Our new office space

Voted winner of the 2010 NZIA Interior and Best Gold Awards.

For a number of years we have been looking for the right space, one that would foster creative interaction for our team and clients alike. So when we came across these offices in Victoria Precinct we knew we had found it.

Our bespoke professional offices at Level 1, 30 Drake Street, are a rare gem in the very desirable area tucked in behind the historic brick buildings of Victoria Park Market and overlooking the park.

Inside, the atmosphere and ambience is governed by a Control 4 multimedia system. It provides a fully automated lighting, music and audio-visual system. It is the perfect place to collaborate with clients, develop ideas, craft concepts and develop inventive and lateral thinking. Come see for yourself.

Photography for the local market

When it comes to brand communications, most local businesses are keen to tap into our famous kiwi pride, but doing so through photography isn’t as easy as dialling up iStock and finding a perfect shot.

We often have clients wanting to use a great image they’ve seen, but rarely does the photo fit both the local market and the product being sold. We’ve put together a quick guide on what to look for when sourcing images for your next project.

Stock photography vs. photoshoots

We find that the best option, hands down, is to organise a photoshoot featuring local talent in local settings. The benefits of doing so are numerous, not least of which is the opportunity to build a photo around your product, rather than attempting to make an existing photo suit.

Commissioned photographs are typically more expensive than their stock counterparts but the results speak volumes. There are also ways to ensure that photoshoots are financially viable, such as being organised with a list of shots you require, perhaps enough to cover your marketing plans for the entire year; most photographers charge for their time rather than on a per-shot basis, so it makes sense to get as much done as possible on the day.

For projects with limited budgets, online stock libraries can be an effective and inexpensive option for photography, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of using images that are not situationally or culturally appropriate.

Search local

There are some great local options available for true New Zealand imagery – from mychillybin with its affordable, royalty-free library through to the gorgeous high end shots at Photo New ZealandGetty images have a wealth of stunning kiwi shots and their new royalty free pricing structure is highly competitive, and Canvass rounds out the list with another solid library.

Cultural considerations

New Zealand is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and it’s important to reflect this in your brand’s photography. Avoid the temptation of using a great shot that you’ve found if it only features the cultures of another region of the world – the local market just won’t respond emotionally and you won’t get any cut-through in the marketplace.

Something old, something new

If you don’t have the budget to purchase or commission new photography, your designer can employ a range of post-production tricks to give new life to old or average images. Whilst the age-old saying tells us that you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, techniques such as collages, text cut-outs and (dare we say it) filters can transform an image and bring it in line with modern design trends.

Combining two or more stock images can be a cost-effective way of achieving the look you’re after – the example on the right was created from six individual images.

Ask the experts

At Magnum we know what works and what doesn’t, and how to get the best bang for your imagery buck. Drop us a line if you need help with putting a local spin on your brand communications.

5 tips to get your DM read

There’s a difference between DM and junk mail, and it isn’t just the quality of the paper. So what makes a mailing valuable, and what makes it a candidate for instant recycling? Here are some creative tips to get the most from the medium.

Tip 1: It’s about “you” not “us”

The greatest strength of DM is that it’s a profoundly personal medium. Leaving aside unaddressed flyers, everything that’s directed to your mailbox comes with your name and address on it. This gives you an obvious hint as to the creative possibilities.

So make sure the copy is about “you” i.e. the reader. A good copywriter will write from the perspective of the customer, and the message will be framed in terms of user benefits, not product features.

Tip 2: Be smart with data and printing

This is an extension of Tip 1, because the nature of DM lets you tailor the pitch to the reader. So use the power of digital and laser printing to personalise your message or offer. You can even get clever with photos or graphics that feature the recipient (think of those magazine cover mock-ups with “Sam Sample” as “Man of the Year”).

Tip 3: Give something to get something

Imagine your morning mail contains three plain envelopes and an intriguing little package. Which one gets opened first? Of course, you won’t always have the budget to send a dimensional mailing (though the results can be spectacular when you do), but you can always find a way to reward the prospect. Enclose some useful reading, such as an industry paper to help a technician perform her job. Include an incentive or reward linked to the next step. Free samples work a treat, too!

