Our News

How to increase sales with the simple push of a button

Posted November 19 2013 @11:55am by admin

Are you wondering how to increase sales now and through into next year?

e-newsletter-november-blogThe answer could be as simple as clicking a button – particularly if that button is the ‘send’ button that will unleash a creative and engaging monthly mailer (like our GO Rentals example) to a dedicated database of subscribers. Done right, ongoing email direct-mailers, or eDMs, can significantly increase your sales.

Here are four reasons eDMs are the most cost-effective marketing you could dream of:

1. eDMs are effective because you are preaching to the converted.

If someone has subscribed to your marketing list, there’s a very good chance that they are satisfied customers or keen prospects. Clearly, they have indicated a genuine interest in your business by offering you their email address. This group of people are by far the most likely group to get significant sales from, as long as you can retain their attention for long enough, and keep them on-side (ie subscribed).

2. eDMs are proactive.

Websites are wonderful things. Yet for all their usefulness they remain a relatively passive marketing tool – someone has to stumble across your site before you get any benefit from it.

Despite having positive feelings about a brand, it is easy to forget about it, or fall under the spell of competition who are better at staying ‘front-of-mind’. Just because a customer has dealt with you in the past, doesn’t mean they can recall your brand or remember you when it comes to another purchase.

An eDM breaks through the mind fog and emblazons your brand and your message across your subscriber’s inbox, reminding them who you are.

3. eDMs are scalable.

You don’t need a Briscoe’s budget to make a splash with your customers.

Email can be tuned to your marketing budget with simple adjustments in frequency, and size. You may want to release a promotional offer every three months. Or, if you are getting strong responses from your eDMs, you can increase the frequency to monthly and provide a number of interesting stories to provide some fresh angles for engagement. There’s a size to fit practically any marketing budget.

4. eDMs are as cheap as chips.

In the old days, you would not only pay for the writing and design of your monthly newsletter, but you would also pay for the printing, wrapping, data-merging, labelling and postage, all of which would significantly increase costs. So many trees consumed in the pursuit of little return.

Today, email marketing can be done on a budgie-sized budget very little outlay. With a bit of research and self-tuition, you can do it all in-house, or, as some of our clients do, spend a bit more on professional copywriting and design and make every post a winning post. Either way, you can get a lot of return for very little dosh.

In summary, if you haven’t started on the road to eDM marketing, now is a good time. Christmas is coming and starting with a non-commercial Christmas greeting, at the very least, is a great way to kick off your eDM strategy. If you feel a little lost, please don’t hesitate to talk to us about how we can help you get going.


Fiber Fresh’s fresh new site unveiled

Posted November 18 2013 @11:15am by admin

Fiber Fresh website design and writeWith over 14,000 words of copy, hundreds of graphs and images, and fifty-odd pages of engaging content, New Zealand agricultural company Fiber Fresh’s website was never going to be a small undertaking.

Now live, the new site is a fitting asset for this company, a market leader in fresh forage feeds for horses and ruminants alike, one which exports a significant volume of product and is also at the cutting edge of agricultural research in New Zealand.

Icon Advertising copy-wrote, designed and managed the project from concept to content, ensuring that the final product met the high standards that Fiber Fresh has set.

If you require a website, large or small, talk to Icon today for a complete solution.

Fighting fit in Wellington

Posted November 1 2013 @5:25pm by admin

Kyokushin Karate trophies

Icon head honcho, Russell Dye, recently competed in the Kyokushin Karate Nationals in Wellington. There were about forty fighters in all, with some travelling from Australia to compete. It was a good all-round showing from Russell’s Waitakere Dojo with all three competitors winning their first fights and two, including Russell, going on to finish with second places.

Small business or recent start-up? Here’s five reasons to call us today:

Posted October 23 2013 @12:00pm by admin

Happy customer Ariane website designProfessional advice gets results and avoids costly mistakes.

We understand marketing – both offline and online. Our insights and approach to your marketing needs will pay dividends quickly and will enable you to build a strong business based on sound marketing principles. We want to work with you every step of the way. Our briefing and management systems will ensure that, together, we will get the best bang for your buck.

