MBM’s future thinking takes out top spot at Beacon Awards

Among the luminaries shining bright at the 2023 Beacon Awards, MBM has established itself as a guiding light, triumphing as Agency of the Year along with winning a raft of other awards.

Having won Agency of the Year four times in the last 13 years, evolving and staying ahead is clearly nothing new for MBM.

Despite experiencing a leadership transition in 2022, the agency has successfully navigated any potential obstacles, thanks to the collaboration between the senior leadership team and the group strategy director, who formulated MBM’s vision and positioning.

The judges commended MBM on an impressive performance, citing the agency’s ability to buck the negative trends often associated with leadership changes, while delivering outstanding results, attracting new clients, nurturing long-term relationships, shoring up the agency’s future.

Moreover, the agency achieved notable recognition by earning two silver awards in the Social Marketing/Public Service category for work done with clients Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Auckland Transport. MBM also took home silver in the Best Use of Experiential/Event category for its work on ‘Consider the Odds’ with client T.A.B.

MBM welcomed Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) as a new client at the beginning of last year. Known for its inclination towards creative solutions, the MBM team successfully sustained FENZ’s high profile through the implementation of our distinctive ‘You’re Cooked’ campaign.

The agency was also recognised for its work on ‘Getting Aucklanders On Board’ with Auckland Transport. While Council entities are not usually associated with out-of-the-box thinking, the team managed to devise a clever and unique utilisation of data to drive tangible change. Through this, MBM was able to significantly increase bus ridership on specific routes, a commendable feat considering the challenges posed by climate change and congestion in Auckland.

MBM CEO Lee-Ann Morris attributes the agency’s accomplishment in this category to the team’s unique perspective and their commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of audiences and communities, along with leveraging data-driven approaches that combine human-led insights to shape campaign strategy, execution, and evaluation. 

The agency’s presence in both Wellington and Auckland, where they collaborate with social change organisations, also played a pivotal role in the agency’s success in this category, Morris adds.

Regarding the agency’s work with Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Morris emphasises the capabilities of the agency’s Wellington team, who embody the agency’s wide-ranging expertise.

Meanwhile, the Auckland Council group team remains agile and creative by developing innovative solutions to address urban challenges. 

The process of entering the awards often provide an agency with the chance to reflect on the work it has produced, its strengths, weaknesses and everything in between.

The same goes for MBM, with Morris saying the stand-out theme when submitting these entries was “a great partnership between the agency, client, creative agency, and media supplier”. 

Chief Digital Officer Emily Isle believes that from its early days MBM has been well positioned to deliver “future thinkers” for its clients.

“MBM has stayed ahead of the curve with digital, data and analytics. We have been a Google Marketing Platform reseller for many years and are also certified across Google Cloud and a suite of Martech tools. We know the technology intimately from set-up to implementation.”

Morris agrees, saying: “Most importantly we are never complacent with the service and work we provide to our clients. We know that clients make the choice to work with us every day. We are not just media partners, but intelligent business partners.”

Isle adds: “For several years now we have been actively partnering to understand our clients’ data and marketing maturity journey and then roadmap opportunities to progress the tech and data foundations of their organisation. This includes robust education on changing measurement to respond to digital market shifts, consulting on commerce solutions, and enhancing consumer media experiences with segmentation and dynamic creative strategies. This will continue, supporting our clients toward predictive intelligence models that change behaviour and grow customer lifetime value.”

The agency’s title as Agency of the Year also signifies effective team work and leadership. 

“The famous Peter Drucker quote comes to mind: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’,” says Morris.

“We have two offices (Auckland and Wellington) but have always been one big MBM community. This was important to our Founders Sean and Matt and is still important to me and the full leadership team. We have families of specialists that make up our unique offering but we come together as an MBM community to deliver effective work. We are a values-based agency and our five guiding values are lived and breathed daily.”

Isle says it’s down to having a large breadth of specialists that support the business including technology, data and analytics, the top search team in the AUNZ region, social specialists and brilliant investment leads.

“We collaborate as teams, across offices and with clients. We are known for our ability to work well with media partners and creative agencies, and importantly we join forces with Publicis to ensure we get the best from our company around the globe. We are always listening, learning, embracing change, and taking on new challenges. That’s deep in our values.”

To read more about the outstanding thinking behind the 2023 Beacon Awards winners click here.

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