It's not unusual to see marcomms work for the New Zealand market that's been done by our dear Australian friends. But Auckland independent Lassoo Media and PR has been reversing that trend recently and is carrying out trans-Tasman work for clients like Cavalier Bremworth, Trilogy and, most recently, The Comfort Group, which owns Sleepyhead and Sleepmaker, amongst other brands.
Lassoo, which offers "media strategy and buying including consumer insights, corporate and consumer PR and digital expertise spanning social media management, email marketing management and search engine marketing", has been representing Sleepyhead in New Zealand since 2010. But The Comfort Group chief executive Chris Taylor says the partnership in both markets enables it to retain knowledge and key learnings as well as ensure best optimisation for campaigns in both Australia and New Zealand.
"Content marketing strategies, coupled with strong media buying and tactical campaigns that really dial up social engagement, have had a strong impact with the Sleepyhead brand and implementing this multi-layered approach with Sleepmaker will provide the building blocks we need," he says.
Lassoo has represented Cavalier Bremworth in both markets for the past five years. And, reversing the usual sequence of events, it won the New Zealand Trilogy media account in November last year after being appointed to its Australian media business in July.
"Engaging one agency across both markets is strategically beneficial," says Trilogy’s International communications manager Lisa Wilson. "Partnering with Lassoo ensures campaigns are robust and well-integrated, yet customised to meet the different dynamics of each market,"
While Lassoo co-owner Anna St George says the push into trans-Tasman work wasn't planned and just turned out that way, it makes good sense and she says there is scope for more of the same.
"We have a good understanding of the Australian market and our successful negotiations have achieved highly-competitive results. It makes sense to have one media agency in terms of cost efficiencies and consistent brand positioning. Our knowledge of media in both countries ensures campaigns are developed to get the best cut-through and that activity is complementary on either side of the Tasman."
She says the agency, which started up in 2002, isn't planning on opening an office in Australia any time soon, although it is looking at ways to manage that if its footprint in the market increases.
"At the moment we find we've got enough knowledge and contacts and we visit regularly enough to maintain a really good understanding of the market. It's about great relationships with our reps."
While these are the only clients it is currently working with in both markets, St George says it has a reasonable portfolio of clients in the group and a couple of them are looking at expanding into the Australian market, so she's confident this will stand them in good stead.
At present it is only working on the media side of the business for these clients, but its PR and content creation arm is "growing enormously", it is "always looking to intertwine the different ideas" and there have been a few examples of Kiwi PR agencies successfully doing the 'reverse takeover' and setting up in Australia.
"There's absolutely no reason we can't do PR for them either," she says.
St George says things are ticking along nicely in 2013 and the agency has recently put in a couple of new staff (it now totals 13-14). And, with the recent appointment of Special Group as the creative agency of Red Bull, which Lassoo handles media for, St George is excited about the upcoming opportunities to try and "regionalise the brand in this market".