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Marketing The NZ Knights- Dare To Dream?

For immediate release from the NZ Knights


How do you market the NZ Knights to the wider world? How do you regain the confidence of the commercial market, the sponsors and indirectly the media in the cut throat world of professional football in the Australian league?

More to the point, after the problems of the past, who in their right mind would own up to taking on this rather onerous task?

Tough talking self confessed football junkie Simon Kozak is one of the new team at the NZ Knights, he is the man behind the new marketing initiatives at the restructured club and is prepared to tell the world!

Simon Kozak is co-owner of JUST Marketing Partnerships and has in 3 years in New Zealand established JUST Marketing’s and his own reputation as one of the country’s leading marketers (by the NZ Marketing Association).

His passion for football and his skill in the world of marketing meant the role of Director of Marketing at the restructured NZ Knights was tailor made. Indeed the man described by CEO of Carlson Marketing Group (Simon was the UK MD) as the ‘grit in the vaseline’ is renowned for taking on difficult issues and winning.

Notable credits include rebranding Scotland’s image in the late 1990’s and award winning work for the UK Home Office to drive car crime off the streets.

So why the Knights?

“First I was drawn to the club as a fan,” said Kozak from his North Shore home. “Why wouldn’t you be? The quality of the Hyundai A-League is beyond anyone’s predictions and the Knights provided week in week out professional football for passionate fans like me to scream and shout at. More important is the opportunity for the Knights as a club to build something much bigger than 11 blokes on a pitch. In ten years time kids will be growing up having known nothing but life with the Knights, then we will start to create a dynasty or as I like to call it ‘new New Zealand football’.”

Kozak has left the running of JUST Marketing in the more than capable hands of business partner and wife Melanie while he pours his considerable energy into his new role as Director of Marketing for the North Harbour based club.

So what does Kozak hope to achieve with the NZ Knights and why would an independently successful marketing entrepreneur and company director go anywhere near the club given recent press?

“First and foremost I have intense belief in this club and share the dream of others in the organization to make a success of our participation in the A-League. My ambition is for the NZ Knights to be the bench mark for sports marketing in New Zealand and to be held up as a case study for other A-League clubs to follow. My professional responsibility as marketer is about what will happen in the future with this club. You will see sponsors sign (some already have), unique community initiatives put in place and aggressive campaigning to get the stakeholders back through the gate and into the corporate lounges.”

That campaign will begin to see the light of day in the weeks ahead, with advertising campaigns set to target season ticket holders, commercial partners and a comprehensive community programme launched to cover both football and social responsibilities of the club.

The campaign will see the application of innovative and scientific techniques more usually reserved for mainstream consumer brands particularly in developing a long term sustainable fan base.

There will also be a number of ‘firsts’ in relation to a sporting organization, in particular with regards the community programme that will begin rolling out with an announcement on the 30th May. The club is also integrating its marketing activities with the North Shore City Council.

Kozak says bravery might well be a term applied to the entire campaign.

“The Knights management team will ignite our local community but to do so we must be compelling on and off the pitch. I make no apology for my ‘in your face’ attitude and nature toward the game and this club. This IS new New Zealand Football and we won’t win our battles by being shy and retiring. I am proud to be one part of a very dedicated and passionate group of people working to build a Knights football club that we can all be proud of.”


Simon Kozak is available for comment or interviews throughout Thursday 18th May

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