First published in New Zealand Herald 25 June 2015
If you’ve worked on either side, you’ll empathise with both the hapless shmuck doing the pitch and the hapless shmuck being pitched at. It’s a tough gig getting in front of the right people in a large organisation, especially when you’re representing a small business with a quiet voice.
This is one of the first challenges New Zealand companies face when they land in Australia.
That first part – to identify the decision maker – can be fairly uncomplicated. And even step two of getting a little face time with them is challenging, though certainly not impossible.
However step three is where a lot of companies fall over. To get across quickly and clearly how you are different from the glut of competitors, is something many businesses have yet to perfect.
Rupert Deans, CEO of One Fat Sheep is into his second year in Australia, having transplanted part of his Christchurch business here after the earthquake. He realised early that having a point of difference and extreme focus was going to be critical for his company in Australia.
One Fat Sheep specialises in augmented reality. The technology, while still in early adoption stage, has been an Australian door opener and caught the eye of some major international brands.
Australia is more advanced. It’s obviously a larger market so companies are more strategic than in New Zealand where I think they wing it a lot more.
In fact they recently won a New York contract for one of the world’s greatest luxury brands and are now creating an interactive retail space to bring the brand and its range of products to life in 3D.
That piece of business was won when CBS ran a segment on the world’s biggest collector of pizza boxes (yes, really) and featured One Fat Sheep’s augmented reality game on the HELL pizza box.
Like a New York fairy tale, the reporter’s husband worked for an agency, loved the work and engaged One Fat Sheep for a piece of business Deans says he can only announce when it launches in several months time.
Deans calls himself a ‘creative technologist’ and says he has always had an interest in new ideas and technology that pushes boundaries. He believes the visual industry always appealed because, as a dyslexic, it gave him an alternative way to digest information and identify his own skillset early in his career, which he believes is bringing people together, winning work and managing a team.
Today that team includes 15 core people and another 15 working remotely. His brother leads the Queenstown office, soon to relocate to Auckland.
“Australia is more advanced,” he says. “It’s obviously a larger market so companies are more strategic than in New Zealand where I think they wing it a lot more. You can’t quite do that in this market. So while a lot of good innovation comes out of New Zealand, I think from a digital marketing perspective they seem to be further behind.”
One Fat Sheep is in capital-raising mode right now, developing a new augmented reality platform that’s due to launch in three months.
They continue to build their Australian portfolio on the back of New Zealand clients such as ASB, but now have a growing repertoire of stand alone Australian clients including Mirvac, Deakin University and the Australian arm of British luxury car brand, Bentley.
“We live in a 3D world and content can be represented in 3D. Sectors like retail, FMCG and education recognise that they can do more to give their customers, companies and students rich immersive experiences. And that’s what we’re really very good at,” he says.