Movings/Shakings: 6 July

Skinny welcomes a new Paul, Jo Hartley trades OMD for Carat, Studio Alexander appoints a general manager, Acumen Republic ups its events firepower, Volkswagen goes human hunting, and iStart and Software Shortlist embrace the pay-per-lead model. 

On the Skinny 

Skinny has announced the appointment of Paul Taylor to the role of chief Skinny officer, replacing Paul O’Shannessey, who departed his role with the youth-focused Telecom sub-brand recently. 

Taylor has 16 years telecommunications experience, ten of those within mobile, and he has most recently been with Telecom leading mobile marketing.

Before joining Telecom, Taylor worked for 13 years in the UK for a number of leading telcos, including British Telecom, Virgin Media and was a head of marketing at O2, widely considered to be one of the world’s most successful mobile operators.

In 2008 he was awarded ‘O2 Leader of the Year’ from 12,000 staff. During his time there he was responsible for a number of iconic propositions that went on to define the O2 brand such as O2 Simplicity, Priority and Treats, and also worked on the launch of the iPhone to the UK.

“We’re delighted Paul has moved into this pivotal role to continue building the successful Skinny brand within New Zealand,” says lan Gourdie, Telecom’s executive responsible for Skinny. “Paul has a proven mobile track record both here and abroad and understands how the market operates and where opportunities for growth lie. We are confident he will do a great job in continuing Skinny’s success.”

That success is yet to be quantified with customer numbers, but according to information provided to us for a story about Skinny’s advocacy first, awareness next strategy, its “daily sales have quadrupled in the last month and this is accelerating.”

Taylor grew up in New Zealand and graduated from the University of Waikato with a masters degree in marketing and international management. 

Good Trade

In an effort to better compete with the big boys in the local market, Carat has appointed Jo Hartley to the newly created position of trading manager, where she will oversee the agency’s New Zealand trading function.

“I’m incredibly excited about the creation of this new position and the appointment of Jo,” says Carat’s managing director Robert Harvey. “This role shows how seriously we treat the trading function in the agency and our ambitions for Carat in the New Zealand market. Jo is best in class in this area and will bring great experience and insight to our trading capability.”

Hartley joins Carat from OMD, where she held the position of TV trading manager. She has held senior trading roles with OMD since 2007 and prior to that with Starcom.

“Carat leads the way as an independent media specialist worldwide as part of the Aegis Media group and holds a significant position in the New Zealand market place,” she says. “I’m looking forward to bringing my focus on innovative, effective and efficient investment strategy to the agency. In my time in the industry, I have seen many changes and I love the dynamic fast-paced nature of our market, particularly the ongoing integration of digital with other traditional media platforms. This integrated and dynamic approach is what Carat has become known for in the New Zealand market and I am delighted to be joining Rob and the team.”

Hartley will work closely with the entire Carat NZ team, along the other Aegis Media businesses Catch! Media, Haystac, Apollo and Synergy in New Zealand. 

Studio time

Hebblethwaite trained as an architect in the United Kingdom and prior to coming to New Zealand was creative director and project director of Europe’s leading specialist exhibition design consultancy. He worked on projects throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America and led multiple complex design projects with budgets in excess of £10 million.He joins from Auckland Museum where he was artistic director, most recently leading the master plan for the redevelopment of Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum on Auckland’s Waterfront. He also consults to the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney) and a number of other museums.Studio Alexander has appointed David Hebblethwaite to the new position of general manager.

He says he was attracted to Studio Alexander by its reputation for delivering award-winning work for some of New Zealand’s most successful companies, from Fletcher Building to personal brewery manufacturer, Williams Warn.

“David brings to Studio Alexander extensive international experience in design and project management,” managing director Kate Alexander says. “Our clients are looking for strong design thinking to help deliver sustainable growth, and David brings a unique perspective to that conversation.”

Maxwell smart

Acumen Republic continues to strengthen its senior leadership team with the appointment of Petrina Maxwell as head of the agency’s events practice.

