Sometimes in life, you have to prove that if you talk the talk, you are willing to walk the walk!

Today Mt Ruapehu (via our awesome agency client PPR Auckland) wanted a yodeler (of all things) to hit the streets of Auckland city, promoting the fact that Mt Ruapehu ski fields are AWESOME right now- and that they have heaps of snow.

The creative idea was that “we are so excited about our snow, we are yodeling with joy! And if you (the public) yodel with us, we will give you a free day pass to the mountain”

Despite having a huge database of talent and promotional people / brand ambassadors, we could not find anyone willing to yodel at short notice.. so, (never one to let a client down) I decided to swap my suit for a ski jacket and goggles and do it myself.

As an agency owner you can sometimes get disconnected from the action on the ground level: you get consumed with business development or administration, and leave the execution to specialists.. today was a great chance for me to get back on board, interact with consumers, and see an activation come to life first hand- Robert Bruce (MD)

If you are interested in seeing more photos of us in action on the streets of Auckland, check http://www.facebook.com/SublimeNZ

The risks of social media in promotions / experiential


Today I had a situation in my agency that I thought others may benefit from. Here it goes:

There are only a handful of times in my career as founder and Managing Director of SublimeNZ when I have been TRULY furious and disappointed due to the actions of my contracted staff: today is one such day.
I wish to share this example of stupidity with other promotional people as an example of what never to do whilst contracted to an agency, and for other agency owners to be aware of the risks of staff upsetting a campaign (even after it has been delivered flawlessly). 

Let me firstly remind readers that SublimeNZ is positioned as a PREMIUM experiential marketing agency: I personally have worked tirelessly over the past 7 years to win work with the best brands and at the best events. We have tried to choose the best contracted team and train them properly.
But like any company in a competitive market, we are only as good as ‘our last job’.
On the weekend, two brand ambassadors worked at a high profile event (that took WEEKS of preparation and thousands of dollars to make happen I might add) then went to the online photo gallery on the clients facebook page, tagged themselves, and started making derogatory comments about the job, the client, and the agency. Basically taking the micky and starting threads of conversations with their friends. Not a care in the world!
They may have thought it was all in good fun and harmless but the General Manager of this multinational company saw these obscene, juvenile and embarrassing comments - and is absolutely (and rightfully) furious.

The client is now threatening to not pay for the whole event (not just the staffing) due to damage to reputation. Therefore, it is quite possible that these promoters will be charged for damages and costs that SublimeNZ incurs trying to solve this problem / save the client, and they will likely be terminated from the agency.
Here is my lesson for you all (promotional people, or otherwise): EVERYTHING you do online can impact you in the real world. Everything is monitored. Everyone sees what you do / say / post / share. In this modern age of connectivity and blurred lines between online and offline you must not make comments on facebook (or any website / social media / blog) that are in any way negative about your job, your agency, yourself or anything…
In my opinion, you are far safer to say nothing at all if it is not positive.
Promotional people should also never put work related photos (such as photos from an event, or even just wearing the uniform after work) on their own page unless authorised to do so. There is always a risk that you can damage the reputation of the brand you are working on, or that of your agency, if the wrong person sees it. 
In response to this unprecedented/unexpected issue my agency is going to update its social media policy in staff contracts, and contractors will have to re-agree to these new terms before working for us again. These changes will clarify rules around online behaviour (applicable even when outside of work hours) and use of work related photos in social media. Though frankly, I thought these common sense rules would have been obvious for most mature professionals..
This has been a learning experience, which may / may not be costly depending on the how the client reacts to this breach of trust. Hopefully this blog entry can help other agency owners to put plans in place to avoid these types of issues, and let promotional people know the implications of their actions (even outside of work hours).

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
Generator Office Facility
Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East
Auckland City
1011

Adding value and innovating in the experiential marketing industry

01/06/2012

Today I went to a very interesting breakfast session, hosted by Idealog Magazine, and presented by Steven Joyce (Minister of ‘Everything’- including Economic Development, Science and Innovation, Tertiary Education, and Skills and Employment).