Pay as you go.

We offer payment plans for our small business clients because we know money doesn’t grow on trees. This enables our clients to get effective marketing material working in their favour without emptying the bank account in one hit. Talk to us today about how we can help you. Credit conditions apply.

The benefit of 30 years of advertising and marketing experience.

Russell Dye, your contact at ICON, has been in the industry for 30 years, working with clients large and small. Russell has consistently kept up to play with all the current marketing trends and strategies and understands the marketplace inside out. Russell will be your personal contact at ICON ensuring you get quality advice and service, regardless of your budget.

Great copywriting that super-boosts your marketing.

Did you know that in a print advertising environment only 20% of readers will read further than your headline? Getting the words right – we call it copywriting – is vital to any communication piece. Unlike many other online web designers and traditional graphic designers, we start with text content and get that right first. We copy-write your marketing material from the ground up to appeal to your prospects, encourage them to engage further with your marketing, and drive them to action. If you neglect copy, you’re missing out on 50% of the action.

Fixed price – no nasty surprises.

We provide quotes and stick to them. This means you can budget your marketing expenses knowing you won’t have any embarrassing blow-outs. On top of that, we’ll always explain other costs and considerations that you might be up for, things which other companies may neglect to tell you about.

So if it’s time to look at a new design agency, website designer, or advertising consultant, talk to us. Our experience, affordability, and effective creative work will get your business really booming.


Top quality print collateral gets Flaxx Medical off the line

Posted October 23 2013 @9:50am by admin

Print design brochures medical health

New start-up Flaxx Medical wanted to hit the ground running with high quality brochures and turned to Icon Advertising for a solution. We wanted to impress Flaxx Medical’s target market with a key communication piece that clearly demonstrated the product’s superior quality, ease of use, and range of options. We wrote and designed the multi-page brochure which features generous space, is aimed at a health sector audience, and yet still has a unique kiwi flavour. The end result is a sure-fire winner for our client. We also designed and produced stationery, flyers and trade-show collateral.

Icon Advertising is not just an online agency. In fact our roots are firmly grounded in ink and paper. So if your company needs quality design and print, including copywriting and photography, give us a call. We can manage any print project from inception to delivery – and we guarantee you’ll be blown away with the result.

Four new-year business resolutions

Posted October 22 2013 @4:37pm by admin

It’s still only October but with Christmas only eight weeks away, it might be time to consider your business’s direction in the new year. Here are some short, sharp thoughts to get you started:

Give and you shall receive.

Shopping-cart-giftWe said it in our last newsletter and we’ll say it again: Tell more – sell more. Providing your potential customers with helpful advice, entertainment, inspiration or any kind of value-added engagement for free can pay big dividends. Helpful advice in an e-newsletter, online calculators, non-salesy website blogs and helpful online tools are just a few of the things you can do to give.

If you’re still not convinced yet, think of it this way; both Google and Facebook were founded on the basis of a free service (search and social media) and are now reaping the rewards of a dedicated customer base, initially attracted by a value-added free service.

New Year resolution: Produce more helpful and meaningful content across all your online media.

Embrace the new age.

If you don’t evolve to match the new environment, you will become extinct quicker than you can say ‘Micropachycephalosaurus’.

That’s not to say there isn’t still a place for a good old fashioned press ad, but this brave new world demands an online presence. If you don’t have a website yet you need to get one. Do it now. You should also be considering AdWords as an extremely cost-effective way of flagging down people searching for your service or product. Talk to me today if you want to know more about your online marketing needs.

New Year resolution: Get online (if you are not already), check out AdWords.

Analyse this:

One of the glories of online marketing is we can analyse results in real time.

A newsletter can return immediate open and click-through rates. A website can provide valuable demographic and content data. An AdWords campaign can provide powerful insights into your customers’ search queries. The accumulated data allows us to understand your customers better, and help reposition your business to take advantage of emerging trends.

If you’re not seeing reports from your website or online marketing, then it’s time to track them down as you are running blind.