Tip 4: Plan to stick around

Give someone a tool, or even a novelty that takes up residence in their office, and you’ve achieved far more than most campaigns. Think of your mailing as a silent salesman, with the potential to hang around and remind the prospect that he should be talking to you.

The nature of DM is that you won’t hit all your prospects at the exact time they’re in the market to buy. So maximise your sales downstream by giving them a reason to remember and call you.

Tip 5: Make it easy to respond

It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? The point is that every DM piece should lead to a clear action, so make it simple and easy. A nice big coupon, an irresistible offer with an 0800 number – whatever it takes. Your call-to-action should be crystal clear and your back-end systems should be primed to cope.

Adobe discontinues Flash Player for Mobiles

After years of defending the need for Flash on mobile devices (and several half-baked player iterations later), Adobe have officially announced they’re scrapping Flash Player for the Android and BlackBerry platforms.

What does this mean exactly?

Flash Player currently powers the majority of video content on the internet, along with many websites with deep animation & interaction. In the past two to three years however, the move away from Flash has been making steady gains as the iOS platform (iPhones & iPads) continues its proliferation of the ‘net.

This means that most major content outlets (YouTube and Vimeo included) have already switched on to the fact that Flash is on its way out, in many cases preferring to serve video and interaction via HTML5, an open technology that is supported by every major web browser and every current smartphone – including of course the marketshare-leading iOS platform.

Why have Adobe decided to axe Mobile Flash?

Adobe have long defended their belief that Flash has a place on the mobile web, a stance that the late Steve Jobs disagreed with passionately. From Apple’s 2010 Thoughts on Flash article:

“Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

I can only assume that Adobe’s latest move was inspired in part by Apple’s refusal to allow Flash onto iOS. Adobe make money on every Flash developer license they can sell and a dwindling audience (as iOS gains further traction) would eventually mean dwindling Flash sales. It’s time then for the company to focus its efforts on HTML5 and what it can achieve in this new realm.

What’s instore for the future?

Adobe have already made progress in weaning the mobile web off Flash, updating their server products to include offerings which effortlessly convert Flash video content to HTML5 equivalents on-the-fly. From the looks of it, they’re keen to get a strong foothold on HTML5. From the horse’s mouth:

“These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video.”

Flash as a whole is not going away anytime soon, with version 11 (for PC/Mac) having just been released and version 12 due out in 2012. With 99% browser penetration, it’s clear that there’s still a place for the plugin in the online market.

What about the Mobile Flash players that already exist?

Adobe will continue to support Flash Player for Android and Playbook in the form of bug fixes and security updates, but don’t expect this to last indefinitely and don’t count on any new features.

Choosing the right channel

Some things never change – like the consumer need for transparency, value and performance. But for other things, change is inevitable – such as the channels you can use to keep your brand front-of-mind with customers.

To make it easier for you to jump onto the right bandwagons, here’s the Magnum summary of marketing trends.

To tweet or not to tweet, that’s the question

The idea that you need to Tweet your every business move, blog incessantly and have thousands of fans on Facebook is dead. Social media for business is about meaningful connections with people who are truly loyal to your business. Quality not quantity.

Develop relevant social media connections

Businesses can create relevant social media interactions with channels like YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn. And if you’re in the knowledge business, a regular blog instalment can certainly keep your profile up. Make sure your website home page contains links to your social media activity, so that customers can choose the channel they like the best. Statistics show that companies are shifting budget dollars away from traditional media (print, radio, TV) to digital and social media. We’re living in an online world.

Love your database

Clean and preen your database – that’s where true gold is hidden. Direct mail is stronger than ever, because it’s harder to ignore than an email contact. Pursue opportunities for versioning – DM works better when you send text and images that are targeted to your customer’s interests and needs. The importance of developing an engaging shareable brand increases everyday.

Mobile marketing is all go

Imagine getting a push text message from your local cafe as you stroll past – free muffin with your coffee? Who could resist! Branded mobile apps and mobile marketing apps, like Foursquare, are using geo-targeting to lure the customers in. Local discount websites like Grabone and review sites like Localist make it easy for consumers to find deals and reviews on their phones. Going home to ‘Google it’ has become a thing of the past.

