Remix Interviews: Clive Ormerod of Spark

Marketing man Clive Ormerod, formerly of Nike and now of Spark, has made his way home after spending the last eight years living in Europe. Publisher Tim Phin had a quick catch up with Clive to talk about making a difference in business and the Pokemon Go craze.

Give us a bit of background on Clive. What's your story?
I was born in Zimbabwe, then moved to South Africa. My father passed away when I was 15, which saw my family and I move to New Zealand. New Zealand is home. For the past eight years I’ve been living in the UK and Amsterdam, working for Nike the entire time. I joined the London of office, went to Amsterdam, did some time there and moved back to London. My wife and I decided we wanted to come home at the end of last year and a big part of coming home was finding a Kiwi company to join. Spark was it for me, they were doing some amazing things and they have a thriving culture that I absolutely wanted to be a part of.

How has your experience at Nike converged to Spark. What did you learn at Nike that you can bring to spark? 
The main thing is how important it is to deliver experiences for your customers and I think our opportunity at Spark is that we must continue to do that well. Connecting with the right audiences to deliver experiences that are relevant; Nike does that really well too. It’s not just about the product; service and experience is king. That's a big opportunity for us at Spark. How we differentiate ourselves and put our best foot forward in terms of service is crucial.

Nike has that youth trend and I feel Spark is also the market leader on that as well now.
I’d like to think so but there’s always room for improvement. Nike needs to keep being relevant in that space. At Spark we have a huge opportunity to do that. The main reason is that we are a New Zealand company genuinely focused on making a real difference to New Zealanders’ lives. You have to be relevant, you have to show up and evolve. Moving from Telecom to Spark earned us the right to do that we must now build on it.

What do you think of the whole Pokemon craze?
I think it's awesome for us and as a brand we jump on that and play an active part when things like that are relevant. We made it easy for our customers to get data at a better price. It’s not for us to create that craze but we can certainly play a meaningful part in it.

Can you give some advice to small business owners or people trying to go entrepreneurial? 
People used to talk about first-mover advantage; getting into something first. I don’t know if it's that relevant, it’s about doing it the best. Refining things and understanding what customers want in terms of products or services to help solve a need. When you're a business, starting up or evolving, you evolve with your customers. With Spark, we aren’t a telecommunications company anymore; we are a digital service company. You talked about how Remix evolved, for us it’s the same thing. You need a group of like-minded individuals that are purely focussed on doing what you do well and since joining Spark I’ve come to realise how true that is. We can make a genuine difference in this country and the people involved in the business want to do exactly that. At Nike it was all about making athletes better and unleashing their potential, and at Spark it’s about helping make New Zealand a better place; helping New Zealanders in their lives and businesses.