New Year resolution: Check with my website provider that all my analytics packages are up and running. If not, call ICON.

It’s a jungle out there!

The internet is not the place to get lost on a cold dark night. Or even a bright sunny day for that matter. The point is, don’t get lost at all.

Have a clear website goal in mind. Understand what it is you do and what your customers will be looking for online. Be clear in your understanding of your target market. The more crystal clear you are, the more targeted your online marketing can be. It’s all very well having a website but if nobody visits you might as well have spent the money on a three-legged camel.

New Year resolution: Review online strategies. Sharpen and focus more on key areas.

Tell more – sell more

Posted July 25 2013 @12:35pm by admin


If you want a more competitive website, the good news is that there is a simple, and reasonably inexpensive way to increase your Google ranking, and therefore visitors arriving to your site: more content – specifically more text. Unfortunately, many website owners make the mistake of thinking that their readers will get bored with too much text and won’t read through it.This thinking may be the result of the website owner not being a reader and also ignores two important principles of web marketing:

  1. You need to provide a reasonable amount of copy (text content) to have the opportunity to use targeted keywords in a natural and engaging style. A word count of around 500 words per page gives you the opportunity to use up to ten targeted keyword phrases without sounding like an endlessly repeating robot. Your key words can be used in a variety of instances and combinations, providing not only a solid base for SEO performance, but also a coherent, natural read.
  2. Website visitors rarely read from the first word to the last. They tend to skim read as they seek to pick out the relevant points. With more text, readers can pick and choose the relevant pieces and ignore the rest. More text means more opportunity to flag them down. To help with readability, it pays to punctuate your copy with images, bullet points, sub headings and graphics. These visual markers break up long copy and provide reference points for readers to skim around.

Of course the emphasis should be on quality content. Not just word count. What you say is more important than how much you say. Quality copy is the result of a clear up-front strategy, and a competent copywriter who understands your market, and your product or service.

One key principle in delivering effective copy is to ensure it is written with the reader’s point-of-view in mind. Unfortunately, many website designers don’t fully grasp this and follow a well-worn and ultimately ineffective track to mediocrity. They may lead with information about the business. They may show pictures of the staff and vehicle fleet. They may even think that readers are interested in the company’s vision statement. The end result is a self centred, chest-beating website that does little for the company’s sales.

A better strategy is to understand that website visitors are also self centred and are only interested in what they can get from you, be it information, guidance, entertainment, or a product. The key to good content is to provide visitors with what they want, while getting what you want at the same time…the sale. It’s called win-win.

So don’t fear big copy. It loves you. And SEO loves it too.

Getting busy in the kitchen

Posted July 25 2013 @12:32pm by admin


June 2013 saw us launch back into a full scale media campaign for Mastercraft Kitchens. Prime time television, online banner marketing, and full page magazine ads begun rolling out mid-June in addition to our ongoing AdWords, brochure and branding work for this quickly expanding company.

Our relationship with Mastercraft Kitchens is a great example of a creative agency providing more value to a client by applying a consistent and co-ordinated message across a number of media channels. Extra benefits are found in applying understandings gleaned from one channel to others. For example, our Google AdWords work provides significant insights into target audience behaviour which translate into improved headlines in press and magazine advertisements.

Using objective data from Google is a sound way to explore different creative propositions and see which ones resonate with your target audience the best. This data can be relied on when launching into media channels where feedback is not so easily tracked, for example, magazine advertising.

Of course using a full-service agency like ICON will allow easier cross-channel discussions. Clear insights into your product, budget, legal considerations, target audience, and corporate personality can be developed, and applied across the board with obvious minimisation of duplication and miscommunication.

So if you want us to get busy in your kitchen, send us a quick email here or call us on 0800 ICON ADS (0800 426 623).

