As we celebrate the beginning of a return to near normal for Aucklanders, it feels OK to say how good it was to join the Wellington marketing community for the Marketing that Matters conference in early August. While still in Level 2 we aren't currently able to get together for these inspiring in-person events, but we can celebrate instead, how fortunate we were to be able to meet in person for this event and the great content from the speakers.

In our Norm Storming workshop during the conference ( you can register for the webinar here) we were able to see first-hand the behaviour change challenges facing brands in 2020. That's why the presentations were so energizing - we saw ample examples of New Zealand organisations that met these challenges with bravery and strong-minded focus.

Keep it Real Online (the porn stars on your doorstep TVC is one of the executions in the campaign) by Department of Internal Affairs and Motion Sickness is a great example of work that was created under lockdown restrictions, driven by a strong creative idea, used humour to talk about the hard stuff, bolstered by clear direction from the client and a genuinely collaborative approach among people who could make binding decisions.

You could apply the same description to Clemenger's work for the government on the COVID-19 information campaign - a masterclass in clarity and focus. They too injected a little humour into a pretty unfunny message, through Taika Waititi entreating us not to buy all the toilet paper.

We also heard from New Zealand Police about their social media campaign - complete with many mentions and pictures of dogs, as you'd expect, but amidst all the oohing and aaahing was a spontaneous round of applause for the modestly delivered fact that a strong relationship with the social media platforms meant that they were able to get the Christchurch shooting video taken down in under seven minutes.

Another act of bravery and risk-taking came from Worksafe - the Be A Safe Guy campaign. Using comedian D'Angelo Martin to convey their message meant letting go of control. Choosing someone who would be able to engage the target audience meant being comfortable with a degree of anarchy and unscripted performance. Worksafe went all in, let go and reaped the reward with an effective campaign. Humour never harmed anyone's cause if it's culturally on code.

Angela Meyer from agency Double Denim grabbed our attention with the shameful way women are depicted in comms and advertising. Everyone knows this is an issue worth doing something about but, in today's difficult times, it's easy for these conversations to fall off the radar. Angela highlighted the risk - one that the wider marketing industry largely ignores - of maintaining the status quo of "default male" in creative teams and leadership roles. Which agencies will take active steps towards truly diverse, representative teams?

Covid-19 has made us all risk-averse while the country is lauded for taking a brave strategy of elimination but more bravery and more risk-taking is what we need to deliver marketing that matters.

To learn more about behaviour change, sign up for TRA's Norm Storming webinar.

Written by Colleen Ryan, Partner, TRA