We do can-do

At Image Centre our strength and success comes from our diverse range of creative service providers, all working together to share ideas, experience and knowledge of marketing. This has earned us a reputation as an innovator in multi-channel visual communications.

Under one roof you’ll find a retail advertising agency, a media and content marketing business, a digital communications agency, a digital signage specialist, a video production business and two print companies. Together, we have the right mix of talent for every job. More grunt, less fuss.

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Image Centre offers world-class visual communication. Our brands specialise in digital, video, media, print and more …

News

Image Centre Group acquires DPod

Image Centre Group acquires DPod

Image Centre Group has become New Zealand’s biggest digital printer with the acquisition of creative services business DPod

Image Centre Group acquires DPod

Image Centre Group acquires DPod

Image Centre Group has become New Zealand’s biggest digital printer with the acquisition of creative services business DPod, which was announced today.

Image Centre Group managing director David Atkins said the company has long admired DPod’s business focus and combining resources is a natural fit for both companies’ strategies.

“We are strong in sheet-fed printing, but we can see that for us, the most exciting growth opportunities lie in the digital area,” Atkins said. “There are significant efficiencies in use of machinery and rationalising premises, but the main benefit is the talent we can offer.”

DPod chief executive officer Andrew Nalder said the move makes solid business sense for all parties.

“This is a great example of one plus one equalling three,” Nalder said. “We live in a world of blur, with differing media channels merging into one another. It makes sense for us to consolidate and access the wider offering Image Centre Group has with its family of brands.”

Staff will now number more than 200 in Image Centre Group, which has revenue in excess of $50 million and expertise in the growth markets, such as digital printing, digital signage, large-format printing, new media and retail advertising, multi- channel publishing and video production.

DPod will retain its name, in line with the family of brands operating under the Image Centre Group umbrella.

Love Local

Love Local

Localist’s launch of Love Local magazine.

Love Local

By Vincent Heeringa

Love Local

When Localist announced it was to shut down its print directory and launch an app, it needed a powerful tool to convert readers from print to digital. Naturally it chose the perfect medium: magazines. Tangible Media created Love Local, a local magazine that profiled cafes, restaurants, mechanics, plumbers, florists and many more local suppliers. The ambition was to use local editors and experts to recommend their local specialists. The result: three magazines aimed at North Shore, Central and South/East Auckland. Tangible produced the three editions under massive time pressure and with a tight budget.

The magazine contained links, promotions and incentives to download the app and become an active member of the Localist app.

Cutting through the digital landscape

Cutting through the digital landscape

An event by Ngage Media held at The Cloud on Queen’s Wharf.

Cutting through the digital landscape

By Alan Nicholas

Cutting through the digital landscape

Bringing together existing technologies in a way that creates explosive and penetrating marketing campaigns is where the world is headed - this was the focus of Ngage’s event Cutting Through the Digital Landscape last Thursday.

More than 200 people were drawn to The Cloud on Queen’s Wharf, browsing the latest technology in digital signage on display (including Samsung’s super cool transparent screen) and listening to the panel of industry speakers. Ngage Media has positioned itself as an industry leader in the digital signage market, becoming a portal for the interaction of digital signage, social networking and mobile phones. This combination creates more effective marketing tools - and this integration of technology is allowing a sort of creativity that hasn’t been possible before.

Keynote speaker Sanjay Manandhar, is founder of Boston-based software platform Aerva. Ngage Media has the exclusive license for the New Zealand, Australian and Pacific markets.

Manandhar has so far pulled off some huge campaigns, like Taco Bell’s Doritos Tacos Locos product launch. Recruiting hometown “tweet-offs,” they posted people’s tweets and avatars on a digital billboard promoting the product. That campaign boosted the new item to become the company’s #1 product in just three weeks - an item that sells for only US$1.49. The secret was using the right tool for the right demographics - Twitter - and the key result was people sharing allowing exponential growth.

