The first Monthly Marketing Meet-up of 2024 was hosted by the Marketing Association’s For-Purpose Special Interest Group on February 27 in Auckland and live-streamed to me and a small group of marketers in Christchurch.

This evening was focused on hearing the strategy behind the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges’ winning streak at the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards. Showing us how a passionate team with strong partners and limited resources can achieve success. The MC for the evening was Annabel Lush, Business Manager, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand and Co-Chair of the For Purpose SIG who questioned our panellists on what made these campaigns take home gold.

Telling a story with ‘soul’ – What makes an entry award-worthy

Michael Friedberg, CEO of Swaytech and convenor of judges for the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards got us started for the evening with an emphasis on the significance the awards play in both elevating the status of marketing professionals and celebrating their achievements.

Friedberg stressed the importance of storytelling in entries, when answering each question focus on the hero points you want to convey to tell that story while focusing not just on creativity but on tangible business results. His buzz word of the night was “soul”, conveying an energy and passion that will captivate judges, with a balanced emphasis between results and emotional engagement.

He highlighted the Blind Low Vision NZ’s entry in the post-Christchurch earthquake environment as example of an entry that stood out above the rest through the effective use of data, segmentation and a strong plan. Proving that successful impactful campaigns don't always require substantial budgets.

His other key takeaway was simple at heart but often overlooked, be prepared. Answer the questions, don’t rush and make sure that others proof your work.

How winning the Awards has helped reach new audiences and lifted donations

Susan Barker, Fundraising, Marketing, and Communications Manager of the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, shared insights into the organisation's journey and impact that lead them to multiple successes at the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.

Women’s Refuge sought to reshape their narrative after research showed that distressing content was often overlooked by donors. Partnering with EightyOne, the brief was to craft a campaign that was uplifting and avoided direct depictions of the women they assist – tough ask for a charity that focuses on such serious social issues.

Susan talked through the benefits of their participation in the awards, including how it served as a platform to reach new audiences, attracting increased funding from corporate partners and giving their CEO the trust to allow innovation to flourish through subsequent campaigns.

Over the past 5-6 years, their brand evolution has not only boosted fundraising but also garnered legitimacy and professional recognition, empowering their internal teams. It has also meant that they can continue to strengthen education around the complex and nuanced issues around family violence.

Building on past successes while continuing to innovate

Matt West, Managing Director of EightyOne, detailed the transformative journey of Women’s Refuge, emphasising the need to shift perceptions and inject positivity and energy into the brand. The focus for elevating the brand was to create a platform where the public would consider donating and build momentum.

Participating in marketing awards became a proof point in this momentum-building process, showcasing their dedication to marketing and fundraising excellence.

When crafting the application, West stressed the importance of concise storytelling, clear objectives, and results benchmarking against peers in the charity category. He highlighted the careful selection of meaningful data that helped with storytelling and the pitfalls of giving too much information.

A common theme throughout the evening linked to the continued success of Women’s Refuge was continuous innovation. Ensuring you are building upon the past successes while still maintaining core concepts. West talked through how every campaign leveraged the previous one, not reinventing it but utilising solid fundamentals.

It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to join in via live-stream to hear from such a great panel – and I look forward to doing so again at the rest of the year’s Monthly Marketing Meetups now that they are being live-streamed around the country.

Source: Rowan Worner, Marketing Manager, New Zealand Red Cross