The Marketing Association held its first-ever Brainy Breakfast event in Wellington on 25 May 2022 at which the attendees enjoyed two keynote presentations from Z Energy and Animals Like Us.

Four brand lessons from the first Wellington Brainy Breakfast

It was a privilege to be able to have Rob Achten and Lauren Honeycombe from Animals Like Us, and Debbie Byrom from Z Energy speak about all things brand at the Brainy Breakfast session in Wellington. It was even better, that it was possible to hold this event in person.

If you weren’t able to make the event, here are some key insights from our guest speakers.

1. Look at the current market environment to identify how to be different

A visit to “probably the healthiest café” in New York inspired Rob Achten to ask: if there is a demand for health foods for people, is there a market for natural food for our pets? What if pet food had good quality ingredients in it, from places we trust? This sparked a look at what exists in the pet food market (stodgy looking food in traditional packaging), and the eventual birth of planet and pet friendly pet food brand Animals Like Us.

But what about if you’re an established brand?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, now is not a great time to be in the market of selling petrol. We’ve got more people working from home, increased public concern about climate change, and record numbers of people purchasing electric vehicles in New Zealand. Add in a large and established competitor set, the recent sale to Ampol, and a recent focus on short-term marketing campaigns. Things weren’t looking good for the future trajectory of Z Energy’s brand. But how could they re-position and re-establish themselves?

2. Do the basics, and make them brilliant

In sharing the stories of developing or revitalising their brands, our speakers emphasised the importance of getting the basics right: understand your market segments, be deliberate with who you are targeting, know your category and have a clear position, compete in the right places, balance the long and short and ultimately, listen to the customer.

3. What people say isn’t always what they do (test and learn)

Cue the campaign! For Animals Like Us there was a lot of testing and learning which highlighted that the first ideas they came up with weren’t always the best and what customers say is important and feel is important aren’t always the same. Lauren shared the example of the ‘Cat campaign’ run, which started with cats as tigers but ended with cats as judges.

4. Make the brand work harder

Z Energy has a well-known and distinct brand in New Zealand: most people would be able to tell you who they are and what they do if they saw the logo and orange colour. But was the brand working hard enough for Z, given the challenges it is currently facing?

Debbie and the team created a new campaign to firmly position Z Energy as a brand for the future, and used existing brand elements (logo, colours and tagline) more consistently across the brand and product focused formats. As you may have seen on television, the campaign involves a story about people across New Zealand, shifting perception from Z as a petrol provider / convenience store, to whatever it needs to be to support Aotearoa in. The story, brand elements and unique music have been combined effectively to create a platform that reflects the Z Energy brand now, and the future.

Thanks again to our guest speakers for sharing their story.

Written by Alex Gossage, member of our MA Central Committee