The underlying theme of the session, attended by many of the top scientific, academic and business brains in NZ was that as a (small, isolated) country we must innovate and invest in research and development in order to become competitive, increase wealth in New Zealand, and to long term carve a niche for our products and services on a global stage.

According to The Minister, “one thing that almost all political parties agree on is that we all want more, and higher paid jobs”

So, the question that was posed today, is what do we need to do to create unique selling points, added-value, and international demand for our products and services? How do we move away from ‘commodity business’ (for example, promotional staffing services that are comparatively similair between agencies) and transition to a point where we are selling, and ideally exporting, BIG ideas. In summary, if we have bigger companies creating better returns and leading the way in the area of RND and innovation, then in theory there will be more jobs for Kiwis- that are paid better.

The challenge, is how to encourage, incentivise, and celebrate Kiwi entrepreneurs to ‘be the best’? How do we create a culture of ‘thinking bigger’, and how do we help create a ‘soft landing’ in emerging markets such as China, which Mr Joyce said will become our biggest export market by 2020.

Certainly, my own personal experience is that it is not as easy as it looks:

As founder and director of SublimeNZ I am infinitely interested in the concept of ‘adding value’ to companies. SublimeNZ specialises in helping brands to tell a story to customers, creating engagement and interest with target markets, differentiating products and services from competitors, and ideally helping brands to get better returns from their marketing spend.

Recently I traveled for a month meeting Kiwi (and other) business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs around the world. I wanted to know what was happening around the world in the area of experiential marketing, advertising and and sponsorship (in particular) but also what was like setting up shop in a new country. Unfortunately much of the sentiment I encountered in the US and Europe in particular is that it is extremely hard- much harder than it sounds when talking about ‘opening up new markets’ or ‘securing global distribution chains’, over breakfast.

The challenge I observed is that in most established markets such as the US or Europe there are already hundreds, or even thousands of companies that ‘do what you do’. Experiential marketing, for example, is highly developed in Europe and America and even Australia, where they have been pushing boundaries and innovating for decades. The size of budgets these agencies have access to, driven by the population they need to market to, are phenomenal. Far great than any marketing budget we will see in New Zealand for a long time I suspect. But, I observed that great ideas could still get through and succeed, if they were value-added, and distinctly unique. The door is not shut for global expansion, in any industry, as long as you have something new and better. 

This is therefore my out take from todays session: we need to innovate. Doing ‘what everyone is already doing’ cannot help a company to grow because most likely, someone else is already doing it better. For New Zealand, and therefore New Zealand experiential marketing to progress we have to be doing things that NOONE is doing, and do it better/smarter/faster/bigger/more effective. We need to innovate, as my company has done, in the area of automating the ‘commodity’ aspect of the business so that it is as painless end efficient as possible (by commodity, I am referring to the basics of experiential, such as promotional staff and uniforms and branding and collateral). Commodities like those I just described, are what my own company (until recently) and many others ‘hang their hat on’; The quality or appearance or training of promotional staff, the attractiveness or uniqueness of branding, even the speed or professionalism or experience of account managers or creatives: These are not genuine selling points and you are only clipping a ticket between your client and the consumer. When clipping a ticket, and competing in a homogenised or commodity industry, one therefore will always be at they mercy of competitors undercutting prices, and stealing clients away. Companies like ours are not ‘truly’ differentiating if this is all they are offering: there has to be more.

It is ideas.

To survive and grow (both our own companies, and the economy) we have to be selling/marketing a radically better way of doing things, something new, something completely different, something with ‘added value’ that brands/companies are prepared to pay for and really value- because only then can we (as agency owners) charge properly for the time and effort we put in, grow our businesses, create more jobs, and pay our people better.

This is how, in my opinion, one little pocket of New Zealand business can contribute to a better future for our country.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ ltd

Robert@sublimenz.co.nz

www.sublimenz.co.nz 

SublimeNZ News Feed

Sometimes in life, you have to prove that if you talk the talk, you are willing to walk the walk!