Building the wall

Posted July 24 2013 @4:39pm by admin


The great wall of Icon is slowing taking shape. From Canterbury to the Warriors, some of our best visual work is now on canvas and up in lights in our studio. Now we just have to work out how to frame our AdWords campaigns…

When PDFs go bad (and four other stupid web design mistakes)

Posted April 16 2013 @9:46pm by admin

Instead of focussing on best practice, sometimes it is worthwhile to look at worst practice for a new insight. After all, they say you learn more from your failures than your successes. Hopefully here, you can learn from other people’s failures instead:

1. PDF files for online reading

We know it’s easier to plonk a PDF in there rather than reworking it but really? Not only does a PDF take extra time to load, it breaks the user’s flow. Simple things like printing or saving documents are difficult because standard browser commands don’t work when in PDF view. Layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which rarely matches the size of the user’s browser window. Worst of all, a PDF is an undifferentiated blob of content that’s hard to navigate.

And if this hasn’t put you off, it’s not going to help your SEO score either.

2. Cheesy stock shots from the eighties

Yes we know photography can be expensive but do we really have to have all those cheesy stock shots and animated cartoons blinking at us? If you are a serious business you’ve just blown it bigtime. Stock shots aren’t a sin. Bad stock shots are. Spend a little more time and effort (and even money) on shots that enhance your brand as opposed to ones that that actively try to sink it.

3. Look at me ‘n me truck!

It’s a wonderment to us as to why tradespeople have to show you their truck or van. Why oh why? Am I buying a tradesman’s time and skill or am I going for a ride in his econovan to the nearest drive-through?

Why not show me your team, or a picture of what you can do for me?

The need to show off your signwritten vehicle stems from a misunderstanding of what your customers are interested in: Themselves. They want to know that you’ll arrive on time, be polite, be prompt, be efficient, charge what you said you would, and leave having done a great job. They are interested in your service. They really don’t care about your truck or van. Honestly.

Bad website example

4. Flashing disco lights.

If you have a good message, say it. If your message is crap, try this instead (http://www.dokimos.org/ajff/).

My cat could do a better job.

5. Text in a JPEG…how cool is that?

Not cool at all actually.

In a similar vein to the rant on PDFs, many sites use images containing text, rather than actual text. One issue here is that load times are higher for images so your prospect will be waiting for the file to appear. But the biggest issue is that Google won’t see your text. So you take a hit on the SEO and another hit on load time. We suggest you let your fingers do the typing rather than take a short cut.

Have we missed any Web mistakes? You are more than welcome to use the contact form here to send us your biggest web hates and fails.

Get more customers with smarter online marketing

Posted February 18 2013 @10:09am by admin
Russell Dye presents ICON advertising's online marketing presentation
Russell Dye presents ICON advertising’s online marketing presentation

Given the opportunity to present at Office Angels’ business-in-the-cloud seminar in Tauranga, we thought it was a great chance to talk about smarter online marketing. With 3.8 million Kiwis online, and with 40% of us researching online before buying offline (ROPO for those with an inclination for acronyms), you’d be silly to ignore your online marketing commitment. ICON offer website copywriting and design, email campaigns, search engine optimisation and of course, AdWord campaigns. We left our audience thinking about the five most important things every website needs. Of course you don’t have to wait until our next seminar to find out what these are; call us today for a one-on-one discussion about your online (and offline) needs.

Warriors wow and dazzle with new brochure

Posted January 10 2013 @11:50pm by admin

Vodafone Warriors corporate marketing brochure design and print.

While the Warriors are yet to find their mojo on the field, at least the marketing team have it sorted with a 16 page brochure to wow business supporters with their hospitality and entertainment goodies.  ICON copy-wrote, designed, and managed printing (via our print partner GEON) delivering a persuasive and impressive brochure (with UV over-gloss throughout for all you print buffs out there). Sales are strong and our friends in high places at the Warriors say this is the best brochure yet!  Now all we need is some magic from the on-field team and 2013 will be one to remember!

Kiwis spent $5.6 billion shopping online last year.

Posted October 17 2012 @8:23pm by admin

The latest Roy Morgan analysis (October 2012) shows that 84% of Kiwis are now using the internet with $5.6 billion spent through online shopping last year.

Client services head Howard Seccombe says “This is important for retailers and business, which may need to change how they approach customers.”