Manandhar said everything will be connected to everything, digitally, so innovation is key. “You’ve got to keep innovating; if you don’t, you’re dead,” he said. A point that Vodafone’s Jeff Hazell also touched on, saying that very soon, there will be more machines connected to the internet than people. Machine 2 Machine or M2M is one of the fastest growth categories for the telco.

Manandhar believes that looking forward is important, but a big shift can come fast and ruthlessly, and you’ve got to be astute in keeping an eye on what consumers are doing. In stark contrast to a decade ago, consumers are driving change, and end user experience will drive the dollars.

And finally, he said the rules are now different - only the most nimble players will set the stage - he cited Obama’s success in the US presidential campaigns down to his relentless use of social media compared with Romney’s primarily TV-based campaign.

Other speakers included Mike Hutcheson, executive director of the Image Centre Group, Steve Simms, co-founder of Tomizone and Jeff Hazell, business propositions manager at Vodafone, all proclaiming the imminent move of society to a completely mobile world and the necessarily creative advertising opportunities that this will bring.

Co-founder of Tomizone Steve Simms spoke about the smarter ways marketers are interacting with consumers. Vending machines can be interconnected with advertising systems, through display screens offering downloadable content. Airports are using free wi-fi to create personalised ads for users. And in the future, everything will be done in a mobile world.

Jeff Hazell, business propositions manager at Vodafone, said communication is changing beyond recognition. Today’s consumer, ensconced in a mobile world, is more impatient, more informal and more aware of choice. The impact on business is that it has turned it upside down - forget bookstores and CD stores, the new imperative is to go mobile with web-based content.

Ngage’s brand new app, BOXT, was also launched at the event. The app is both a powerful tool for marketers and consumers – location-based technology connects users to the retailers they see around them, in the moment.

About Ngage Media

Ngage Media is a full service digital company that provides turnkey solutions to a wide range of clients across New Zealand and Australia.

Do good work

Do good work

Cancer Society and &some humanise technology to drum up Daffodil Day donations.

Do good work

By Ben Fahy

Do good work

It’s tough out there in charity land at the moment. There are lots of organisations fighting for funding, consumers are still counting their pennies and in EFTPOS-loving New Zealand the cashless society is a very real thing, which means the traditional street appeal doesn’t work quite as well as it once did. So to get around this and drive donations in the lead up to Daffodil Day on 31 August, the Cancer Society and &some have called on the ubiquity of the mobile phone to help smooth the process.

The mobile optimised site, which is part of the Do Good Work campaign and went live at the end of July, facilitates online donations through human interaction, which allows collectors to gather money without having to muck about with cash.

It also counts up totals and enables collectors to accrue ‘promised donations’ through a simple sign-up process (the contact details and promised amounts are entered into the system and then followed up via email).

If you want to get involved and raise some cash for the cause, click here for some options. And, as something of a sweetener, all those who sign up to Do Good Work this Daffodil Day will receive 50 daffodils to give to all their colleagues and mates who donated and helped out.

Take local store marketing seriously

Take local store marketing seriously, even when you are wearing a pink eagle costume.

Take local store marketing seriously

By Juanita Neville-Te Rito

Freshly graduated from university in Brisbane (don’t hold the Aussie thing against me), I was proud to be a part of a team which pioneered world famous local store marketing. World famous in Australia anyway.

Eagle-Boys-Dial-A-Pizza was a very distant number 4 in the Australian market. Our defensible point of difference was that we were cowboys with no money, blessed with a lack of inhibition and a hunger to rule the world.

A challenger brand, Eagle Boys was one of the country’s fastest growing franchise businesses. We were nimble, innovative and favoured guerrilla tactics. The self-appointed gurus of local store marketing, we didn’t allow a shoestring budget to hamper our vision and set about getting to know our local store catchments better than anyone else.