Today Mt Ruapehu (via our awesome agency client PPR Auckland) wanted a yodeler (of all things) to hit the streets of Auckland city, promoting the fact that Mt Ruapehu ski fields are AWESOME right now- and that they have heaps of snow.

The creative idea was that “we are so excited about our snow, we are yodeling with joy! And if you (the public) yodel with us, we will give you a free day pass to the mountain”

Despite having a huge database of talent and promotional people / brand ambassadors, we could not find anyone willing to yodel at short notice.. so, (never one to let a client down) I decided to swap my suit for a ski jacket and goggles and do it myself.

As an agency owner you can sometimes get disconnected from the action on the ground level: you get consumed with business development or administration, and leave the execution to specialists.. today was a great chance for me to get back on board, interact with consumers, and see an activation come to life first hand- Robert Bruce (MD)

If you are interested in seeing more photos of us in action on the streets of Auckland, check http://www.facebook.com/SublimeNZ

The risks of social media in promotions / experiential


Today I had a situation in my agency that I thought others may benefit from. Here it goes:

There are only a handful of times in my career as founder and Managing Director of SublimeNZ when I have been TRULY furious and disappointed due to the actions of my contracted staff: today is one such day.
I wish to share this example of stupidity with other promotional people as an example of what never to do whilst contracted to an agency, and for other agency owners to be aware of the risks of staff upsetting a campaign (even after it has been delivered flawlessly). 

Let me firstly remind readers that SublimeNZ is positioned as a PREMIUM experiential marketing agency: I personally have worked tirelessly over the past 7 years to win work with the best brands and at the best events. We have tried to choose the best contracted team and train them properly.
But like any company in a competitive market, we are only as good as ‘our last job’.
On the weekend, two brand ambassadors worked at a high profile event (that took WEEKS of preparation and thousands of dollars to make happen I might add) then went to the online photo gallery on the clients facebook page, tagged themselves, and started making derogatory comments about the job, the client, and the agency. Basically taking the micky and starting threads of conversations with their friends. Not a care in the world!
They may have thought it was all in good fun and harmless but the General Manager of this multinational company saw these obscene, juvenile and embarrassing comments - and is absolutely (and rightfully) furious.

The client is now threatening to not pay for the whole event (not just the staffing) due to damage to reputation. Therefore, it is quite possible that these promoters will be charged for damages and costs that SublimeNZ incurs trying to solve this problem / save the client, and they will likely be terminated from the agency.
Here is my lesson for you all (promotional people, or otherwise): EVERYTHING you do online can impact you in the real world. Everything is monitored. Everyone sees what you do / say / post / share. In this modern age of connectivity and blurred lines between online and offline you must not make comments on facebook (or any website / social media / blog) that are in any way negative about your job, your agency, yourself or anything…
In my opinion, you are far safer to say nothing at all if it is not positive.
Promotional people should also never put work related photos (such as photos from an event, or even just wearing the uniform after work) on their own page unless authorised to do so. There is always a risk that you can damage the reputation of the brand you are working on, or that of your agency, if the wrong person sees it. 
In response to this unprecedented/unexpected issue my agency is going to update its social media policy in staff contracts, and contractors will have to re-agree to these new terms before working for us again. These changes will clarify rules around online behaviour (applicable even when outside of work hours) and use of work related photos in social media. Though frankly, I thought these common sense rules would have been obvious for most mature professionals..
This has been a learning experience, which may / may not be costly depending on the how the client reacts to this breach of trust. Hopefully this blog entry can help other agency owners to put plans in place to avoid these types of issues, and let promotional people know the implications of their actions (even outside of work hours).

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
Generator Office Facility
Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East
Auckland City
1011

Adding value and innovating in the experiential marketing industry

01/06/2012

Today I went to a very interesting breakfast session, hosted by Idealog Magazine, and presented by Steven Joyce (Minister of ‘Everything’- including Economic Development, Science and Innovation, Tertiary Education, and Skills and Employment).