Further research shows 70 per cent of New Zealanders used smart phones to surf the web and nearly one-third accessed Facebook and Twitter through their phones although
only a small number of people actually shopped using smartphones.

Mr Seccombe believed smartphones were the most important way for businesses to connect with consumers.

He said “digital natives” who had grown up with technology would not be surprised by these results, but those who had come to the digital age later in life would be surprised. For them, it will seem like it’s grown from nothing to something huge.”

Each year, Roy Morgan Research surveys around 12,000 New Zealanders on aspects of Kiwi life.

SPECIAL OFFER! Free Online Audit

Posted September 24 2012 @2:00am by admin

Is your website performing optimally? How healthy is your social media strategy? Does it all work together or is there conflict in your online family? An ICON online audit delivers a free, no-obligation, comprehensive report that will give you an honest online checkup. If we see there are areas for improvement, then let’s talk. Click here to talk to Russell. Offer ends 31 October 2012.

Is your website a waste of space?

Posted September 20 2012 @1:15pm by admin

Imagine for a moment a well written and beautifully designed billboard in the middle of a barren desert. Someone has spent time and effort creating a message that is not reaching the intended audience due to simple lack of traffic. Silly idea really. Yet in an online sense, most websites are guilty of the same sin. If this sounds like you, let’s talk SEO.

Search engines like Google use advanced algorithms and strategies to select and rank websites against keywords to deliver the most applicable results. Understanding and tuning your website to perform well in these organic searches is at the heart of genuine SEO practices.

There is one problem though. Everyone else is fighting for the front of the queue. Who gets there is going to come down to who works the hardest but even then there is no guarantee.

There is no hiding the fact that your site has to be the real deal. It has to offer browsers a genuine, credible and informative solution to their search. The size of the site does play a part here, as does the number of inbound links from referring sites. Subtleties such as the amount of time your website’s URL is registered for are also added into a complex calculation that can’t be easily manipulated by cheap-as-chips SEO bandits who promise you’ll be #1 on the list.

Our advice for customers contemplating a leap into SEO is to invest wisely in a considered, strategic and ongoing approach that will reap benefits long term. One great place to start is a chat with ICON.

50,000 reasons to consider e-newsletters.

Posted September 19 2012 @10:30am by admin

The good folks at GO Rentals are a hard-working bunch: their service is second-to-none, their vehicles are immaculately presented, and they offer incredible value for money. Yet regardless of how good you are, if no one knows, then no one shows. So how do we spread the good word to all those needy souls that need a rental car?

Our bi-monthly e-newsletter for GO Rentals has spearheaded an online blitz over the last two years that has seen GO Rentals’ database grow to over 50,000 well-engaged recipients. Our clever content strategies have ensured unsubscribes have been minimised. Ongoing analysis and improvement has seen us refine the e-newsletter with increasing returns on investment.

We believe email campaigns need to be relevant and interesting. Most of all they need to offer your customers something of value, be-it a discount, added value item, or simply helpful information that will enrich their lives.

Of course we hope our newsletter is enriching your life but to enrich it further, why not give us a call to discuss your own e-newsletter needs. To initiate the launch sequence, click here.

Before and after logos

Posted July 24 2012 @5:37am by admin

Take a stroll down memory lane and see just how far some of these logos have come. Like all forms of business, your brand needs to evolve and move with the times. Imagine your iPhone with the original Apple logo on it. Actually don’t.

Check them out here

A creative rebrand – now bathed in glory.

Posted December 9 2011 @3:40pm by admin

Whilst New Zealand has been entranced with the Rugby World Cup and the 2011 general election, ICON has been busily beavering away in the background producing creative marketing material for Office Angels, a Tauranga based bookkeeping, accountancy, accounting software support and business mentoring company. Our intro-line on most of the material is ‘Halo, we’re Office Angels’. Of course, this is a brand that can only go one way – up.

Christmas cards, business cards, and A4 brochure (which was delivered to hundreds of potential clients and already bringing in many first-time enquiries).