I dressed in a giant pink Eagle suit and waved at the traffic heading home at rush hour. I wobbled my board in electrical storms, hail and blazing sun. I visited local motels and dropped off free “Do not disturb” door hang signs that prominently displayed our phone number and a menu. We gave free pizzas to the local pub an hour before closing time and as the only joint open after 11pm we did a roaring trade til 2am Thursday to Saturday.

Free pizzas were dispatched to the local school’s staff room for occasional Friday lunch. We held pizza drives (like a lamington drive but with pizza). We did party planning guides. We had bite sized samples ready for commuters as trains pulled into suburban stations at the end of a cold day.

We thanked customers by throwing ‘all you can eat ’ annual store birthday events, never forgetting the free balloon for kids.

But it’s time to take a step back because before the promotional activity, we’d laid the foundations by developing catchment maps and compiling all the useful free statistics and information we could. We talked to everyone “in the know.” Local business owners, community groups, the local press, taxi drivers and rubbish collectors (you can find a lot about the community from the last two). Then we tried, tested, failed and had resounding successes. But most of all we learnt from experience. And we never stopped. We lived local store marketing.

Eagle Boys gave me my first taste of successful local store marketing, the engine that propelled the company’s success. In the twenty years since, I have been involved with some of NZ and Australia’s largest retailers and experienced first -hand the damage to market share that challenger brands and smaller competitors can inflict with smart local store marketing. ‘Local’ is the golden nugget which guarantees you have superior understanding of your shopper. It keeps you fresh, relevant and engaged at the right level.

The well worn analogy of the Chinese bamboo tree springs to mind. Used in numerous contexts from raising children to developing a business, it also works for retail local store marketing.

Do you know what happens after you plant the seed of a Chinese bamboo tree? Nothing.

Absolutely nothing. Not in week two or after 20 weeks or even at the end of year two. If you didn’t know anything about the tree’s life cycle it is likely you would give up on it and move on. You’d probably conclude you had bad seeds or the soil was poor or you planted it in the wrong place when in fact, out of sight, a HUGE root system was growing underground. Year after year, the foundations were being laid. After five years the massive tree is exposed and grows rapidly to over twenty five metres tall!

The early stages of Local Store Marketing programmes work in the same way. You begin by reaching out into your local community. You meet people along the way, good people. These people get to know you, like you and trust you. At the end of the second month your enthusiasm and expectations are high. You sit back and prepare for an early windfall from your activities. What happens? Very little. Is a picture emerging?

Developing an ongoing LSM programme will strengthen your business by building traffic and sales for the future. Every connection, every phone call, every LSM coupon will come back to reward you many times over. Keep going. Success won’t be instant, but it won’t take 5 years!

Sure fire ideas Know your shoppers. Build a database – there is power in knowing your shopper (current, prospective and lapsed) and gleaning insights to make your offer more compelling and relevant. Nowadays tools such as Survey Monkey mean you collate insights in a professional looking manner. I’m baffled when my local gym sends emails asking about my class preferences and seeking verbatim feedback. Why not send a simple online survey and have the analysis completed at the touch of a button? www.surveymonkey.com

Talk to your shoppers. The power is in transforming what you know about your shopper (current, prospective and lapsed) and having a relevant dialogue with them. Exclusive offers, previews, new news. It’s easy to spark up communication but remember to keep it relevant and customer focused. Tools such as www.mailchimp.com make communicating simple and cost effective.

Recognise shoppers. Reward loyal behaviour. Good ideas can fail because of poorly thought through execution. Adopt the shopper’s point of view. Do I want this person for a quick sales fix or as a life long advocate? Weigh up the emotional response a $5 gift voucher to use against anything in the store would give you against $5 off when you spend $50. Authentic, real reward and recognition will be paid back many times over, especially through positive word of mouth. Surprise and delights don’t have to be grand gestures, just something to say, “Thanks. We think you are special.”

Social media. A wonderful opportunity for two way dialogue but many, many retailers don’t get the opportunity it presents. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, the list is long. But this requires a full article.

