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Case study: Diversity breeds creativity at MediaWorks

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After seven years, MediaWorks Interactive prides itself on the skills and diversity of its team, but finds its greatest asset is its unity.

You don’t need to look far in the MediaWorks Interactive office to get an idea of what makes this team tick. Among the usual digital mainstays of multi-monitor workstations, iPads and other devices, there are hand-stitched cushions, made by the office manager, kitchen art painted by the head of research and a Tetris wall decal installed by the creative director.

And if you visit when the dev team’s running ‘Fear Factor Friday’, expect to be offered anything from silkworm pupae to the world’s hottest chillies or cat biscuits. None of this extra-mile space brightening and Fear Factoring is in anyone’s job description, but that’s sort of the point.

The eclectic atmosphere encapsulates not only the team’s dedication to detail, but to its culture-defining adoption of enthusiastic creativity.

“We need a team with talent and skills but its passion and the ability to work together that drives us,” says director Siobhan McKenna. “Happy teams make customers happy, and we get a lot of repeat business.”

The Interactive team is behind all things digital at MediaWorks. It’s a brief that includes everything from websites and apps, to content, audience insights, social and digital sales.

“In the fast-paced digital space where the individual can control more than ever, it’s the focused and functioning team that has the real power to drive innovatation and service,” says McKenna.

To facilitate innovation, Interactive is developing the ethos ‘Move Fast’ into a movement that can spread across the business.

“The initial objective was to shrink the time between idea and execution,” says McKenna.

“Move Fast is about figuring out the critical path to experience – the 20 percent that will deliver 80 percent of the value.”

She says this leads either to success or fast failure, and therefore the opportunity to pursue the new idea or move on quickly to another.

Composed as it is from a bunch of thoroughly modern ‘multi- casters’, Interactive creates and publishes content that can be both pushed and pulled.

That means it lets audiences talk and helps traditional media listen, as it does with its facilitation of more than 1.8 millon social subscribers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Youtube.

But not only does Interactive deliver digital life to MediaWorks’ 14 radio and television brands, it also leads the market in creating engaging digital assets for audiences’ entertainment.

The team has won the NZ Radio Awards best radio website title for the past four years, received accolades from Apple for its apps, and racked up a host of other trophy moments for its engaging content and advertising along the way.

“Our greatest prize,” McKenna says, “is the audience.” Contrast this with the group’s early days in the mid-2000s, when McKenna says Interactive’s primary mandate was to be cash-positive from the get-go.

“We were more just-start than start-up,” she says. “There were six of us and a couple of pre- existing web-shites with a bit of copy and some TV listings. I think one of the sites was used as a ‘what not to do’ example at conferences.”

McKenna remembers it as an exciting, challenging time.

“We polarised a few people in the way internet advocates tended to at the time. For a while, the message seemed to be find success, but not too much.”

Since then, Interactive has certainly found success, growing from six to 60 employees.

“We’re a diverse bunch. We now have 16 nationalities represented, with a Belgian starting this month. Diversity gives us a global perspective and a lot of humour.”

But as individual as the team members are, it’s the art and nuance of working well together that demonstrates its difference.

“For us, Interactive means interacting with our audience, customers, our space and each other,” says McKenna.

“Not just because we can, but because we want to. And that makes all the difference.” 


MediaWorks Interactive relies on its unique culture of individuality and creativity to foster a team spirit that consistently delivers digital work exceeding industry norms.


To find out how MediaWorks Interactive can help you connect, contact Siobhan McKenna on (09) 928 9080 or [email protected]

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