The power of simplicity

Posted December 7 2011 @11:38am by admin

Looking at a rebrand? Or starting a new venture and thinking about logo options? There is nothing stronger than a simple, elegant logo, professionally executed and consistently applied across all your marketing material.

The reason is…well…simple. The lives of your customers are cluttered with so much information and detail. Drive down any main street in any New Zealand city and prepare for an onslaught of colour, catchy phrases, and powerful imagery. Thousands of radio and press advertisements compete for your attention, each one dripping with detail and information – some more so than others.

So it is refreshing to see something uncluttered in the marketplace. A great example I’ve seen recently is the Steinlager campaign billboard. A shot of the classic white can with the words ‘We believed’. Nice.

So when it came time to sign-write our vehicles we decided to take our own advice and use a high-contrast, simple and elegant design. They say less is more. We couldn’t agree more.

Our freshly sign-written VW. Simple and elegant design, high contrast. Easy to see from a mile away. Literally. Many thanks to Shane and the crew at ComputaStyle signs in Tauranga for an amazing job.

Rolling out summer with CCC

Posted September 26 2011 @11:41am by admin

We’re rolling out our summer campaign for Canterbury of New Zealand. Shot in March 2011 in Waihi Beach, this point-of-sale rollout was inspired by the notion of ‘Memories of a summer road trip with friends’.

Our crew consisted of 7 models, 2 photographers, and 7 support crew. A two day schedule allowed us to tick off the planned shots. Here’s a selection of what will be hitting the shop windows over the next few months (plus a few behind-the-scenes shots).

Canterbury of New Zealand summer campaign posters. Bottom right: The whole gang together and Creative Director and Make-up artist hard at work

Does Advertising really work?

Posted September 25 2011 @7:14pm by admin

For anyone who doubts the effectiveness of advertising, let me take you on a ride down New North Road for a few minutes.

Picture this. It was opening night of the Rugby World Cup and I found myself having to drive from my Kingsland Apartment (adjacent to Eden Park) and find my way to Newmarket. The time was 4pm and I had just made a last minute change of plans due to the reported full house at Queens Wharf. Instead of travelling by train to Britomart as intended, I would now drive to Newmarket. This is a hassle in normal peak hour traffic let alone at a significant international event that would see me fighting through the traffic of 60,000 rugby fans.

Yet as I pulled out of my apartment it was apparent that the roads were empty. I had not seen Auckland roads this clear and open before. I found myself in Newmarket inside of ten minutes and enjoyed easy driving on uncongested roads for the rest of the evening.

Not so the trains and buses. An effective advertising campaign had been run by Auckland Council to promote the merits of public transport to sports fans. This campaign was so successful it caused untold headaches for Auckland’s overburdened transport system and at the same time emptied the roads nicely for my wee jaunt.

Some fans, persuaded by the pro-public transport message, found it took up to two hours to get to the game, missing the fantastic opening ceremony in the process.

Now I don’t want to get drawn into the merits of Auckland’s public transport but as an advertiser what stands out for me is the fact that 95% of sports fans were convinced to use public transport in favour of using their own car – a tall order in New Zealand.

I have always believed that your audience will engage with your message if it connects with them and if there is an element of self interest at stake. The best toaster advertisement in the world is not going to convince you to buy a toaster if you’re not in the market. But if you are looking, an opportunity exists to present an option and to promote it above the other options on offer.

People were interested in the announcements around public transport. They listened. They headed. This is a classic case of advertising working too well – and causing headaches as a result.

Go the mighty Vodafone Warriors

Posted September 25 2011 @6:30pm by admin
Shaun Johnson on the run against the Storm
Shaun Johnson on the run against the Storm

We’ve been working closely with the Warriors since 2006 and as a fanatical fan of both teams (the NYC and NRL) we’d like to wish the boys the best for the upcoming Grand Final on October 2nd at ANZ Stadium.

Bring it on home boys.