The underlying theme of the session, attended by many of the top scientific, academic and business brains in NZ was that as a (small, isolated) country we must innovate and invest in research and development in order to become competitive, increase wealth in New Zealand, and to long term carve a niche for our products and services on a global stage.

According to The Minister, “one thing that almost all political parties agree on is that we all want more, and higher paid jobs”

So, the question that was posed today, is what do we need to do to create unique selling points, added-value, and international demand for our products and services? How do we move away from ‘commodity business’ (for example, promotional staffing services that are comparatively similair between agencies) and transition to a point where we are selling, and ideally exporting, BIG ideas. In summary, if we have bigger companies creating better returns and leading the way in the area of RND and innovation, then in theory there will be more jobs for Kiwis- that are paid better.

The challenge, is how to encourage, incentivise, and celebrate Kiwi entrepreneurs to ‘be the best’? How do we create a culture of ‘thinking bigger’, and how do we help create a ‘soft landing’ in emerging markets such as China, which Mr Joyce said will become our biggest export market by 2020.

Certainly, my own personal experience is that it is not as easy as it looks:

As founder and director of SublimeNZ I am infinitely interested in the concept of ‘adding value’ to companies. SublimeNZ specialises in helping brands to tell a story to customers, creating engagement and interest with target markets, differentiating products and services from competitors, and ideally helping brands to get better returns from their marketing spend.

Recently I traveled for a month meeting Kiwi (and other) business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs around the world. I wanted to know what was happening around the world in the area of experiential marketing, advertising and and sponsorship (in particular) but also what was like setting up shop in a new country. Unfortunately much of the sentiment I encountered in the US and Europe in particular is that it is extremely hard- much harder than it sounds when talking about ‘opening up new markets’ or ‘securing global distribution chains’, over breakfast.

The challenge I observed is that in most established markets such as the US or Europe there are already hundreds, or even thousands of companies that ‘do what you do’. Experiential marketing, for example, is highly developed in Europe and America and even Australia, where they have been pushing boundaries and innovating for decades. The size of budgets these agencies have access to, driven by the population they need to market to, are phenomenal. Far great than any marketing budget we will see in New Zealand for a long time I suspect. But, I observed that great ideas could still get through and succeed, if they were value-added, and distinctly unique. The door is not shut for global expansion, in any industry, as long as you have something new and better. 

This is therefore my out take from todays session: we need to innovate. Doing ‘what everyone is already doing’ cannot help a company to grow because most likely, someone else is already doing it better. For New Zealand, and therefore New Zealand experiential marketing to progress we have to be doing things that NOONE is doing, and do it better/smarter/faster/bigger/more effective. We need to innovate, as my company has done, in the area of automating the ‘commodity’ aspect of the business so that it is as painless end efficient as possible (by commodity, I am referring to the basics of experiential, such as promotional staff and uniforms and branding and collateral). Commodities like those I just described, are what my own company (until recently) and many others ‘hang their hat on’; The quality or appearance or training of promotional staff, the attractiveness or uniqueness of branding, even the speed or professionalism or experience of account managers or creatives: These are not genuine selling points and you are only clipping a ticket between your client and the consumer. When clipping a ticket, and competing in a homogenised or commodity industry, one therefore will always be at they mercy of competitors undercutting prices, and stealing clients away. Companies like ours are not ‘truly’ differentiating if this is all they are offering: there has to be more.

It is ideas.

To survive and grow (both our own companies, and the economy) we have to be selling/marketing a radically better way of doing things, something new, something completely different, something with ‘added value’ that brands/companies are prepared to pay for and really value- because only then can we (as agency owners) charge properly for the time and effort we put in, grow our businesses, create more jobs, and pay our people better.

This is how, in my opinion, one little pocket of New Zealand business can contribute to a better future for our country.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ ltd

Robert@sublimenz.co.nz

www.sublimenz.co.nz 

SublimeNZ News Feed

Sometimes in life, you have to prove that if you talk the talk, you are willing to walk the walk!