Driving destiny

Driving destiny

Don’t be fazed by a negative economy. Take control.

Driving destiny

By Juanita Neville-Te Rito

Driving destiny

You must have heard the tale of the roadside hot dog seller? Hot dog guy was illiterate, so he couldn’t read the newspaper. He was hard of hearing, so he didn’t listen to the radio. His eyesight was poor, so he wasn’t one for TV or internet. But while he was unaware (blissfully, it turns out) of current affairs and global news, he knew how to sell a hotdog.

He offered attractive specials. His sales and profits went up. He ordered more raw material and buns and sold more. He recruited staff to help serve customers. He branched out into home deliveries. Eventually he got himself a bigger hot dog stall.

His son, who had recently graduated from university, visited his father. And unwittingly changed the path of destiny. The son asked, ‘Dad, aren’t you aware of the terrible recession we are experiencing? There seems to be no end to it’ The father replied, ‘No, but tell me about it.’ The son said, ‘The international situation is terrible. The domestic situation is even worse. We should prepare for continuing bad times.’

The father paused. Since his son was a graduate who read the papers, listened to radio and spent hours in front of a screen, he probably knew best. So the next day, the father cut down the raw material orders, took down the signboard, removed the specials and had a little less sales spark. He cut staff. Soon, fewer and fewer people stopped at his hotdog stand. Sales dropped rapidly. The father acknowledged, ‘Son, you were right. We’re in the middle of a recession and we’ve hit crisis point.’

It’s a simple tale. Too often we contribute to our difficulties through short-sightedness or negative beliefs. This is all too evident in the retail sector where we create hurdles for the shopper.

So to ensure you are not putting obstacles in the way of shoppers on the path to purchase (or tripping yourself in the process); here are 4 tips for driving your retail destiny in the right direction.

Get back to basics. All the money you invest in marketing and advertising is wasted if your customer gets to the lease line and has a lacklustre experience. Get the basics right. The right stock, in the right place at the right time. Even the big guys find this a challenge. How many times have you been to The Warehouse only to find an empty shelf, or not be able to find the right shelf?

Stand at the entrance to your store. Is it clean, tidy, uncluttered, and easy to navigate? Is the signage up to date and clear? Walk your store several times a day based on the rhythms of your shopper. At Woolworths we had a set routine of the 7/11/4 walk to ensure we were always on show and ready for business. A simple exercise which meant gaps were identified (you can’t sell fresh air), selling opportunities optimised (you always need fresh bread rolls with a hot chook) and new sales uncovered (clip strips of tennis balls, because you always need tennis balls?).

Have a plan. It’s not rocket science. What is your plan to engage with your shopper? Are there seasonal opportunities you can leverage? What is your plan for new news to drive repeat visitation? You need momentum to create momentum. I recently spoke with a retailer who had decided not to spend any marketing dollars as they were not sure what was working. But doing nothing was more damaging to the business.

Know who your key customer segments are and talk to them. Don’t be all things to all people. Having a plan doesn’t stop you from taking advantage of tactical opportunities but it will help you be mindful about what you do, or don’t do.

Clear the barriers to buying. You know those stores, the ones with stands clustered at the front of the store, shielding the entrance from potential shoppers and camouflaging the counter? Even if shoppers do come in they have no idea where to go or what to do. How about the stores which advertise a promotion but when you get there you can’t find it or it’s out of stock?

If you want to sell more allow your shoppers to touch, feel, taste, smell. For the high ticket items, offer different payment options. Have you noticed lay-by is making a huge comeback since the GFC. Offer complementary products and co-locate solutions. Doubtless you will face some operational challenges but a lack of sales is a far greater challenge.

Always look through the lens of your shopper – WIIFM? Great retailing is about great storytelling. Create WOW moments, be they monumental or tiny, to connect with the shopper emotionally. Rather than selling a bed at 20% off, take the shopper on the journey of a great night’s sleep. Look through the lens of your shopper and ask ‘What problem will this purchase solve for me? What’s in it for me?’