Fun and games with Icon

Posted July 1 2011 @1:37pm by admin

As the official design agency of the Vodafone Warriors, Icon Advertising regularly host clients at each Warriors home game. So far this year we’ve had a ball. Great action, great food and great company.
If you are keen to join us simply ‘like’ our Facebook page.

‘The Replacements’ hit Fieldays.

Posted June 20 2011 @1:54pm by admin

When Icon Advertising was tasked with bettering our popular ‘Scales’ campaign for our agricultural client Fiber Fresh Feeds’ 2011 campaign it was no small challenge.

Icon had to convey the proposition that rearing new-born calves this season using the Fiber Fresh ‘Freshstart’ programme, would deliver stronger, healthier heifers for introduction to the dairy herd in the future. Whilst there is a mountain of scientific evidence to call on, we wanted to use a simpler, more engaging message.

Fiber Fresh in the main pavilion
Customers mill around the Fiber Fresh Pavilion site.

Being a big year for rugby we came up with ‘The Replacements’ concept – a bench of healthy and strong heifers waiting and ready for the call-up to the main game. We illustrated the animals on a bench straining under the weight. For double page spreads we also illustrated an opposition bench – with inferior replacements of course.

The campaign has been a huge hit with Fiber Fresh staff and customers. Fiber Fresh enjoyed a strong Fieldays presence with two sites and a never-ending stream of customers and prospects calling into enquire about the Freshstart programme and Fiber Fresh products.

Fiber Fresh half page advertisement
Fiber Fresh’s magazine advertising

It will be a challenge to better this one next year but we’ve got some ideas brewing already.

Our Canterbury Baselayer commercial – live to 38,000 fans.

Posted May 8 2011 @3:49pm by admin

When over 38,000 fans packed into Eden Park, Auckland to watch the Vodafone Warriors play the Parramatta Eels for the first game of the Warriors 2011 season, they also witnessed the debut of our on-field promo for Canterbury’s Baselayer brand. Enjoy.

Getting the cart before the horse.

Posted April 29 2011 @3:04pm by admin

It’s always a good idea to let potential customers know you exist. When times are a bit tight it’s even more important to invest in advertising and promotion!

But hold your horses. It’s vital you get your house in order before you roll out the welcome mat. Advertising is vital to success but in-store service must come first.

Imagine walking into a retail store, cash in hand, ready to buy and no-one serves you or even acknowledges your presence. It happened to me last week. As I stepped back out of the shop, cash still firmly in pocket, I wondered about the amount of money that the offending business had spent on advertising and marketing. Whatever it was, it was getting flushed down the loo at the last hurdle.

I’m one of these shoppers that believe the people I deal with are as important as the product or service I am buying. With so much competition in the marketplace, there’s always a friendlier option down the street where I’d rather spend my hard-earned cash. After all, buying is a feel-good experience and there’s nothing ‘feel-good’ about being ignored or suffering poor service.

So here’s the crux of the issue – regardless of how much you spend on advertising, or how good your advertising is, your business still needs to offer a quality customer experience. Think of it this way – one disappointed customer walking out of your shop is word-of-mouth advertising working against you. You lose the original sale, and another ten or so on top. Disgruntled customers are more likely to spread the bad word than happy ones too.

So the answer is simple. Switch that old horse around so he’s in front of the cart. Ensure the experience customers receive lives up to the advertising promise.

For example, if you operate in a retail environment, ensure staff are briefed to engage every customer within one to two minutes of them stepping into the store. Some staff are naturally more affable so you may have to work harder with some people than others.

I also suggest you run a customer survey. Anonymous feedback from customers is invaluable and helps you to understand the view from the other side – often a difficult thing if you’re too close to it. An alternative to this is a mystery shopper scenario – this could be a relative or a neighbour who has been briefed to visit your business, and perhaps a few competitors as well, and report back objectively to you.

Remember that at the end of the day you (and your staff) are the best advertisement you have for your business.

Once you have your house in order, you can confidently swing the doors open and promote yourself to one and all.

Russell Dye runs Icon Advertising Limited, a full service advertising agency with offices in both Auckland and Tauranga.


Creating the Fern – behind the scenes peek.