Today Mt Ruapehu (via our awesome agency client PPR Auckland) wanted a yodeler (of all things) to hit the streets of Auckland city, promoting the fact that Mt Ruapehu ski fields are AWESOME right now- and that they have heaps of snow.

The creative idea was that “we are so excited about our snow, we are yodeling with joy! And if you (the public) yodel with us, we will give you a free day pass to the mountain”

Despite having a huge database of talent and promotional people / brand ambassadors, we could not find anyone willing to yodel at short notice.. so, (never one to let a client down) I decided to swap my suit for a ski jacket and goggles and do it myself.

As an agency owner you can sometimes get disconnected from the action on the ground level: you get consumed with business development or administration, and leave the execution to specialists.. today was a great chance for me to get back on board, interact with consumers, and see an activation come to life first hand- Robert Bruce (MD)

If you are interested in seeing more photos of us in action on the streets of Auckland, check http://www.facebook.com/SublimeNZ

The risks of social media in promotions / experiential


Today I had a situation in my agency that I thought others may benefit from. Here it goes:

There are only a handful of times in my career as founder and Managing Director of SublimeNZ when I have been TRULY furious and disappointed due to the actions of my contracted staff: today is one such day.
I wish to share this example of stupidity with other promotional people as an example of what never to do whilst contracted to an agency, and for other agency owners to be aware of the risks of staff upsetting a campaign (even after it has been delivered flawlessly). 

Let me firstly remind readers that SublimeNZ is positioned as a PREMIUM experiential marketing agency: I personally have worked tirelessly over the past 7 years to win work with the best brands and at the best events. We have tried to choose the best contracted team and train them properly.
But like any company in a competitive market, we are only as good as ‘our last job’.
On the weekend, two brand ambassadors worked at a high profile event (that took WEEKS of preparation and thousands of dollars to make happen I might add) then went to the online photo gallery on the clients facebook page, tagged themselves, and started making derogatory comments about the job, the client, and the agency. Basically taking the micky and starting threads of conversations with their friends. Not a care in the world!
They may have thought it was all in good fun and harmless but the General Manager of this multinational company saw these obscene, juvenile and embarrassing comments - and is absolutely (and rightfully) furious.

The client is now threatening to not pay for the whole event (not just the staffing) due to damage to reputation. Therefore, it is quite possible that these promoters will be charged for damages and costs that SublimeNZ incurs trying to solve this problem / save the client, and they will likely be terminated from the agency.
Here is my lesson for you all (promotional people, or otherwise): EVERYTHING you do online can impact you in the real world. Everything is monitored. Everyone sees what you do / say / post / share. In this modern age of connectivity and blurred lines between online and offline you must not make comments on facebook (or any website / social media / blog) that are in any way negative about your job, your agency, yourself or anything…
In my opinion, you are far safer to say nothing at all if it is not positive.
Promotional people should also never put work related photos (such as photos from an event, or even just wearing the uniform after work) on their own page unless authorised to do so. There is always a risk that you can damage the reputation of the brand you are working on, or that of your agency, if the wrong person sees it. 
In response to this unprecedented/unexpected issue my agency is going to update its social media policy in staff contracts, and contractors will have to re-agree to these new terms before working for us again. These changes will clarify rules around online behaviour (applicable even when outside of work hours) and use of work related photos in social media. Though frankly, I thought these common sense rules would have been obvious for most mature professionals..
This has been a learning experience, which may / may not be costly depending on the how the client reacts to this breach of trust. Hopefully this blog entry can help other agency owners to put plans in place to avoid these types of issues, and let promotional people know the implications of their actions (even outside of work hours).

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
Generator Office Facility
Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East
Auckland City
1011

Adding value and innovating in the experiential marketing industry

01/06/2012

Today I went to a very interesting breakfast session, hosted by Idealog Magazine, and presented by Steven Joyce (Minister of ‘Everything’- including Economic Development, Science and Innovation, Tertiary Education, and Skills and Employment).

