Spike at the Westpac Business Awards 2016

Posted by | Glenn Edley, Just plain cool, Our Work, Team, Video | No Comments

We’re going to toot our own horn here.

Toot toot.

The lovely folks from the Events Team at the Auckland Chamber of Commerce kindly sent us the video clip of the Spike crew. This was shown during the Westpac Business Awards 2016: West Region (phew) event.

45 seconds of loveliness, folks. Thanks to the ACOC guys for send it our way, very kind of you.

Although Spike didn’t take any trophies home, the mention of little ol’ us in the company of industry heavyweights like McDonald’s and Mitre10 is an honour unto itself.




A few words on brand awareness

Posted by | Opinions and commentary, Social Media | No Comments

DISCLAIMER: gratuitous use of cheesy stock imagery ahead.

I had a meeting with a (very nice) client recently, mostly about the role of Facebook (FB) and other social channels in a modern day business. The client was gaining traction with likes on their page, which is great, but like we all do, they wanted more engagement and activity across the board. After the meeting I got back to my desk and pondered this a little and came up with some ideas.

There probably needs to be some explanation here: I come from a bit of a branding and copywriting background, along with commercial photography and videography, and there’s a bit of ‘big picture’ viewing that I think needs to be adopted when talking about communicating with an audience.

Facebook’s greatest strength is it’s reach. It’s absolutely massive. It’s the third most visited site in history (behind Google and Youtube) and has a scope that was previously unimaginable (see here for some literally awesome stats: https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/) but it’s only one method and one channel contributing to building a brand.

Here are some methods to reach out to a wider audience for your brand. No doubt you’ve heard of these but hopefully this article can demystify some of the buzzwords and help you come up with a clearer strategy.

Boost Facebook posts.

I know, I just mentioned FB not being the be all and end all but even a small budget increases the reach (potential audience) of posts thereby increasing visibility of the business AS A BRAND as your posts show up on people’s pages. Posts can be targeted to age, gender, location, and to include relevant interests (fashion, cars, hummus, penguins, whatever) so people with likes and followings in these interests will see your posts. It’s targeted and quick, with a potentially enormous reach but is often overlooked yet should be fundamental part of a marketing budget, however big or small. Not many platforms offer a direct way of two-way interaction with an audience.


Likes. A shaky metric.

The main power of FB is to be visible on people’s walls to build brand awareness. This only comes with familiarity. In terms of metrics, reach and engagement is a much healthier barometer than likes alone. You need the reach before the likes, and if posts aren’t boosted the only people you’re talking to are fans already – you’re preaching to the choir and it’s like you’ve got the best deals in a room only you know and the people already in the room know about. A boosted post is like opening the door and yelling down the hallway.


Push your posts, get them seen, don’t expect instant miracles as posting on Facebook is a marathon as oppose to a sprint. Sure, sometimes a post might get more traction than usual but the core audience grows through posting consistent and relevant information and engaging your audience (have a look at Seek’s FB page for some examples of top notch interaction).

A regular post might reach 1,500 ppl. Boosting could reach up to 10 times that for a few dollars a month. It may feel like you’re throwing money away because the results might not be immediate but a fundamental tenet of building brand awareness is to be visible. That’s the bottom line.

Google Adwords

I wrote a campaign once for a mechanic in the BOP. He was skeptical about google advertising making a difference and was happy with his ad in the local paper, so we went in with a low budget of $200. He had 9 paying customers from around 40 clicks, with an average spend of $700 per client. And that’s not including repeat service as people tend to be loyal to their mechanics (if they have a positive experience the first time). Another campaign was for a mobile vet in the Waikato who specialised in equine health. With a $500 monthly budget they had around 120 clicks and gained 6 new clients. Those new clients now make a substantial part of their business.

You only pay for clicks on the ad by the way and you set the budget for the month. Clicks cost a different amount based on the competitiveness of the search term and the quality of your homepage (what Google calls a quality score – the higher this score, the less you pay). If your ad is seen 10,000 times but not clicked, you don’t pay, yet you still have the views which – increasing brand awareness as people see your name more and more.

As an aside Adwords campaigns can be very useful seasonally (Christmas, Black Friday) or to promote certain products at certain times (such as promoting Valentine’s Day specials) so for example if you have a retail store with some offers running after Christmas you could use the terms “Boxing day sales” to trigger your ad. A more cerebral use of AdWords can be to take traffic away from the competition meaning that if someone searches for a specific named store you have have your ads appear in their search results. Not exactly fighting clean but it happens every day in business around the world.

Adwords look like this on the search page and organic searches (linked to SEO) are below them. If you’re website isn’t optimised particularly well you can beat the pack with Adwords.


