Marketer of the Year 2021 – sponsored by oOh!media

Highly respected marketer Shane Evans skilfully led ASB’s Covid-19 marketing and communications response, resulting in record brand love metrics and strong revenue growth.

Backing the best

Having kicked off his marketing career at the Australia Post Grad Programme in Melbourne, Shane Evans moved to London in 2004, cutting his teeth at boutique agencies and the Royal Bank of Scotland before working on a global rebrand of the UK’s largest insurance company – Norwich Union to Aviva.

Returning home to New Zealand in 2011, Shane joined ASB as General Manager of Brand & Marketing. His task was to develop a refreshed brand strategy and execution plan appropriate for the dynamic and challenging external environment and true to the kaupapa of ASB. In 2020, ASB was accelerating organisational change and adopting agile ways of working when Covid-19 then swiftly arrived and demanded a rapid response to support customers and their communities.

As other marketers pulled back, Shane – who is now Chief Marketing Officer – led the bank’s Covid-19 marketing and communications response and innovated in a crisis. He established a Marketing Academy within ASB, reorganised his diverse team of 70 marketers under agile ways of working and built ASB’s first Brand & Marketing Centre of Excellence – all while maintaining the highest employee NPS (eNPS) for his team at ASB. 

Shane made the business case to invest in brand, increasing spend by 50 percent. He also delivered the Backing Business programme to help jumpstart the economy, which involved ASB grants, as well as the ASB Business Hub and Borrow The All Blacks, enabling SMEs to drive their own brands and businesses in the country’s economic slump. 

Since coming on board, ASB has enjoyed outstanding brand love metrics with scores up a record 12 points, as well as strong revenue growth. Corporate Reputation scores are growing as competitors are shrinking, and ASB’s beloved brand characters – modern Kiwi couple ‘Ben and Amy’ – featured in YouTube’s Top 10 ads for 2020. 

As well as overseeing the delivery of industry-leading work, Shane was the headline speaker at the 2020 Marketing Association B2B conference and collaborated with the Marketing Association to deliver a workshop series helping SMEs with their marketing. 

It’s not hard to correlate Shane’s success with his love for the brand, which he says also comes down to a sense of responsibility to continue innovating. 

Shane Evans.

“ASB has this amazing history of innovation that, as a custodian of the brand for a short time, you feel a deep sense of responsibility to continue. That responsibility allows us to do creative work that many of our competitors don’t have the permission for. 

“Plus, we have a great bunch of people which makes it a fun and supportive place to be.”

Shane has consistently created award-winning work at ASB through building world-class capability and skills in his team, demonstrating the commercial value of marketing to the ASB Executive Leadership. He has a proven track record for developing high performing teams and sustaining a high performance marketing culture – and his colleagues at ASB couldn’t speak more highly of his leadership. 

“He has a wonderful ability to blend data and insight with a real understanding and genuine care for the financial wellbeing of Kiwis and he knows how to harness the talents of the whole business to deliver,” CEO Vittoria Shortt says.

CCC Marketing Manager Crystal Kaiwai adds: “Shane fosters remarkable diversity of thought. He ensures people of all backgrounds from all communities are heard.”

Through his Marketing Academy, both ASB and the wider industry have benefitted from brilliantly trained marketers. Due to the wide respect the team has built across the business, there have been 15 business wide promotions from marketing over the past 12 months. All senior marketing appointments have been developed from within, and in 2019 Vanessa Morris, Shane’s Head of Consumer Marketing, won Direct Marketer of the Year at the DM Awards. 

Campaign Manager Alex Smith says: “Shane has given me the guidance, tools and autonomy to succeed from day one moving into agile.” 

Building a strong team of marketing leaders at ASB is what Shane considers to be his most significant achievement throughout his career.

“We have world-class capability in our team as evidenced in our marketing automation programme which is now recognised globally. 

“That, and Clever Kash – such a fun project to work on.” 

Another marketing initiative he has recently worked on that has realised great success is the launch of ASB’s Live Life One Step Ahead brand platform, which has been brought to life through the multi-platform ‘Ben and Amy’. 

“We were delighted when it was rated New Zealand’s favourite ad (beating nearest rival by a factor of 2:1) earlier in the year.”

Shane particularly loves creating strategic brand platforms that allow creativity, innovation and talent to thrive. 

“Creativity is really important to me, so marketing is a great outlet for it. And I love working with all the characters in our industry.”

He has certainly proved himself as a world-class and powerhouse marketer, but is quick to credit his team upon being nominated for Marketer of the Year.

 “I was stoked with the recognition for our team who worked incredibly hard during Covid in both managing our customers and finding innovative ways to support businesses. 

“There were more than a few times I was envious of my mates who had an opportunity to kick back with the kids, but the creative opportunity was too much for us to ignore.”

Shane believes that to be an award-winning marketer, it comes down to thinking strategically, making choices and being prepared to take a few risks. 

“Very rarely does creativity happen when you’re operating in the safe zone.”

As for where he sees his career headed in the next five to 10 years, the proud Southlander is hopeful he’ll be continuing to work with great people who have big ambitions. “That, and having fun with family and friends in Central Otago.”  

Category: Marketer of the Year

Winner: Shane Evans

Company: ASB

Finalists: Andrew Cooper (Electric Kiwi), Jasmine Currie (J.H Whittaker & Sons), Brid Drohan-Stewart (Woolworths New Zealand), Rachel Ellerm (Lion)

This article was first published in the 2021 December/ January issue of NZ Marketing magazine.

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