She joins Acumen Republic with more than 15 years of experience in the events and advertising industries. Formerly director of her own events consultancy, Agent 86, Maxwell has an extensive background in the business of events and has previously worked for Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey Advertising, Publicis Mojo and Drum Exposure Marketing.Acumen Republic has strengthened its senior leadership team with the appointment of Petrina Maxwell as head of the agency’s events practice.

She brings a broad base of skills to the role, ranging from concept development to execution of major sporting and corporate events to awards, media engagement and consumer activations, and will lead Acumen Republic’s events team (previously known as Dazzle Events), overseeing client relationships including Registered Master Builders, New Zealand Winegrowers, Telecom, New Zealand Post and NZ Olympic Committee. 

“Acumen Republic Events is known for delivering excellent work and has many longstanding relationships, so I’m excited to be leading this strong brand,” she says. “In my role, I’m particularly looking forward to developing the creative side of the events business.”

Acumen Republic, which has been operating for over 30 years in the New Zealand market and two years in Australia, works with the likes of Audi, Cadbury, Fonterra Brands, Hewlett-Packard, Inghams, MasterCard, Progressives and Reckitt-Benckiser.

Volkswagen goes human hunting

Volkswagen New Zealand has announced a new staff recruitment drive following consistent year on year growth in the New Zealand automotive sector.

“It’s important for the brand that we bring on board the very best talent during this growth phase,” says Volkswagen New Zealand’s general manager, Tom Ruddenklau. “We already have fantastic product and we now want the best sales and service organisation in New Zealand to match the product.”

The key appointments Ruddenklau intends to make include a national sales manager for commercial vehicles, which have posted an impressive 19 percent growth in sales YTD, defying recent market decline. Supporting this role will be a business sales specialist, who will target the very important SME market, which “represents a serious opportunity for Volkswagen”.

A specialised dealer development manager is also needed to focus on broadening the representation of the Volkswagen dealer network, while increasing the sophistication of the retail experience, and a product specialist role will also be established to enable the product team to continue to bring to New Zealand compelling and competitive product.

“Product positioning, specification and price are at the core of our growth strategy,” says Ruddenklau.

Both the marketing co-ordinator and office assistant roles are also in the final stages of appointment this week.

“Our business is pretty simple; it’s about good product and really good people and our new recruits will be rewarded by a unique opportunity to work with an iconic global brand and help deliver serious growth in New Zealand.”

Merger she wrote

Business technology publisher iStart and demand generation firm Software Shortlist have announced their merger to create an integrated platform for technology marketers in the region.

The resulting business aims to provide an end-to-end marketing solution for vendors to create awareness, generate demand and connect them with relevant, qualified buyers.

“In returning to this region [from global IT marketing roles in Europe]the focus is to really get the lead machine going – budgets are tight, expectations are high and we need to prove ROI,” says Jessica Fardin, APAC senior marketing manager for Epicor. “This model allows us to do that. We had relationships in place with both businesses, so a merged entity makes good sense from our perspective and we look forward to sharing in their success.”

Both brands will be retained in the merger, with Software Shortlist founders Xavier Russo and Craig Westcott joining Hayden McCall and Ian Plater as directors on the iStart board.

Together, iStart and Software Shortlist engage a targeted audience of over 40,000 A/NZ business and IT decision makers every week via three websites, a print magazine, email newsletters, and various client campaigns, and iStart chairman Ian Plater says the merger reflects the vital role of online research in the discovery, selection and purchase of enterprise software.

“We recognised this as a natural strategic fit. Buyers are too often postponing the decision for a new system or ending up with solutions that do not fit their business because the selection process is too difficult or overwhelming,” he says. “The combined offering can open the eyes of decision makers to what new technology can do, and nurture their interest right through to introducing them to vendors who have proven they can deliver on their requirements. 

“Vendors are also looking for partners who can understand their needs and provide a service-based offering that provides a return on their precious marketing investment.”

The trend globally is towards online lead generation as vendors engage third parties to help deliver qualified sales-ready leads. Online lead generation is a well-established element of the marketing mix in North America and Europe, but is still an emerging business model in Australia & New Zealand.

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