about

It’s personal. Your business is vitally personal to you. So is ours to us.

We are a proudly independent agency. You’ll always get to deal directly with one or more partners. Someone who has a financial stake in the business; someone who is prepared to sweat blood to make things happen, and share the risks with you to get things right.

As part of our company philosophy we have structured our offices so that there are always equal partners who maintain the balance between creativity and business. Why do we insist on equal partners? Because we know from experience that’s the best balance you need to really make things happen. Pure business is great, but can sometimes fail to make emotional connections. Great creative is essential, but on its own can sometimes miss the mark. Together it’s a powerful combination that’s proven itself time and time again, with over 20 years of getting our clients to where they want to be.

 

our people

Strategy Group

Geoff Cranko

Group Managing Partner

Geoff has been developing and managing companies for an impressive 25 years. His career has seen him work on every continent leading teams of up to 1500 people.

Having run both large and small organisations, Geoff knows first hand the challenges that any business can bring. He believes that success comes through good relationships, and he understands the intricacies of business issues from corporate strategy to product and personnel development.

As Strategy’s Group Managing Partner, Geoff offers straight talking business experience to our clients. Geoff enjoys client interaction at the highest level, helping to provide clear thinking with regards to the strategy and direction of our clients' businesses.

Along with facilitating, managing and developing the growth of the Strategy Group of companies, Geoff sits on several boards of private companies. He is also a Trustee for the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation and the World Buskers Festival Trust.

Steve Dimakis

Group Media Partner

Steve is a media innovator. His planning philosophy has been shaped by the experience he has gained over the past 18 years working for both global and independent agencies and media publishers.

By using paid, owned and earned media channels to make covert, overt and one-to-one content discoverable, searchable and shareable throughout decision and behaviour change journeys, Steve has helped brands of all sizes find the success they have been looking for. His experience spans both private and public sector clients include Colgate-Palmolive Limited, Suzuki New Zealand, the Health Promotion Agency, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Lincoln University, Heartland Bank and Trade Me just to name a few.

Steve is well known for going above and beyond for his clients. He has immersed himself so much in his clients’ businesses and built such strong relationships that many of them just refer to him as another member of their team.

Andrea Pierce

Group Finance Director

Andrea has more than 30 years of finance and management experience across a broad range of industries in both local and international markets.

Andrea has been a fully qualified chartered accountant for over 25 years. Starting in audit and business services for one of the “big four” accounting firms, she quickly moved to be Chief Financial Officer of a national manufacturing and distribution company. Working in senior financial and management roles across a wide range of industries, locally and internationally, has ensured Andrea has a wide appreciation of all business aspects.

Specifically, her international professional services experience adds real value to the Strategy network and practical day to day relationship with our clients.

Geoff Courtman

Group Design Director

Geoff has over 18 years experience at leading multidisciplinary agencies in New Zealand, England and Australia—helping clients effectively communicate their business strategies, vision and personality through meaningful and crafted design.

With an excellent track record in brand identity and communications, he has worked with clients as diverse as Multicultural NSW, Hunter Valley, Campus Living Villages, Westpac, The British Council, Holden and KFC Urban.

Geoff is passionate—some might say obsessive—about design and typography. His well-honed skills have earned him an impressive suite of awards including both AGDA Distinction and NZ BEST Gold Awards.

Geoff's expertise extends across numerous disciplines including art direction, advertising, web design, photography, packaging, user experience and environmental graphics.

Auckland

Gideon Keith

Creative Partner, Auckland

Gideon is a creative director and designer with 30 years experience leading teams to create awarding winning work and happy clients. Working with clients across Australasia, Asia, Europe and North America, learning the subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – cultural differences that define us.

As an international awarding designer, typographer and mark-maker, Gideon is comfortable across a wide range of mediums, from brand development; television commercials; digital and experience; and art direction and design of countless books and magazines. In the process developing concepts for services and products for a broad range of markets and audiences. Working with global brands like Apple, Land Rover, Westpac, Coke, and Nescafe to small niche art projects, not-for-profits and start-up ventures.

Melanie Spencer

Managing Partner, Auckland

Melanie loves business.  A commercially-savvy senior leader, she thrives on helping businesses prosper and has an instinctive ability to understand an organisation from a strategic viewpoint.  

With over a decade of experience in marketing and communications in Sydney and Auckland — with heavyweight clients in property, banking, food & beverage, aviation and fashion — she has the ability to wear many hats.