Posted April 14 2011 @6:10pm by admin


Warriors photoshoot behind-the-scenes
Behind-the-scenes at the photoshoot

When Canterbury of New Zealand wanted to produce an iconic campaign poster to promote the Vodafone Warriors first appearance at Eden Park, they naturally turned to Icon Advertising.

The exciting concept of a line of players in the shape of a fern with the corresponding shadows creating the bottom half of the fern was developed and discussed. Trouble is it would have been impossible to produce such an image in a single shot. Not only would shadows have to fall in unnatural directions around the fern’s tip, the perspective and angles would not have been possible to replicate.

Our solution was to shoot each player individually, clearcut them, and position them on a field (incidentally shot on an entirely different day in a different place). Icon designers would then add the shadows, logos and effects to produce a final piece.

For the photography on the day we turned to Craig Brown, a Hamilton based photographer who had done extensive work with the Chiefs over many seasons. A room was booked at North Harbour Stadium and the shoot was done, player by player over two hours. Each player was photographed a minimum of nine times, arms folded, arms by sides, in different stances and on different angles to the lens.

Back in our studio, each shot was carefully clear-cut, boots were re-coloured, grass was created to sit over the boots, and shadows were generated. All in all, 40 hours of post-production. Final headlines were created, loved, hated, changed, and re-changed. After much blood, sweat and tears, the final version was approved for production.

End result. A fantastic concept – loved by Canterbury of New Zealand, and a great piece of artwork to kick the year off with.

How a hundred dollar logo can cost you thousands.

Posted April 14 2011 @5:39pm by admin

If you’re starting a new business you’ll need a logo and a brand. If your business has been around a while and your branding needs an overhaul you’ll be in the same predicament.

One $100 logo
Is a $100 logo good value?

So do you now head off to an agency and spend two or three thousand on a paint blob? Or do you head on around to your nearest backyard desktop publisher for a whiz bang logo for $100? At first glance it might look like a no-brainer – after all it’s only a logo right?

The perception for many business owners is that the logo is a simple element which can be updated easily at any stage.

The problem is that your logo and brand are viral. Whatever you start with is going to go through a process of duplication and before you know it, your brand will represent a huge investment: stationery, vehicle and building signage, packaging, website, brochure material and much more. If you realise down the track that your brand is off-key it will cost you thousands of dollars to update everything. Do it gradually and you’ll have inconsistent branding in the marketplace leading to confusion.

As an agency it is our advice to get the foundations right. Invest in a brand that will see you through for the long term. Otherwise, pay peanuts – get monkeys.

So why do logos cost so much for such a simple item? For starters, there is substantial cost in the process of simplification. It takes time and expertise to take intended meaning and symbolism and re-work it into a simple, succinct device that answers the brief and the desires of the client.

A second issue is that logos can be very subjective. Producing a professional looking logo doesn’t always guarantee it’s going to get past stage one with a client who ‘just’ doesn’t like it but can’t articulate why. Sometimes the tightest brief can get thrown out the window once the first draft is tabled and it is literally back to the drawing board. As an agency we understand that changing the brief or evolving the design is the client’s prerogative and a natural event in the design process – so relax – you’re allowed to change your mind at this stage.

The third reason a logo can take time (and therefore money) is that a competent designer will need to test your logo in situ, being letterheads, business cards, website and signage. How does it look on a small business card? Does it work in black and white? Does it conflict or compare poorly with competitors’ brands? There are a lot of checks and comparisons that need to be made to ensure your investment is a good one.

Of course logo design does depend on the client. In some unlikely cases a four-hour job may produce a logo that ticks all the right boxes for a small business. In the main though, we suggest you invest decent time in this, the cornerstone of your brand and therefore your business. That way you won’t need to revisit it with a costly makeover down the track.

Our new website is live!

Posted April 12 2011 @10:44am by admin

In the immortal words of Dr Frankenstein: ‘It lives’!

Of course we are permitted the melodrama – we are creatives after all. Seriously though we look forward to your thoughts, critiques, and praises (we like those especially).

The Icon team.