Whether you are a big box retailer or a small specialty store you are the master of your own destiny. Learn from the tale of the hot dog seller and make sure you drive a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.

In summary: 4 quick tips to supercharge your retail marketing efforts: 1. Get back to basics 2. Have a plan 3. Clear the barriers to buying 4. Constantly assess the shoppers WIIFM

Juanita Neville-Te Rito is a retail enthusiast, commentator, avid shopper and CEO of Hotfoot, one of NZ’s only specialist retail communications advertising agencies. www.hotfoot.co.nz

Marketing content

Marketing content

If it wasn’t so damn frustrating it would be amusing to observe the hype and excitement around “content marketing” at present.

Marketing content

By John Baker

Marketing content

If it wasn’t so damn frustrating it would be amusing to observe the hype and excitement around “content marketing” at present. The hypothesis is that wrapping an advertising message into an authentic and engaging content proposition will create greater connectivity with specific target audiences and consumer action as a result. This exact process is what has underpinned the success of magazines in the past, in the present and most certainly in the future.

In addition and as Marc Brownstein blogged this month on the Advertising Age web site “there is a perception and reality in our industry that needs to be cleared up. Most agencies and clients are unfairly bundling magazines with newspaper in the print category and as a result, magazines are having a difficult time selling advertising. This is at a time when readership is actually increasing”.

While Marc was commenting on the US market, the same can also be said for NZ with the latest Nielsen CMI data telling us that 96% of Kiwis have read a magazine in the last 12 months and two thirds of the population are categorised as either heavy or moderate magazine readers. Single issue readership across all magazines has increased 1.6% year on year, with the majority of titles showing individual readership gains.

So what’s going on? There is wide spread acceptance of the role of quality “content” in creating deeper audience engagement and magazines delivering audience growth. You would think marketers and agencies would be flocking to magazines, but no. As Brownstein goes on to say “there is an irrational move away from any form of traditional media, big mistake in my opinion”.

There is no question that there is a compelling case for the use of digital media in all its manifestations as an integrated part of almost any campaign. It may seem ironic to some that it is the “traditional” media companies that are progressively taking control of this space as the value of “content” to drive engagement becomes obvious. The challenge that many of the digital players have had in the past is shallowness of experience and in an attempt to combat this they have traditionally begged, borrowed and stolen content from those of us that invest in editorial teams and originality. Those days are largely over.

Also from Advertising Age but this time from Felix Salmon of Reuters “It’s a known fact in advertising circles that only idiots click on ads – and yet advertisers still think that click-through rates mean something, and that a higher click-through rate means a better ad. It’s the measurement fallacy; People tend to think that what they can measure is what they want, just because they can measure it. And it’s endemic in the online advertising industry.”

It is this very issue that drove the industry through the PMIRRG to deliver better qualitative metrics through the new Nielsen CMI product. At a time when accountability is more crucial than ever, the methodology for measuring audience engagement is not even close to a level playing field with magazines delivering advertising decision makers deeper and richer insights than any other media and the data on magazines supports what we have always intuitively understood. Magazines have long been recognised as the most effective media in creating the inspiration to purchase and now we have proof that magazine brands aggressively drive consumer action. 59% of New Zealanders 15+ that have read a magazine in the last week have actually bought advertised products, 62% have visited a website as a result of reading magazines and 58% have spoken to someone about an advertisement they seen featured in a magazine.

Magazines are developing rapidly into brands that wrap multi-platform content propositions around clearly defined audience groups and while there is no question of the opportunities that digital, tablet and mobile presents to advertisers and publishers it is also irrational to abandon traditional media, particularly magazines, at a time when all the credible evidence suggests otherwise.

Source - Nielsen CMI (April 11– Mar 12)

Image Centre offers world-class visual communication. Our brands specialise in digital, video, media, print and more …



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