tisdall

There are a number of reasons why ‘alignment’ is a good word to keep in mind when planning your corporate reporting – and integrated reporting in particular. This eight minute video spells them out, and goes on...

integrated reporting principles - alignment in storytelling mike tisdall

there are a number of reasons why ‘alignment’ is a good word to keep in mind when planning your corporate reporting – and integrated reporting in particular. this eight minute video spells them out, and goes on to tell you where to look to find some alignment to inform your report narrative.

with practical, real-world examples of how these principles have been applied to reports for companies such as nz post, vector and watercare, the hope is that these few minutes will help you approach your next report with a road map, a bit more clarity, and a toolkit for telling a cohesive story to your various stakeholder groups.

we wrap up with a bit of planning theory: how to map out your document structure logically, and to closely reflect your company's vision, mission, values and strategic plan.

, integrated reporting, alignment of storytelling
Our Clients. We're in good company.
see our clients' work
Need to communicate more effectively with your customers, staff, investors or stakeholders?