Quirky little QR codes

Weird little square things with squiggles – that’s what QR codes are. But to a phone with a QR code reader, they’re a mine of information. QR codes can be like business cards, loaded with basic info about your business or product. Or they can be used with promotions – details about competitions and how to enter. We did a QR code concept for HP recently: a code was affixed to a Mini car and passers-by could scan the code to enter a competition and win an HP Mini notebook. Cool!

Say it with video

While television advertising continues to decline, moving pictures are very much alive. Hosted on your website or YouTube, videos can demonstrate your product or service, provide training experiences and introduce your people. You can even create video newsletters. Whether you use live footage, animation or a slide-show, videos can revolutionise your communication. Cisco predicts that 80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2015.

Co-marketing to boost returns

The economy is still recovering, which means businesses can benefit from economies of scale by partnering with complementary businesses to develop co-marketing programmes. Promotional partnerships can reduce costs and provide exposure to new audiences.

Can’t be bothered?

Remember, even if you’re not leveraging new marketing trends and opportunities, your competitors are!Contact us to find out more new forms of marketing – us@magnumltd.co.nz

Blogs We Love

We love a good blog.

There is so much quality content on the internet. Here at Magnum we’re constantly ‘wowed’ by the amazing design (fashion, furniture, whatever!) that is all over the web.

Like collectors of fine wines and model toys, individuals are constantly scouring the internet for the best designs from all corners of the globe. Most of these collections are freely and readily accessible.

The idea that the design community becomes stronger by its members feeding off each other is so true. So here are a bunch of design blogs that we have been following lately. Enjoy (if you don’t follow them already).


5 tips for businesses on Facebook

1 – Create your Facebook presence as a Page, not a Person

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do when setting up a Facebook Page for your business. Facebook has two different types of ‘members’ – Profiles/Timelines (for people/individuals) and Pages (for businesses/brands). Profiles should only be used by individuals, whereas Pages should only be used by businesses (of any size).

Creating a Page allows you to use the huge number of features that Facebook has on offer to help you keep in touch with your fans/customers, along with the ability to measure ‘Insights’ to ensure your content is reaching the right people.

Note: As of October 2011, Facebook allows users to convert existing Profiles into Pages (automatically converting Friends into Fans in the process).

2 – Select a Username

Facebook allows each Page to be reached via a short, memorable Username – usually a shortened version of the business or brand’s name. This makes it easy to reference your Facebook Page via other mediums, such as radio ads or print. For example, ours is facebook.com/magnumltd.

Facebook may require your Page to accumulate 25 ‘Likes’ or to exist for a few days before allowing you to choose a Username.

3 – Use Facebook as Page

Once you’ve created your Page, it’s possible to interact with other Pages by switching your current browsing session from your personal Profile to your Page. There’s a link in the top right of the navigation bar, aptly named ‘Use Facebook as Page’. Clicking this will allow you to switch to any of the Pages for which you hold Admin rights, after which you can browse Facebook as your Page.

What does this mean exactly?
For starters, you can now head to other Pages (such as affiliated businesses/suppliers etc.) and Like them. These Likes will show up on your Page, for everyone to see. They can be a great way to build visitor traffic if you can get other Pages to Like yours too.

When you’re using Facebook as your Page, every action that you take will be attributed to your Page rather than your personal Profile. This includes anything that you share or post so it’s the best way to ‘push’ content to your customers/fans.

4 – Utilise Social Plugins

Social Plugins provide an integral link between your website and your Facebook Page.

See the ‘Like’ button at the beginning of this article? That’s linked directly to Facebook, allowing our readers to effortlessly share this content with their Facebook friends. It’s a win-win situation because not only does it make it easy for our readers to share interesting (we hope) content on Facebook, it also helps to drive traffic to our website via those who see the reader’s posting on the reader’s Profile.

Social Plugins are not as easy to set up as other Facebook features, so get in touch with us if you’d like help with this. There are a number of other Social Plugins, such as Comments (which allows users to comment directly on your website, via the Facebook platform).

5 – Reward Your Fans

So you’ve got a steady flow of Fans and your Page is going well. What’s your strategy for retaining these Fans and keeping them engaged?

It’s a great idea to reward your Fans with tangible offers such as ‘10% off your order when you use this Facebook-exclusive code’. This will ensure Fans don’t get ‘Page fatigue’ and will also help in gaining new Fans as the rewards are spread via word-of-mouth on Facebook.