An estimated budget of $200 p/m would be a good start to have your ads appearing. Ads run until the daily budget is depleted. The ad then disappears until the next day, where the budget resets and the cycle renews.

AdWords budget breakdown example:

“The figure you set per month is divided by 29.4 – the average number of days in a month – so $200 will provide around $6.80 of ad budget a day. When an ad is clicked it removes some of this budget (the CPC amount) until it is depleted for the day after which the ad will not display until the following day.

So for example if it costs $1 per click through to your website this means that 6 clicks on the ad will deplete the daily budget. I would always recommend more budget than less but thinking longitudinally one client who clicks through to your site and makes a purchase will more than cover the AdWords budget for an entire year. It is a means unto itself”.

Start small, see how it goes, and give it time to work. You can run differently worded ads at different times and Google will figure out the best ones for you (they want to make money too).

Now I want to talk about Job Advertisements.

Part of my copywriting history includes writing job ads for a huge variety of clients from Governments to DHBs to Psychiatric journals to labourers and gardeners. The fundamental truth behind all of these ads is that the job advert is an extension of the brand. It might be the first experience people have with your brand so make sure it’s consistent with your brand identity in terms of language and style and is appealing with modern day expectations (in the next paragraph!).


The employment sector has transformed over the past few years. People now spend less time in jobs, are more mobile between roles and are on the lookout for the next opportunity (online job searches are highest on Tuesday mornings), there is a big focus on “what’s in it for me?” and job seekers are savvy people. With the advent of the internet being on everyone’s phone they can compare your role, employer brand, identity, and culture in real time with your competitors and gauge how it would benefit them.

With that in mind there are a few things to keep in mind when writing and responding to job seekers.

Opening the job ad with something along the lines of “an exciting opportunity has opened up in our little family!” is generally more enticing than diving straight into the requirements of the position in a bullet pointed list. Obviously this wouldn’t work if you’re advertising for a $300k physician’s position but writing “there’s never been a more exciting time to join our dynamic and progressive organisation” (just made that up, don’t judge) gives you a chance to describe your brand and your culture indirectly, right in the first line. I saw a lot of job ads that were bullet pointed lists of requirements which is a totally one-sided view of the recruitment process, focusing on what you need rather than what you can offer.

Stressed businessman

BY running job ads for longer you’re in a position to build a passive talent pool and harvest CVs for future usage. This needs to be said, that every applicant should be contacted regardless of outcome with a “thank you for applying” and a follow-up “thank you for applying for the xyz position, we’ll be in touch soon”. It’s a friendlier touch and people will be more inclined to apply again in the future or recommend others to apply, as well as being an extension of the brand through direct contact with passive customers. It’s a form of outreach, folks and I know a lot of you are rolling your eyes because this is indeed obvious (sorry if it’s patronising) but I know a lot of people who didn’t hear anything from applications.

And on that note, for a couple of reasons unsuccessful applications should be sent something along the lines of “Although your application was one of the strongest submitted, regretfully on this occasion we will not be progressing with your application but, unless you object, we will keep your information on file for when an opportunity opens up. Thank you on behalf of .” Why? This builds a talent pool and gives you a selection of CVs to call on when your next opportunity opens up, saving you time and money on recruitment. The worst thing is just not saying anything or including something saying you’ll only contact the successful applicants, people are much more connected now and an email is an easy courtesy to extend to someone who took the time to engage with your business. By replying with something friendly, courteous, and responsive you’ll increase the buy-in from a passive audience and extend a positive impression of your business.


Job postings can also be pushed further by asking followers/likers on social channels if they know of anybody suitable among their friends. People like to help their friends and talking about the position would go a long way in increasing the visibility among your friends and ambassadors. Just linking to a Seek or TradeMe job listing doesn’t usually cut it nowadays and if you’re being apathetic about looking for good talent, what can you expect from the readers? Saying something like “hey guys, if you know anyone who would be interested in joining our lovely team please tag them below and we will get in touch, thank you!” goes a long way and doesn’t take long – it’s engaging people on their level, it’s upbeat and positive and takes a few seconds longer than copying and pasting the link anyway. Again it allows building a bigger talent pool, saving future costs and time by having your audience do the legwork by bringing you the talent.

If you’re interested in some great examples of recruitment sites, have a look at these for inspiration and note how they’re clear about the culture, values, benefits, and using video and graphics to really sell the brand:





If your recruitment methods aren’t getting you the top talent or you’re not getting enough applicants, think about shaking up the way you interact with job seekers and remember: it’s an extension of your brand.

Thanks for reading!

