Setting the Scene

As an Auckland based digital marketing agency, Waterbourne is an event we hold very close to our hearts where we founded this event in Wellington 2017. With an ambition to bring watersports to life whilst providing education, entertainment and NZ culture, Waterbourne has evolved into New Zealand's biggest beach festival. 

As a marketing and event agency, we have done everything needed to run a major event, where below are just some of the tasks:

  1. building a website that stands out from the crowd and leaves a lasting impression
  2. writing creative and brand related website content
  3. build ticketing and communication platforms to better online customer interaction
  4. forming in depth digital marketing plans
  5. Gain sponsorship from New Zealand and international brands
  6. Apply and confirm permits across all areas of the event and the list continues. 

Spotlight on Squid

Our involvement with Waterbourne has been an ongoing project and the results produced are nothing short of the highest quality for both usability and creativity. We have taken the brand and imported its very essence into a new website that contains new visuals, written content and a new logo. 

Squid has also delivered substantial growth over the last four years, taking Waterbourne from an event which attracted 100 athletes in 2017, to 20,000 in 2021. Below are some highlight statistics

  • 6,512 tickets sold
  • 400 athletes registered
  • 200L rubbish collected
  • 60 trees planted
  • 1.1million video plays (5sec+)
  • 68,000 unique website visitors
  • 4 million Facebook & Instagram Impressions

Brand Refresh & Illustrations

Originally the Waterbourne logo was a basic illustration of three overlapping waterdrops that represented the coming together of the events three main elements; watersports, music and beach culture. And although the brand story fitted nicely with Waterbourne, the actual illustration had a strong corporate feel instead of the fun beach vibe that the event wanted to bring into their branding

This is why when we set out on this project with Waterbourne our first area of concern was to create a more contemporary logo, which would resonate with the target demographic of 22+.

 In order to achieve this we took the following steps: 

  • We first refreshed the logo by exploring fonts, colours and levels
  • We then went into designing a illustration theme which could be used across all assets and bring each activation to life - What is meant by this is the same theme could be applied across all areas of the website and marketing platforms

Website Ideation & Planning

Waterbourne required a website with a customised ticketing system which could easily allow for both athletes and public guests to register online for the numerous activities across their event. To do this Squid used SilverStripe CMS as it enabled Waterbourne access to managing their own content and therefore provided them with more control surrounding the marketing of their ticketed events. SilverStripe was the best choice as it has also enabled greater scalability as this event website is available for other event organisers to now use.  

Squid specialises in using SilverStripe CMS and when developing the new Waterbourne website we once again took advantage of this very flexible platform. This is because with previous clients we have found that this CMS produced the best results for their needs and this was once again the case with Waterbourne.

SilverStripe is a New Zealand owned open source platform that was designed with a modular layout. It is an ever changing CMS which has been built to keep up with the quick changes to our growing digital ocean. Through this process, we have now created a website which can be used by event professionals around the world.

To further the functionality of the Waterbourne website we used a dynamic front end known as React which is also used by Facebook and many other developers and website owners. React is an open source Javascript library which allows users to build interfaces or UI components. With React website developers can use this framework as a base for single-page applications and mobile applications. 

Looking closer at building the ticketing platform 

To build this platform was of top priority because the data which ticketing platforms provide gives insight into how customers interact with your website. This means that customer information is tracked and all actions performed when registering for free events, or purchasing tickets, is recorded. This type of insight allows companies to leverage that data to create better informed digital marketing plans. 

On top of this Squid made sure to build this sight with users in mind so that it could be accessed via facebook and google. This ticketing platform is now available for other companies to use where they can choose to display an event calendar like Waterbourne has opted to do. The event calendar lists all the dates and events which then lead to individual registration/purchase pages. 

Website Design

This was a very exciting part within the development of the Waterbourne website and the exploration carried out has given Waterbourne a more stand out brand image and theme throughout their website and social media platforms. The most important design change worth mentioning is that Squid recreated the Waterbourne logo to be more current, incorporating elements from the previous logo that flowed more cohesively with the new design of the website.

