Archive for February 2013


Tinkering time

19.02.2013

I’m hoping no one has noticed that we are shifting servers, because seamlessness is the sure sign that it’s all been done properly without any effect on our clients, their clients, and our audiences.
   Thanks to Nigel Dunn at Xplosiv.ly—Nigel and I have worked together both at this firm and, now, between our firms—all our websites are at a new home, running Nginx.
   The tricky ones were Lucire and Autocade, the latter needing a bit of surgery since I hadn’t bothered to update Mediawiki properly since I uploaded the software in 2008. Instead, over the years, I’ve patched it to ensure that viruses and spammers didn’t get in there.
   The wise thing to do is to make sure everything is running the latest versions, so Autocade was upgraded to the newest Mediawiki. As the original skin wasn’t compatible (nor was one of the extensions), the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed some minor changes to its look.
   Over the next week, you’ll see this website change. I’ve been wanting to tinker with my personal site since last year, when I realized the look was six years old. Two thousand and six in the internet world is, in human evolution, roughly when we started to walk upright.
   It’s not finished yet—far from it—but I’m still playing with the theme here on WordPress. Right now, the larger type should be clearer to read, and if there are no issues, I’ll roll this look out to the rest of the site, which runs static HTML pages.
   I will say it was easier this time than it was in 2006, so I must have learned a thing or two in that time.
   Your thoughts are welcome, as always.

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Posted in design, internet, technology | 1 Comment »


What’s on the door can count more than who runs the shop

06.02.2013

I walked into the National Bank yesterday to sort out something for Dad—years ago, we gave each other signing authority on our accounts. They had misplaced that authority—a bit worrying if a bank doesn’t hold on to things over 10 years old—but, with the transition of the National Bank branding to ANZ, it reminded me of an interesting phenomenon.
   Most folks know that ANZ has owned the National Bank since the early 2000s. There were always rumours that the Lloyds horse would be retired as the licence would expire, and that eventually, everything would bear the ANZ brand collateral. ANZ had sent out letters in the past talking about the acquisition, but that everything would stay the same—until last year, when it said that it would finally take the best of both organizations and combine them under a single ANZ brand.
   Fair enough. It might mean the closure of branches where both banks existed, for cost savings, but it was inevitable.
   The surprise was this: the announcement of the rebranding of the National Bank brought mass defections to other banks. Westpac, Kiwibank and TSB mounted campaigns to attract departing National customers. My friends at TSB, where I have banked happily since the late 2000s, said potential customers came in, with at least one commenting (ironically to the Australian-born staff member there), ‘I hate Australians.’
   But to those Aussie-hating National Bank customers: you have been banking with Australians for the good part of the past decade, and the only thing that will be changing is the logo on the façade.
   There was no ownership change, no change on the board of directors, nothing.
   It brings home that people can be loyal to an organization simply of how it looks to them outwardly, even if, inwardly, it’s owned or run by people they might “hate”.
   There’s nothing wrong with this behaviour, but it’s something for branding consultants and advisers to bear in mind: never underestimate the effect of brand loyalty even in an age where we advocate transparency. There are some that opt not to peer behind the corporate veil.
   This is the reason that certain publications are still seen as locally owned even when their share holding in the Companies’ Register says differently, or that no one seems to mind that the vast majority of our New Zealand fruit juice brands are in the hands of Japanese and American companies. Just Juice and Fresh-up aren’t really competitors, just as ANZ and the National Bank have not been for years.
   At the end of the day, does any of this matter? A little, if “Aussie-hating” stems from an opposition to profits heading offshore rather than, say, TSB’s community trust. It’s not very ANZAC of anyone to hate our neighbours, but if folks truly think this way, it’s worth understanding just whom owns what, and do your business or shopping accordingly.
   The same rule, I might add, applies to political parties: does “your party” actually stand for the values you think it does? Or, for that matter, does your preferred political candidate?

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Posted in business, marketing, New Zealand | 3 Comments »