The underlying theme of the session, attended by many of the top scientific, academic and business brains in NZ was that as a (small, isolated) country we must innovate and invest in research and development in order to become competitive, increase wealth in New Zealand, and to long term carve a niche for our products and services on a global stage.

According to The Minister, “one thing that almost all political parties agree on is that we all want more, and higher paid jobs”

So, the question that was posed today, is what do we need to do to create unique selling points, added-value, and international demand for our products and services? How do we move away from ‘commodity business’ (for example, promotional staffing services that are comparatively similair between agencies) and transition to a point where we are selling, and ideally exporting, BIG ideas. In summary, if we have bigger companies creating better returns and leading the way in the area of RND and innovation, then in theory there will be more jobs for Kiwis- that are paid better.

The challenge, is how to encourage, incentivise, and celebrate Kiwi entrepreneurs to ‘be the best’? How do we create a culture of ‘thinking bigger’, and how do we help create a ‘soft landing’ in emerging markets such as China, which Mr Joyce said will become our biggest export market by 2020.

Certainly, my own personal experience is that it is not as easy as it looks:

As founder and director of SublimeNZ I am infinitely interested in the concept of ‘adding value’ to companies. SublimeNZ specialises in helping brands to tell a story to customers, creating engagement and interest with target markets, differentiating products and services from competitors, and ideally helping brands to get better returns from their marketing spend.

Recently I traveled for a month meeting Kiwi (and other) business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs around the world. I wanted to know what was happening around the world in the area of experiential marketing, advertising and and sponsorship (in particular) but also what was like setting up shop in a new country. Unfortunately much of the sentiment I encountered in the US and Europe in particular is that it is extremely hard- much harder than it sounds when talking about ‘opening up new markets’ or ‘securing global distribution chains’, over breakfast.

The challenge I observed is that in most established markets such as the US or Europe there are already hundreds, or even thousands of companies that ‘do what you do’. Experiential marketing, for example, is highly developed in Europe and America and even Australia, where they have been pushing boundaries and innovating for decades. The size of budgets these agencies have access to, driven by the population they need to market to, are phenomenal. Far great than any marketing budget we will see in New Zealand for a long time I suspect. But, I observed that great ideas could still get through and succeed, if they were value-added, and distinctly unique. The door is not shut for global expansion, in any industry, as long as you have something new and better. 

This is therefore my out take from todays session: we need to innovate. Doing ‘what everyone is already doing’ cannot help a company to grow because most likely, someone else is already doing it better. For New Zealand, and therefore New Zealand experiential marketing to progress we have to be doing things that NOONE is doing, and do it better/smarter/faster/bigger/more effective. We need to innovate, as my company has done, in the area of automating the ‘commodity’ aspect of the business so that it is as painless end efficient as possible (by commodity, I am referring to the basics of experiential, such as promotional staff and uniforms and branding and collateral). Commodities like those I just described, are what my own company (until recently) and many others ‘hang their hat on’; The quality or appearance or training of promotional staff, the attractiveness or uniqueness of branding, even the speed or professionalism or experience of account managers or creatives: These are not genuine selling points and you are only clipping a ticket between your client and the consumer. When clipping a ticket, and competing in a homogenised or commodity industry, one therefore will always be at they mercy of competitors undercutting prices, and stealing clients away. Companies like ours are not ‘truly’ differentiating if this is all they are offering: there has to be more.

It is ideas.

To survive and grow (both our own companies, and the economy) we have to be selling/marketing a radically better way of doing things, something new, something completely different, something with ‘added value’ that brands/companies are prepared to pay for and really value- because only then can we (as agency owners) charge properly for the time and effort we put in, grow our businesses, create more jobs, and pay our people better.

This is how, in my opinion, one little pocket of New Zealand business can contribute to a better future for our country.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ ltd

Robert@sublimenz.co.nz

www.sublimenz.co.nz 

SublimeNZ News Feed

Sometimes in life, you have to prove that if you talk the talk, you are willing to walk the walk!