Speaking of the new website design, the journey taken to get to the end result was well thought out and drafted multiple times by Squid. To be a high quality website in this day in age the factors a designer must consider is the usability, visual attraction, authenticity to the brand and story that is being told, and finally the creative features that set it apart from the norm. Below take a look at a before and after snapshot of the Waterbourne home page.

This old Website design contained the following issues:

  • Didn't radiate Waterbourne's fun atmosphere
  • Didn’t provide a way to sell tickets and have people register for free events- This meant website users were directed to other websites when registering
  • Waterbourne didn't have the data to then leverage for marketing as all ticket sales were on external providers- This meant they never knew who bought/who didn't
  • Ticketing providers often refused to provide details of purchasers which impacted the database and potential resale in the future
  • Didn't showcase all elements of the event - only showed watersports or music - very one dimensional

Highlights of the new design:

  • This design captures the festival atmosphere in the digital world 
  • The website gravitates around the new logo which is a great centre focus point 
  • The home page now features all elements of the event; watersports, music and beach culture. 
  • The website is a lot more interactive and has a lot more character 
  • This new website has a ticketing system which was custom built to provide Waterbourne with the purchase/didn’t purchase data
  • Now Waterbourne can use this data to better understand their customer behaviour and improve their future marketing techniques

Everything seen above in the new website design was carefully considered in order to best represent the brand, this includes colours, fonts and layout. Squid also created the illustrations for Waterbourne to add a quirky interactive feature that users of the website can not only enjoy but easily understand the theme and what the event is all about. This is a design element that adds character to a website and gives it a deeper visual narrative. 

Website Content

Squid was also responsible for writing all the content on the new Waterbourne website. Our involvement included drafting the content for each individual page on the website, writing articles for the news feature, creating memorable slogans, forming registration sheets and writing individual event blurbs. 

When approaching the creation of any of Waterbournes website content, the focus of the writing was to represent the brand accurately. We are well aware that the content on a website speaks for the organization, and that it is therefore important that what website visitors read is true to the company's brand. This is why we worked very closely with Waterbourne and got to know their story so that we could weave this throughout all the written elements. 

Beyond website content we also oversaw all of Waterbournes PR releases. All content which is published goes through Squid for approval and we provide changes and suggestions where necessary in order to take advantage of all our marketing and communication skills. 

To read the content on the Waterbourne website click the following link

Digital Marketing

Squid specialises in creating digital marketing plans that have specific deadlines and goals relevant to what a business or  an event wishes to achieve. In regards to Waterbourne Squid worked with a particular focus lens on the events current social media platforms and developed a range of strategies to engage the current audience and to reach out to potential future audiences. It’s not just about the content presented on social media but also about how you are tracking the interaction that takes place between the audience and the posts/ads. Squid works with a range of tracking software that includes but is not limited to Google Analytics and Facebook pixel. Both of these platforms provide insight into how the target audience interacts with your posts/ads which allows Squid to better understand the audience behaviour and create better campaigns in the future. 

Event Management

Finally Squid worked alongside Waterbourne by overseeing a range of event management areas and ensured that the event would receive the key components that make it operate. This included:

  • Discussing management with ATEED    
  • Sponsorship acquisition
  • Event Ideation - creating and incorporating new event ideas according to timeframes and goals of sponsors/council
  • Managing and choosing providers to execute components of the event - production, water sports, musicians, staging, scaffolding etc

Summing up Squid swimming alongside Waterbourne 

Waterbourne has been an ongoing three year project for Squid that we have watched grow throughout this time. And as this fast growing industry and digital world has changed we have insured that Waterbourne has best adapted to keep up and stay afloat. Whatever Waterbourne has required Squid has been quick to come up with solutions and ideas to fit the companies needs. 

If you think your business needs a lifejacket to stay afloat in the digital ocean please contact a Squid today! We look forward to working with you. 

Partners we worked with

  • Auckland Tourism Events & Economic Development (event management)
  • Obvious (design)
  • Tip Top (event activations)
  • Oceanbridge (event activations)
  • Water Safety NZ (event activations)