Any feedback? Talk to me at moc.qhekipsnull@zet

Until next time!

tez m



Spike has been selected as a finalist for the Westpac Business Awards – West in the Excellence in Marketing category!

Posted by | Just plain cool, Online & Retail, Our Work | No Comments

Spike has been selected as a finalist for the Westpac Business Awards – West in the Excellence in Marketing category!

We were chuffed to be nominated. But to be fair, we were reluctant to enter. We’re not the tooting our own horn types. But, hey! We’re doing it now. Toot! Toot!

The Westpac Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) take place all around the country, in conjunction with local Chambers of Commerce. They give all businesses the opportunity to benchmark their success against other local businesses, including those outside of their own industries.

Thanks to the team for encouraging me to enter and for the hours it took to put our entry in. We made it by the skin of our teeth. Great work! It looks like the ride to the awards is going to be fun and we’re looking forward to being involved.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support if you did read this far. We appreciate it.



5 super creative email Easter egg hunts

Posted by | Design & Build, Email around the web, Just plain cool, Online & Retail, Opinions and commentary | No Comments

It can seem cheesy but there is still something to be said for sending out emails that suit the time of year or whatever holiday is coming up. A lot of big retail companies keep up to date calendars with all the upcoming special dates on it. These dates can be big ones like Easter, Valentine’s & Christmas but they can also be things like International Women’s Day, Star Wars day, Secretaries day…whatever.

This article on the myemma.com blog lists a few times that companies have come up with some truly great Easter egg hunts with incentives for customers. This kind of thing is exactly what companies should be doing around easter time.


The fleeting fame of internet stardom.

Posted by | Case studies, Opinions and commentary, Social Media, Uncategorized | No Comments

Our design guy, Doug, recently had a brush with internet stardom when he made himself in to a St Patrick’s Day meme. The story begins with the fact that Doug plays bass drum in a Scottish Tribal drums and bagpipes group called Clan Celtica. Having been in other bands before, with a fair amount of experience with social media and online band promotion, he took it upon himself to head up social media for the band.

He used a self-taken picture of his own face post-gig in warpaint, and simply wrote a line he uses every year on St Patrick’s Day – “Everyone is a little Irish on St Patrick’s Day. Except the Scottish, we’re still Scottish”. He then posted it on the Clan Celtica Facebook page… Doug had no idea what he had unleashed.

The first post did its job ridiculously well, as you can see by the amount of likes and shares on the image above. The page had 1,100 page follows the morning before the meme was posted and within two days (America is a day behind so their St Patrick’s Day came the day after ours) the page follows had jumped up to a whopping 2,890. Part of the reason the post did so well was due to the fact it was a divisive meme, and caused somewhat heated discussion among people with Scottish and Irish ancestry in the image’s comment thread.

Then the meme started moving away from the original post and wound up on other Scot-related groups and pages on Facebook.

Then it managed to leave Facebook and started showing up on viral image lists like Imgur,

BroBible & 9Gag.

The meme had run its course once St Patrick’s Day was over, but the likes and comments continued to trickle in for days after due to people realising that a friend had tagged them in the comment section of one of the posts. The original post achieved a completely organic 3,708,416 people reached (organic because Facebook rules forbid the boosting of an image with this much text on the image).

Now many questions remain: how many of these new page likes will actually continue to stay active and come out to shows? How many are even in New Zealand..? How does one follow up this kind of viral anomaly? No one can really know, but one thing is certain – social media is a strange beast indeed.


Man vs machine in email marketing… is it worth it?

Posted by | Email around the web, Online & Retail, Opinions and commentary | No Comments

Love this line in Malcolm’s article

“Unfortunately much of the customer engagement software we’re being sold, is driven from the marketer’s point of view, not the customer’s, and leaves cigarette burns all over the punters in its wake.”

Are you thinking about your customers?

Are you?

Or, are you thinking, “This software will solve all my problems and surely no-one ever got fired for signing up with X company?”

Yeah, they did. Because X software might have solved a short-term goal – I need to slash my budgets or my managers like pretty pictures – but unless a trained team are running it, it’s never going to live up to all the hype the salesman said it would.

And then it may fail and you, the marketer, will be worse off than you were before because you’ve lost the compounding wins of doing good email. Compounding is your friend. Small wins – a smile, a share or two, a sale or three (online or instore) will keep your customers on your list and your targets met.

So, we know it’s an education piece for management – we customise all our reporting for each client. We know people like pretty pictures – so we do heatmaps and have built a dashboard (in Beta). But mostly we know it’s about about customer retention and working out how we can personalise your customer’s communications so they talk about you and buy off you. Nothing is new in marketing. Just the jargon. Keep it simple, and stop burning your customers.

Read the full article here.