Most recently, Mel has held a senior position leading a commercial interior design business and garnered experience in growing, leading and managing a team as well as the bottom line. Her tenure in this position has given her real insight into what keeps business owners and leaders up at night, as well as the ability to align the creative process alongside business priorities and strategy.

With client service an absolute priority, Mel embraces a real drive to review and understand a business’s brand potential and to lead the necessary change for the organisation to achieve its strategic and growth capabilities.

Christchurch

Nick Harvey

Managing Partner, Christchurch

As Managing Partner, Nick brings more than 10 years of international brand expertise to the Christchurch studio. He’s passionate about creating a highly productive working environment which lends itself to outstanding creative and strategic work. His approach is simple, straight-forward, and transparent. Most importantly, it’s driven by an obsessive desire to consistently exceed client expectations.

Nick’s client portfolio extends across the Australian and New Zealand markets. It includes Mercedes-Benz, Samsung, Lacoste, DB, New Balance, Cadbury, Under Armour, Virgin Australia, Schweppes, Renault, Mars, Burger King, Fonterra, 42 Below, and Mazda. He’s passionate about creating experiential design which invites people to interact with brands through their five senses.

Nick prides himself in creating strong team cultures and ongoing client relationships both based on a shared common vision. More than just overseeing the day-to-day work execution, Nick’s aim is to grow the Strategy brand, reinforce the Strategy vision, and empower its team to create truly exceptional work.

Chris Flack

Design Director, Christchurch

Chris believes in the power of simple ideas, executed brilliantly.

Starting his career right here at Strategy in 2003, Chris honed his skills on a range of clients working his way up to gold at the New Zealand Best Design Awards.

Chris then set off to see the world, gaining 7 years of valuable experience in the demanding London design industry. There, he worked on a wide variety of clients including The Economist, Bacardi, Heineken, Vodafone, Martini Racing, GE and British Gas.

A bonafide ‘action man’, Chris’s most recent side project was developing the Comic Sans for Cancer campaign which has had an online reach of 13 million people, raised over $12,000 for Cancer Research UK and been featured in a slew of publications. 

Chris’s work has been recognised with numerous awards including the prestigious Clios and the European Excellence Awards, and has graced the walls of the Mexican Museum of Design and the OFFF Festival in Barcelona.

Adrien Taylor

Strategic Director, Christchurch

As a former journalist, Adrien is a natural born storyteller who is passionate about helping brands find their essence and convey it in way that is compelling to their customers.

He spent four years as an on-air reporter for TV3, travelling across New Zealand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore to chase stories. His subsequent filmmaking work on climate change has seen him travel to Bangladesh and Mongolia for the United Nations.

Adrien has a deep appreciation for the importance of great design. He enjoys collaborating with the Strategy studio to ensure the written word complements the visual artistry of his colleagues. He takes a reporter's approach to writing clearly and efficiently with no jargon.

Having founded and managed his own cap startup Offcut, Adrien appreciates the importance of getting a brand identity right to build a customer base of loyal evangelists.

Kaye Johnston

Business Director

Having worked in some of Christchurch and Wellington’s top agencies, Kaye understands commerce and creativity.

Her expertise lies across both media and client service. Following a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing, Kaye’s career started in Wellington where she was soon developing and implementing media plans for major clients with multi-million dollar budgets. The mix of analytical and creative — the science and art — was the perfect fit for her personality.

Since moving back to her hometown of Christchurch, Kaye has worked for major brands, including: Lane Walker Rudkin, Saatchi & Saatchi, Fairfax, and Harvey Cameron. All the while, she’s raised two daughters and a son on a lifestyle block in Ohoka.

Whether developing innovative and integrated marketing solutions, evaluating consumer demographics, or generating business insights, Kaye’s strength is her understanding of business. With strong strategic, communication, and organisational abilities, Kaye is skilled at developing and facilitating creative and media solutions for clients.

Wellington

Fraser Callaway

Managing Partner, Wellington

Fraser is a businessman with a designer’s head and an entrepreneur’s heart. Needless to say he has a talent for creative problem solving within businesses and brands. Fraser is passionate about building relationships and adding value to our clients’ organisations through clear strategic thinking and powerful personal communication.

Fraser is a firm believer that design is a catalyst for positive change. His work has been recognised in New Zealand and abroad, winning two international Red Dot Design Awards and Gold at the New Zealand Best Awards, speaking at the first TEDxWellington event and launching a company, Refold, with a highly successful and oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign.

