Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Brand Auckland

Auckland has been my home for almost 20 years and is the place around which I’m building my future. I spend most of my year travelling the world but Auckland is the place where I generate my best ideas, in the lush beauty of the native bush that surrounds my home. Each year I bring a bunch of Saatchi & Saatchi people from around the globe to Auckland to brainstorm the future of our business, our industry, our world.

There is a youthful energy here that crackles with possibility. We have a world-class university and the mix of Pacific, European and Asian cultures excites me about the type of hybrid community we are creating here. The sort of new music and film we’re creating from local Auckland stories – north, south, east and west – show off this youthful energy to the world. And of course I’m fired up about the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the third largest sporting event on the planet. I was asked once what my favourite walk is, and I replied the one from my home in Portland Road to Eden Park on test match day. I’ve got October 2011 blocked out in my diary. Auckland will be in the spotlight like never before.

There’s a song by the Bee Gees called “Islands in the Stream” that could have been written about Auckland. My favourite journey is the Air New Zealand flight from LA to Auckland, you get in at 5am and as soon as you’re out of the airport you get bathed in this incredible salty sea spray. That’s the smell that tells me I’m home. I was involved in several America’s Cup campaigns and my belief is that Auckland is one of the great nautical cities of the world. Being close to a blue ocean – not a grey one, not a brown one, but a True Blue one, is one of the most refreshing experiences in life.

I’m fired up by the work Brand Auckland is launching to tell our story to the world. I love the idea of “Spirited Progress” – you won’t find this in the middle of Europe or America! It’s the vibrant fusion of cultures, fresh influences, and diverse point of view that make Auckland, our place, such a dynamic ever-growing region that people just want to be part of. I love the sense that this is a place on the rise, a place that is still being built, a story waiting to get out, but sure about what it’s spirit is. It’s incredibly important that cities, as well as countries, have a strong brand story to promote to the world.

There are something like 300 cities in the world that have a population of a million people or more. It’s an ultra competitive world. Regions and cities are competing on innovation, taste and style, experiences. Auckland has all these things but with one essential differentiator. My metaphor for New Zealand is “the world’s edge”. All new stuff comes from the margins. So if Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, then Auckland is the capital of the world’s edge. This is a great place to be.

Auckland is a city so full of possibility - big enough to let you live to your potential, yet young enough to let you make your mark. In Auckland there’s a real sense that we’re always looking to move forward…whilst always retaining Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of our land, our roots and our heritage. More than simply a campaign, Brand Auckland have issued a call to action – an appeal to Aucklanders to deliver on the brand promise of “Spirited Progress”, to truly live the message, and to tell the world about it.

Let’s get on with it!!!

ps: I know it's not protocol to customize a company's logo, especially when it has just been launched, but I couldn't resist adding a Lovemarks touch to Brand Auckland. Some bloke once said "Lovemarks are not owned by the company but by the people who love them..." and I've taken his message to heart...KR