Today Mt Ruapehu (via our awesome agency client PPR Auckland) wanted a yodeler (of all things) to hit the streets of Auckland city, promoting the fact that Mt Ruapehu ski fields are AWESOME right now- and that they have heaps of snow.

The creative idea was that “we are so excited about our snow, we are yodeling with joy! And if you (the public) yodel with us, we will give you a free day pass to the mountain”

Despite having a huge database of talent and promotional people / brand ambassadors, we could not find anyone willing to yodel at short notice.. so, (never one to let a client down) I decided to swap my suit for a ski jacket and goggles and do it myself.

As an agency owner you can sometimes get disconnected from the action on the ground level: you get consumed with business development or administration, and leave the execution to specialists.. today was a great chance for me to get back on board, interact with consumers, and see an activation come to life first hand- Robert Bruce (MD)

If you are interested in seeing more photos of us in action on the streets of Auckland, check http://www.facebook.com/SublimeNZ

The risks of social media in promotions / experiential


Today I had a situation in my agency that I thought others may benefit from. Here it goes:

There are only a handful of times in my career as founder and Managing Director of SublimeNZ when I have been TRULY furious and disappointed due to the actions of my contracted staff: today is one such day.
I wish to share this example of stupidity with other promotional people as an example of what never to do whilst contracted to an agency, and for other agency owners to be aware of the risks of staff upsetting a campaign (even after it has been delivered flawlessly). 

Let me firstly remind readers that SublimeNZ is positioned as a PREMIUM experiential marketing agency: I personally have worked tirelessly over the past 7 years to win work with the best brands and at the best events. We have tried to choose the best contracted team and train them properly.
But like any company in a competitive market, we are only as good as ‘our last job’.
On the weekend, two brand ambassadors worked at a high profile event (that took WEEKS of preparation and thousands of dollars to make happen I might add) then went to the online photo gallery on the clients facebook page, tagged themselves, and started making derogatory comments about the job, the client, and the agency. Basically taking the micky and starting threads of conversations with their friends. Not a care in the world!
They may have thought it was all in good fun and harmless but the General Manager of this multinational company saw these obscene, juvenile and embarrassing comments - and is absolutely (and rightfully) furious.

The client is now threatening to not pay for the whole event (not just the staffing) due to damage to reputation. Therefore, it is quite possible that these promoters will be charged for damages and costs that SublimeNZ incurs trying to solve this problem / save the client, and they will likely be terminated from the agency.
Here is my lesson for you all (promotional people, or otherwise): EVERYTHING you do online can impact you in the real world. Everything is monitored. Everyone sees what you do / say / post / share. In this modern age of connectivity and blurred lines between online and offline you must not make comments on facebook (or any website / social media / blog) that are in any way negative about your job, your agency, yourself or anything…
In my opinion, you are far safer to say nothing at all if it is not positive.
Promotional people should also never put work related photos (such as photos from an event, or even just wearing the uniform after work) on their own page unless authorised to do so. There is always a risk that you can damage the reputation of the brand you are working on, or that of your agency, if the wrong person sees it. 
In response to this unprecedented/unexpected issue my agency is going to update its social media policy in staff contracts, and contractors will have to re-agree to these new terms before working for us again. These changes will clarify rules around online behaviour (applicable even when outside of work hours) and use of work related photos in social media. Though frankly, I thought these common sense rules would have been obvious for most mature professionals..
This has been a learning experience, which may / may not be costly depending on the how the client reacts to this breach of trust. Hopefully this blog entry can help other agency owners to put plans in place to avoid these types of issues, and let promotional people know the implications of their actions (even outside of work hours).

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
Generator Office Facility
Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East
Auckland City
1011

Adding value and innovating in the experiential marketing industry

01/06/2012

Today I went to a very interesting breakfast session, hosted by Idealog Magazine, and presented by Steven Joyce (Minister of ‘Everything’- including Economic Development, Science and Innovation, Tertiary Education, and Skills and Employment).

