Sugar & Partners is celebrating its 20th anniversary by opening the doors to its new independent social media consultancy and think tank Social Sugar, and welcoming Xero to its client mix.
Over the last 20 years, the agency's home in Auckland central has been subject to its evolution, with it starting as direct and morphing into a wider strategic creative partner four years ago. Creative partner David Nash calls Social Sugar the next evolution.
He will lead the new entity with support from Zoe Virtue, ex global and social team at Air New Zealand and NZTE. Nash has been a partner of the agency for four years, and at the time of coming on board he wouldn’t have thought it would start up a socially orientated consultancy.
David Nash and Zoe Virtue
He says the new arm is a reflection of the massive shift over the last four years in consumer's habits, the expectation of clients and in the fragmentation of accounts in the wider client community, with many having an individual spend for advice on social media.
At the same time, Nash says social media has become a discipline across all the different facets of businesses, rather than just sitting in the marketing department. This is why Social Sugar has differentiated itself as a consultancy practice rather than an advertising agency.
“We're no longer an advertising agency that does social really well,” he says. “We’ve actually got a social powerhouse hiding within the agency so we wanted to make that available to a wider selection of clients.”
Social Sugar is working with a range of clients who head up sponsorship, corporate communications as well as Xero’s global comms team. Nash says that work will feed into a bit of marketing work.
Xero is the latest client added to a list that includes Hubbards, NZ Rugby, Red Seal and the South Australian Tourism Commission.
As well as its clients, the team has also grown quite considerably in the last two and a half years, from one person in account services and two in production and design to three people in strategy/account management and three all-rounders doing design, photography and filmmaking. Nash say he has also taken on a more general role.
To celebrate the 20 year milestone, Nash says the team has pulled out the archives and been looking at past work but it's all been pretty low-key. "We’re not making too much of a fuss over ourselves, we’ve got plenty to do for our clients,” he says.