BNI New Zealand
BNI is New Zealand’s largest business referral network, which is essentially in competition with many of the chambers of commerce, ad hoc networking groups and a few smaller competitors on the horizon.
The organisation is keen to continue growing despite reasonably good penetration throughout New Zealand, although that penetration is primarily in the services industries i.e. insurance and real estate.
Another challenge is that many members have been members for a long time. BNI has been in New Zealand for more than 12 years and there is a growing number of members who ten or more years in the organisation. BNI was concerned that a certain lethargy and complacency might set in.
A facilitated strategy session was held with BNI management and directors towards the end of 2011 to determine a strategy content marketing plan and approach.
BNI uses personal development education, structure, social cause marketing and accountability to deliver on its Visibility + Credibility = Profit® model. Hence it was decided to explore ways of maintain visibility using BNI’s value proposition, that is:
· Education / personal development
· Social responsibility
The solution proposed was to publish educational (how to give a good 60 second), news (BNI members and chapter events and successes) and hospice news (chapter fundraising events).
The channels chose to distribute the content include:
· A monthly BNI newsletter
The BNI Blog at www.bniblog.co.nz
· Twitter, Facebook and LInkedIn
· A social networking Ning site exclusively for BNI members
· Press releases to business media
· Presentation to various associations such as The College of Chiropractors
BNI also introduced a system whereby members are able to record the value of the referrals they have received. As a result many chapters in the short period this has been running have recorded values of between $350,000 and more than $1,5 million.
BNI has been able to use these values as testimonials and stories to reinforce the value of membership.
In addition, BNI conceived and launched a BNI Best 60 Second and BNI Best Memory Hook Facebook Competition in 2012, offering travel, iPads and iPods up as prizes.
Each chapter was given its own Facebook page and Social Media Co-coordinators (SMCs) were appointed in each chapter. It was the job of SMCs to capture the 60 seconds presentations and memory hooks of members in their chapter and post them to Facebook.
Regional winners were chosen by the local BNI directors, after which the public and members had an opportunity to vote for the best entries on Facebook. The winners were decided by a combination of independent judges and voting.
Participation rates were approximately 35 – 50 per cent.
Successes of the Facebook contest
· Educated members on how to do a good 60 second
· Motivated members to create good memory hooks to improve their networking effectiveness
· Introduced many members to the concept of social networking on Facebook
· The voting concept introduced family, friends, colleagues and business associates of members to BNI via Facebook
· BNI significantly increased visibility with members and the public and reinforced its positioning as a network innovator.
After some stagnation in 2011, BNI has once again started returning higher retention rates and grow of between 10 and 15%.
Customer service training company KiwiHost New Zealand enjoyed prominent brand recognition in the early 1990’s, but at the time of speaking to Iron Road brand recognition had waned considerably and a number of competitors had emerged.
To further complicate things, most people who recognised the name KiwiHost associated the company with the hospitality industry, partly due to historical emphasis in this area and the name.
In reality, the company is a franchise which provides expert customer service training to all types of companies, organisations and industries. Changing the name, however, was not an option.
The primary objective that the managing director of KiwiHost New Zealand, Simon Nikoloff, wanted to achieve was to generate more business opportunities.
To educate business about the importance of a skill (customer service) they think they already have, to address a problem they don’t know they have.
- Use publicity to raise awareness and profile of the KiwiHost brand;
- Educate business on the importance of customer service;
- Generate positive media coverage to ‘get the phones ringing’.
1. Position KiwiHost as the only credible customer service training organisation capable of improving a company’s bottom line
2. Create awareness of:
* Modern trends in customer service;
* Declining standards of customer service;
* The importance of customer service in growing a profitable business;
3. Position KiwiHost as an organisation best able to address attitudes and empower people as a solution to many of these problems;
4. Leverage intermediary channels – business associations and organisations;
5. Secure media buy-in to KiwiHost as an expert in raising customer service levels.
1. KiwiHost targeted trade, business and community media with a ‘series’ of weekly ‘how to’ press releases, offering targeted, relevant and useful information on how to improve customer service.
Weekly press releases resulted in high visibility with relevant media and it wasn’t long before KiwiHost’s Simon Nikoloff was interviewed on radio and frequently called on for its customer service expertise on programmes such as Target and Campbell Live.
The releases also achieved a very high impression rate with the printed media.
2. Iron Road arranged an alliance between survey specialists JRA (of Best Places to Work fame) and KiwiHost to establish and conduct a nationwide Customer Service Pulse. The survey explores customer service from a youth, consumer and BtoB angle.
From the survey, KiwiHost has enjoyed extensive national media coverage and firmly established itself as the customer service standard for New Zealand.
As a result, the company was approached by AussieHost and is now a major shareholder in the Australian operation.
3. Franchisees were provided with more robust collateral, including proposals, brochures, website and flyers to support their sales efforts. This included conference training sessions carried out by Iron Road.
“KiwiHost New Zealand Ltd is a nationwide franchise training business which was established in 1990 by Tourism New Zealand and in private ownership since 1998. Our needs are wide and varied. Internal and external communications are of strategic importance and a vital part of our business.
“Colin Kennedy of Iron Road Communications has been retained by KiwiHost to design and manage the media and communications strategy since mid-2006. We consider Colin to be part of our management team, and involve him in all our strategic planning and communications.
“I am very impressed with how Iron Road has been able to quickly grasp our business and our requirements, formulate specific plans and campaigns and execute them with fantastic benefits. Iron Road works at all levels in our organisation from strategic and management public relations through to tactical, with powerful copy for proposals and advertising.
“Iron Road's work is of the highest calibre, well researched, creative and always delivered on time and to specifications. KiwiHost has been benefiting from high quality exposure in quality media since his engagement. I am delighted with Colin and Iron Road Communications and unreservedly recommend his services. Where high quality strategic work is required, you will not be disappointed." – Simon Nikoloff, CEO KiwiHost New Zealand
As a direct result of the results from Iron Road’s work with KiwiHost, the company has been engaged in numerous other projects with Simon Nikoloff, AussieHost and many other businesses referred by KiwiHost and its business partners.
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Iron Road Communications
PO Box 302 116, North Harbour, 0751
10 Beresford Square, Auckland.
DDI +64 9 950 7648
Mob: +64 27 2456060