Prior to his entry into the creative industry, Fraser pursued a career in professional golf. Through that experience he broadened his people skills, perseverance and mental toughness, which together make him an exceptionally well-rounded leader (and a formidable opponent on the green).

Oliver Ward

Creative Partner, Wellington

Oliver has swiftly made a name for himself by pushing boundaries and going against the expected in the dynamic world of design.

He believes great design should be about placing the human experience at its core, realised through well-crafted experiences that add real value to a business’ bottom line.

Oliver brings a fresh approach to solving problems. He believes commonsense and rational thinking are the key to developing simple, effective creative solutions for businesses of all sizes. He’s a stickler for detail and committed to delivering well-refined and award-winning executions.

Oliver’s talent has been well recognised with two Red Dot Awards and a Gold Best Award in 2014. A member of the International Society of Typographic Designers and an invitational speaker at TEDxWellington, Oliver is a design leader who uses an open mindset to create innovative solutions.

Matt Innes

Strategic Partner, Wellington

Matt has worked with internationally recognised creative agencies in both New Zealand and Australia. He has witnessed first hand the power that quality strategy and creative can have in transforming clients’ businesses.

He’s worked with an impressive list of brands, from ANZ Bank, Telstra Australia and Frasers Property group to City of Sydney, SKY New Zealand, OZ Harvest and the celebrity chef Matt Moran to name a few. Matt has consulted for the not-for-profit UnitingCare Australia, one of the country’s largest community service groups, as well as Inland Revenue New Zealand where he helped them bring his award winning mobile app design to life.

Matt believes in the mantra of ‘think before you act,’ especially when it comes to his creative work. He brings a fresh approach to strategy and design with an aptitude for problem solving, with an eye for detail and an award-winning entrepreneurial mindset.

Sydney

Steve White

Managing Partner, Sydney

Steve has spent his entire career working in and around the advertising and design industries, from the marketing department of an international software company, to Sydney's premier special effects company to a series of agencies where he worked through the ranks of client service.

Steve has been exposed to every facet of the marketing communications mix. As a former Senior Account Director he understands the importance of listening to clients and addressing their needs with dedicated and successful teams.

For eight years Steve ran his own integrated communications agency. Steve's versatility, commitment and interest in the marketing and communication business makes him an integral member of the Sydney office.

Geoff Courtman

Design Director, Sydney

Geoff has over 18 years experience at leading multidisciplinary agencies in New Zealand, England and Australia—helping clients effectively communicate their business strategies, vision and personality through meaningful and crafted design.

With an excellent track record in brand identity and communications, he has worked with clients as diverse as Multicultural NSW, Hunter Valley, Campus Living Villages, Westpac, The British Council, Holden and KFC Urban.

Geoff is passionate—some might say obsessive—about design and typography. His well-honed skills have earned him an impressive suite of awards including both AGDA Distinction and NZ BEST Gold Awards.

Geoff's expertise extends across numerous disciplines including art direction, advertising, web design, photography, packaging, user experience and environmental graphics.

Jussara Bierman

Strategic Partner, Sydney

Jussara is a high-achieving creative and business leader. An award-winning brand strategist she has led multidisciplinary campaigns across the F&B, fashion, lifestyle, travel and tourism, education, and corporate and government sectors. Her focus on building strong, enduring relationships and ensuring a return on investment for clients.

Most recently Jussara has lead the brand strategy and planning team of award-winning Shanghai agency Red Bridge Communications, working with leading global brands seeking traction into the China market. She was also the co-founder of a 15-year-old global branding and design consultancy that has supported brand positioning and digital reach in China, Brazil and New Zealand.

An architect by training, Jussara has a passion for design and brings both a conceptual attitude and design thinking to her project management. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for innovation well qualifies her to envision creative and transformational solutions to facilitate leading edge outcomes for clients.

Tokyo

Carl van Wijk

Creative Director, Japan

Carl has had 27 years of experience in advertising. Starting his career in Auckland he cut his teeth on creative campaigns for clients such as Nissan, Lion Nathan, Montana Wines, Qantas and NZI Insurance. Scooping numerous awards globally, he also won the coveted Grand Axis award in New Zealand within the first few years of his career.

He then moved to Australia where he headed up Young and Rubicam as Creative Director. He was responsible for creating award winning campaigns for Mitsubishi Motors, Orlando Wines and Farmers Union.

