Often, we only see the end results – a well-known brand with a product we love. But, what goes on behind the scenes? How did they get to this point?

We found out at the recent Marketing Association Brainy Breakfast.

Bringing a new brand to life

Greig Brebner, Design Director for BLUNT Umbrellas, explained that over the years umbrellas haven’t really evolved. They don't offer a great experience and break easily. He realised that all the effort had been put into making them cheaper, rather than better. The umbrella was ripe for re-invention. It offered a great challenge, had plenty of room for improvement, and had great market potential.

For the product to take off Greig knew he needed a clear vision of what success looked like and high standards. He needed to make sure it would offer a better user experience and improved on the design and quality of what was currently available.

Once he had nailed down the design and manufacturing process, he needed to get the go-to-market strategy right. By taking a ‘village strategy’ approach and using word of mouth to create a community of users in one spot, they got more and more people talking and built up their brand equity.

Highlighting that is was a New Zealand brand also helped when selling to distributors. New Zealand is seen as a producer of high-quality products, so they used this to their advantage when promoting the product to retailers.

To further the exposure for the BLUNT brand he collaborated with artists like Karen Walker to create limited edition runs of a desirable designer product, and share the BLUNT brand with a new audience. Now, BLUNT Umbrellas aren’t just an item to keep you dry in the rain, but a highly desirable fashion accessory in their own right.

Using sponsorships to build brand equity

Like collaborations, sponsorships are a great way to increase brand awareness and build brand equity. By associating with a well-known, well-respected brand, the value that a sponsorship agreement brings to your brand can be phenomenal.

Oliver Sealy, Head of Strategy and Innovation, Augusto, shared how AIG and Adidas were leveraging their sponsorship of the All Blacks to build their own brand equity.

AIG, an American financial company, may not seem the most natural company to sponsor a New Zealand rugby team. But, with a key objective to improve their internal culture and company values post-GFC, a partnership with an iconic sports team was just what they needed.

Rugby is also one of the fastest-growing sports in the US. By sponsoring the All Blacks, AIG is able to establish themselves as the organisation that is helping rugby grow in the US, and use branded events and VIP hosting opportunities to continue to build their own brand equity.

A more logical sponsorship arrangement is between Adidas and the All Blacks. As a premium sports brand, it's good for Adidas to be associated with a premium sports team.

While brand awareness, brand loyalty and sales are key objectives for Adidas, they also use the sponsorship as an opportunity to develop content. They then use this content in their own marketing activities to promote their products while banking on the well-known and respected All Blacks brand.

Growth through rebranding

Finally, while the helloworld Travel brand has only been around for three years, they’ve already managed to become New Zealand’s most loved travel brand.

But, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

Helloworld Travel was born out of the merging of two competing travel brands and they had to launch this new brand into an incredibly competitive market.

And, as David Libeau, General Manager – Marketing, helloworld Travel said: "Building a brand is so much more than a new logo and colour palette. It required a complete cultural transformation throughout the business, a key differentiator in the market, and a way to bring all their franchisees together."

So, how did they achieve this?

Winning the hearts and minds of franchisees

They understood the importance of their people and empowered their franchisees to run the marketing for their own local area, providing brand assets and education to develop a cohesive culture.

Being smart with their spend

They wanted to build an emotional connection and saw music as the key to achieving this. So this was where the majority of their budget went. They then used a heavily tactical strategy by negotiating travel deals with partners like Air New Zealand that added value to the customer.

Differentiation through emotion

A key internal objective was to make their customer say ‘WTF’. Helloworld Travel took rational properties, like product benefits, and turned them emotional. A conventional sales promotion turned into a ‘WTF’ moment by offering flight prices that seemed too good to be true having negotiated incredibly competitive deals with partner airlines.

Through the combination of these three elements, helloworld Travel was able to build a brand and company that valued people, and deliver experiences customer couldn’t get elsewhere.

The Brainy Breakfast Poll

The recently released 2019 Mood of Marketing report showed that brand equity has become one of the key ways growing organisations in New Zealand measure success. For our Brainy Breakfast poll, we wanted to know how the Brainy Breakfast audience measured marketing success in their organisation to see how they compared.


The results were:

For Brainy Breakfast attendees, revenue and profit growth are still one of their key KPIs at 40%, with brand awareness, engagement or brand equity coming close behind at 35%.

We followed this question up by asking which New Zealand brand attendees thought had good brand equity. No surprises, Air New Zealand blitzed the field, with Whittaker’s coming a close second.

Why? Their commitment to customer, a strong and genuine New Zealand connection, and high-quality products.

It’s also interesting to note that both Whittaker’s and Air New Zealand, like the brands that presented at the Brainy Breakfast, often collaborate with other well-known brands and celebrities. Using another brand's success and equity thereby seems an effective strategy when building your own.