Gravy on the side

The founder, director and communications strategist behind Good Gravy, Lina Montero Soto, has assembled a dream team of creative minds. Her collective houses designers, writers, digital experts, editors, art directors, strategists, PR specialists, event planners and innovative thinkers, all dedicated to tackling businesses’ marketing challenges. With decades of combined experience creating magic for companies of all sizes, the full-service advertising agency has become a secret sauce to be reckoned with. Read on as Montero Soto sheds light on its recipe for success.

Marketers with limited budgets and resources can often rule themselves out of accessing good strategic advice, creative and inevitably great results. How does Good Gravy fill that gap?

Caring too much about my clients’ businesses was the bane of my big- agency life. I’d been on the end of too many internal conversations about ‘over-servicing’ clients, but I’m sorry, I think that’s simply BS. I don’t believe you can get the best for your clients if you’re not 100 percent invested in their challenges, brands and budgets as if they were your own, so I decided to set up Good Gravy. 

At Good Gravy, we fill the gap by caring about our clients and their results. We place the marketer, their audience and their brand at the centre of our focus. We’re simply the gravy on the side that makes the dish shine.

I’ve worked with plenty of talented, creative and versatile people over the years, both agency and client side. Out of that group, I assembled a collective of experts with a similar passion for ‘doing what’s best for the client’, speaking every language in the marketing ecosystem. With access to this large virtual team of people who are some of the best out there, we pick the most appropriate experts to work on specific campaigns.

Good Gravy clients don’t have to miss out on top-notch marketing brilliance because of limited resources. With all the remote working capabilities available today, there’s no need for expensive overheads and real estate.

Instead, we put our energy into developing strategic and creative toolkits and processes that can take marketers from brand-problem chaos to sustainable campaign clarity and results. 

We’re very conscious of the value we want to add every day. We’re well versed in the multifaceted pain points marketers regularly endure and are united by our Good Gravy philosophy, which is to ‘Do Good. Be Great’ for
our clients, so they can achieve great results. 

New Zealand Marketers are looking for short- and long-term gains. How does Good Gravy help them achieve both?

Marketers frequently need to make trade-offs, so activity can end up focused on short-term tactics of unlinked ‘campaigns’ that may not necessarily contribute to building brand equity and leveraging results. You know, those functional, product-based campaigns that lack a WIIFM – what’s in it for me – factor for the target audience. 

Since marketers are time-poor and heavily overloaded, our Good Gravy model is designed around their needs. We start working with clients by spending time with the marketing team and their stakeholders to answer three key questions: 

  1. Why does their business exist – what’s their higher purpose?
  2. What business are they truly in? 
  3. What’s the unmet emotional need they serve? 

You’d be surprised how many organisations struggle with these questions or can’t agree on the answers. Our approach allows us to turn things around quickly and develop brand-equity campaigns within limited budgets that are effective in both the short and long term. We don’t just change things for the sake of it, but look at ways to establish evergreen assets brand owners can roll out for years to come.

Good Gravy believes that to deliver effective growth strategies and campaigns for clients, you need to start within the organisation. How do you work with a client’s company culture to help affect change?

I’ve never been a fan of the ‘slap on a logo’ or ‘put lipstick on a pig’ [type of] advertising. Audiences are looking for authenticity and relatability before they commit to a brand. We believe that to be effective, a brand’s promise and related messages need to come from deep within the organisation, from the people behind the delivery of the brand.

It’s not just about what a brand states – it’s the entire audience’s decision-making journey and every interaction that matters. We’ve created fast-turnaround insight workshops that bring in key stakeholders, including senior leadership teams and the people who interact with customers on a day-to-day basis.

We ask the deep questions that are focused on the customers’ beliefs, desires and needs. It often involves a lot of robust discussion and busting false beliefs, but it’s worth it. 

The result is alignment with the audience’s needs and the brand’s organisational higher purpose. Then, to ensure everyone stays on the same page, we develop a communications roadmap and brand communication playbook that serve as the guidebook for future communication activity.

It’s all part of creating strategies and tools that live longer within the organisation and also help anyone
new to the brand get up to speed.

What was the secret behind Good Gravy’s finalist results at 2023’s NZ Marketing Awards and Aotearoa EFFIE Awards?

The Hato Hone St John Medical Alarm ‘Better Than Fine’ campaign finalist recognition came about first and foremost because of our client and the outstanding medical alarm services they provide to the New Zealand community. We just had to ensure that the benefit of those services was communicated effectively to the right people. 

We dug deep into the underlying insights of the key audiences to better understand why people sign up for a St John medical alarm. During our insights journey, we discovered that it wasn’t about the medical devices themselves – it was about independence for older adults.

Our creative team translated that powerful insight into an integrated campaign that brings to life that Kiwi character we all know and love – an older parent who doesn’t want to be a bother and always claims that everything is ’fine’, even when it isn’t.

We’re proud of the marketing campaign, not just because of the finalist recognition but because of the monthly lead growth results gained over the past couple of years and the difference it has made in the senior community.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit the website:

This was first published in the March/April 2024 issue

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