Following success in Australia, he then moved to Tokyo and worked in the Global Creative Division of the Japan’s 3rd largest agency Asatsu-DK. In Japan, working with large clients such as Nikon, Toshiba, Bridgestone, Toyota, Citizen, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen he has created ideas that transcend language and cultures worldwide.

He offers global awareness combined with creative ability across a wide range of advertising and branding traditional and non-traditional platforms.

Carl’s ideas and creative flair have won him awards internationally at Cannes, D&AD, One Show, New York Art Directors Club and AWARD (Australian Writers & Art Directors).

Adrian Grey

Creative Partner, Japan

Adrian Grey has spent the past 10 years as a director, editor & producer on a multitude of film, video and media projects in Tokyo, Japan. He is a founding member of SET Japan and its Representative Director. His talent has enabled him to produce work for an array of clients and collaborate with a vast network of talented individuals both nationally and internationally. From time to time, Adrian takes off his corporate hat, bringing his talent and experience to support non-profit and international charity organizations.

Adrian attended Nihon Art University in Tokyo on a Master’s Degree scholarship in Film Production. After graduating he worked for several years as both a freelance and as staff senior cameraman & post-production supervisor at a Japanese media company. In July 2007, Adrian formed his own production house & creative agency SET Japan which has worked with such well-known clients as National Geographic, HBO, Red Bull, Skype, Toshiba, Louis Vuitton, Audi and Mini Cooper.

Brandon Strack

Studio Director

Brandon is the Director of Post-Production as well as our in-house Director of Photography at Strategy SET.  Originally from Atlanta, GA, Brandon has lived in Tokyo for the past 10 years. Although having graduated from Temple University Japan with a BBA with a focus in International Law, Brandon's main interest has always been video production and motion graphics. With over 9 years of industry experience producing video and graphics for brands around the world, Brandon is experienced with creating everything from corporate video and TV commercials, to web video content, to even tour graphics packages for world renowned music artists. Brandon also serves as our in-house drone pilot.

awards

We are regularly recognised by the world’s leading design, advertising and effectiveness awards:

 

Award archive

2017

  • Communication Arts

    Finalist

  • Best Awards

    11x Finalist

2016

  • Best Awards

    1x Silver
    7x Bronze
    7x Finalists

  • AGDA Awards

    9x Finalist

2015

  • Communication Arts

    In Book

  • Best Awards

    2x Silver
    4x Bronze
    8x Finalist

  • AGDA Awards

    5x Finalist

2014

  • Best Awards

    Didn’t enter – gave money to charity instead.

  • Red Dot

    2 x Gold

  • MAPDA Awards

    1x Winner

2013

  • Best Awards

    1x Gold
    4x Bronze
    13x Finalists

2012

  • Best Awards

    2x Gold
    7x Silver
    6x Bronze
    26x Finalists

  • Type Directors Club

    In Book

  • AGDA Awards

    1x Finalist

  • Communication Arts

    In book

2011

  • Best Awards

    5x Gold
    5x Silver
    15x Bronze

  • Graphis Poster Annual

    In Book

  • Co-creation Award

    Jury Winner
    1x Bronze

  • Effie© Awards

    1x Bronze

  • Clio Awards

    1x Shortlist

  • MAPDA Awards

    1x Winner

2010

  • Best Awards

    5x Gold
    4x Silver
    2x Bronze

     

  • AGDA Awards

    1x Distinction
    1x Finalist

  • New York Festivals Advertising Awards

    In book

  • LogoLounge

    In book

2009

  • Best Awards

    1x Gold

    6x Silver
    6x Bronze

  • Art Directors Club of New York

    In Book

2008

  • Best Awards

    1x Gold
    1x Silver
    5x Bronze

  • AGDA Awards

    2x Distinction

2007

  • Best Awards

    1x Gold

    1x Silver
    7x Bronze

  • Clio Awards

    1x Silver

  • MAPDA Awards

    2x Winner

2006

  • AGDA Awards

    1x Distinction
    2x Finalist

  • Best Awards

    2x Winner

    2x Highly Commended

    7x Finalist

2005

  • Best Awards

    3x Winner

    3x Highly Commended

    4x Finalist

2004

  • Best Awards

    1x Winner

    2x Highly Commended

    2x Finalist

  • Clio Awards

    1x Bronze

  • Australasian Writers & Art Directors Awards

    1x Winner

2003

  • Best Awards

    1x Best of Category

    1x Highly Commended

    4x Finalist

  • Australasian Writers & Art Directors Awards

    1x Winner

  • MAPDA Awards

    1x Winner