The underlying theme of the session, attended by many of the top scientific, academic and business brains in NZ was that as a (small, isolated) country we must innovate and invest in research and development in order to become competitive, increase wealth in New Zealand, and to long term carve a niche for our products and services on a global stage.

According to The Minister, “one thing that almost all political parties agree on is that we all want more, and higher paid jobs”

So, the question that was posed today, is what do we need to do to create unique selling points, added-value, and international demand for our products and services? How do we move away from ‘commodity business’ (for example, promotional staffing services that are comparatively similair between agencies) and transition to a point where we are selling, and ideally exporting, BIG ideas. In summary, if we have bigger companies creating better returns and leading the way in the area of RND and innovation, then in theory there will be more jobs for Kiwis- that are paid better.

The challenge, is how to encourage, incentivise, and celebrate Kiwi entrepreneurs to ‘be the best’? How do we create a culture of ‘thinking bigger’, and how do we help create a ‘soft landing’ in emerging markets such as China, which Mr Joyce said will become our biggest export market by 2020.

Certainly, my own personal experience is that it is not as easy as it looks:

As founder and director of SublimeNZ I am infinitely interested in the concept of ‘adding value’ to companies. SublimeNZ specialises in helping brands to tell a story to customers, creating engagement and interest with target markets, differentiating products and services from competitors, and ideally helping brands to get better returns from their marketing spend.

Recently I traveled for a month meeting Kiwi (and other) business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs around the world. I wanted to know what was happening around the world in the area of experiential marketing, advertising and and sponsorship (in particular) but also what was like setting up shop in a new country. Unfortunately much of the sentiment I encountered in the US and Europe in particular is that it is extremely hard- much harder than it sounds when talking about ‘opening up new markets’ or ‘securing global distribution chains’, over breakfast.

The challenge I observed is that in most established markets such as the US or Europe there are already hundreds, or even thousands of companies that ‘do what you do’. Experiential marketing, for example, is highly developed in Europe and America and even Australia, where they have been pushing boundaries and innovating for decades. The size of budgets these agencies have access to, driven by the population they need to market to, are phenomenal. Far great than any marketing budget we will see in New Zealand for a long time I suspect. But, I observed that great ideas could still get through and succeed, if they were value-added, and distinctly unique. The door is not shut for global expansion, in any industry, as long as you have something new and better. 

This is therefore my out take from todays session: we need to innovate. Doing ‘what everyone is already doing’ cannot help a company to grow because most likely, someone else is already doing it better. For New Zealand, and therefore New Zealand experiential marketing to progress we have to be doing things that NOONE is doing, and do it better/smarter/faster/bigger/more effective. We need to innovate, as my company has done, in the area of automating the ‘commodity’ aspect of the business so that it is as painless end efficient as possible (by commodity, I am referring to the basics of experiential, such as promotional staff and uniforms and branding and collateral). Commodities like those I just described, are what my own company (until recently) and many others ‘hang their hat on’; The quality or appearance or training of promotional staff, the attractiveness or uniqueness of branding, even the speed or professionalism or experience of account managers or creatives: These are not genuine selling points and you are only clipping a ticket between your client and the consumer. When clipping a ticket, and competing in a homogenised or commodity industry, one therefore will always be at they mercy of competitors undercutting prices, and stealing clients away. Companies like ours are not ‘truly’ differentiating if this is all they are offering: there has to be more.

It is ideas.

To survive and grow (both our own companies, and the economy) we have to be selling/marketing a radically better way of doing things, something new, something completely different, something with ‘added value’ that brands/companies are prepared to pay for and really value- because only then can we (as agency owners) charge properly for the time and effort we put in, grow our businesses, create more jobs, and pay our people better.

This is how, in my opinion, one little pocket of New Zealand business can contribute to a better future for our country.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ ltd

Robert@sublimenz.co.nz

www.sublimenz.co.nz