KiwiHost: Making a forgotten brand relevant again

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 its brand recognition had waned considerably and a number of competitors had emerged.

To further complicate things, most people who did recognise the name KiwiHost, also associated the company with the hospitality industry, partly due to historical emphasis in this area and the name itself.

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 at the time, Simon Nikoloff and then his successor Jared Brixton, wanted to achieve was to generate more business opportunities.

The challenge

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 content marketing 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’.


  • Position KiwiHost as the only credible customer service training organisation capable of improving a company’s bottom line.
  • Create awareness of:
    • Modern trends in customer service;
    • Declining standards of customer service;
    • The importance of customer service in growing a profitable business;
  • Position KiwiHost as an organisation best able to address attitudes and empower people as a solution to many of these problems;
  • Leverage intermediary channels – business associations and organisations;
  • 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. We arranged a content generating 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 business to business 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 us.

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