T RY CARPOOL COACH­ING, SPARK L AB’ S L ATEST PLAN T O HELP NEW Z E ALAND BUSI­NESSES PER­FORM BET­TER

Even the most ca­sual pop cul­ture con­sumer has heard of Carpool Karaoke, the in­sanely pop­u­lar video series in­volv­ing celebri­ties singing in a car with TV host James Cor­den. But who’s heard about Carpool Coach­ing?

Idealog - - IDEALOG / SPARK -

I would ab­so­lutely do i t again. It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and gave me some bril­liant i deas that I think will re­ally make a dif­fer­ence i n my busi­ness. Michelle Sokolich

What hap­pens when bud­ding en­trepreneurs take a drive in a Spark elec­tric ve­hi­cle with Dr Michelle Dick­in­son (AKA Nano Girl), Sir Ray Avery, and Wendy Thomp­son (founder of So­cialites), pick­ing their brains about any­thing and ev­ery­thing busi­ness-re­lated?

The an­swer? Carpool Coach­ing, Spark Lab’s lat­est so­cial cam­paign, which brings its busi­ness men­tor­ing as­pect to life.

Michelle Sokolich, a con­tent cre­ator look­ing to get an edge on her com­pe­ti­tion, was one of two peo­ple to win out of nearly 80 en­tries to take a drive with the en­tre­pre­neur­ial gu­rus.

“The carpool coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence was amaz­ing,” she says. “When else do you have the chance to get three in­cred­i­ble en­trepreneurs in a room or tiny car and ask them all the ques­tions you want?” Her praise doesn’t end there. “The in­sight I got from them was in­valu­able. I was able to pick their brains on find­ing my ideal clients, and the in­sight I got from them was ev­ery­thing from get­ting larger busi­nesses on a re­tainer, hold­ing live we­bi­nars, and the idea of spe­cial­is­ing in mak­ing videos for so­cial en­trepreneurs.

“I would ab­so­lutely do it again. It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and gave me some bril­liant ideas that I think will re­ally make a dif­fer­ence in my busi­ness.”

The other win­ner who re­ceived men­tor­ship was Have­lock North-based Rick Toner. De­vel­op­ing a mo­bile app de­signed for large busi­nesses who em­ploy ca­sual staff, Toner de­scribes him­self as a dig­i­tal en­tre­pre­neur “with delu­sions of grandeur”.

The Carpool Coach­ing cer­tainly helped make those delu­sions more real, he says.

“It was gen­uine coach­ing. It was quite an in­tense con­ver­sa­tion. It’s not ev­ery day a small busi­ness­man from a small town in New Zealand gets an op­por­tu­nity like this.”

Toner says his big­gest ques­tions had to do with scal­a­bil­ity and grow­ing his busi­ness glob­ally – some­thing the men­tors were more than happy to of­fer ad­vice on.

“I came away fizzing at the bung,” he says. “It helped pro­vide me with the nerve [to take things fur­ther] a lit­tle bit, too. For an in­dus­try like dig­i­tal in New Zealand, there’s a ton of great minds out there.”

Even bet­ter, Toner says, is the fact that he’s still in touch with the men­tors, and that they took a gen­uine in­ter­est in what he was do­ing.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly valu­able. You can’t put a price on it.”

The num­bers be­hind the so­cial me­dia cam­paign suggest that peo­ple have been find­ing it use­ful, too. A video of the coach­ing re­ceived more than 50,000 views in the first three days it de­buted, with 85 per­cent of peo­ple watch­ing the en­tire five-minute, 25-se­cond video – a far higher per­cent­age than nor­mal when peo­ple see a video on­line.

Richard Sand­ford, Spark’s head of busi­ness cus­tomer and mar­ket­ing, says ini­tia­tives like Carpool Coach­ing are all about find­ing fun and en­gag­ing ways to con­nect with busi­nesses and busi­ness­peo­ple.

“We wanted to bring the coach­ing as­pect of Spark Lab to life,” he says. “Spark Lab gives busi­nesses the chance to learn from busi­ness peo­ple who have real world ex­pe­ri­ences, and Carpool Coach­ing gave us the abil­ity to solve com­mon prob­lems us­ing our ex­perts in a fun and en­gag­ing way.”

Spark Lab is your place to ac­cess truly use­ful re­sources and learn from in­spi­ra­tional peo­ple who know what it takes to achieve real world busi­ness re­sults. Watch Carpool Coach­ing and more at spark­lab.co.nz

From top: Spark’s fully elec­tric Carpool Coach­ing ve­hi­cle ready for ac­tion; Michelle Sokolich soak­ing up the wis­dom of the men­tors from the pas­sen­ger seat, with Sir Ray Avery at the wheel; Wendy Thomp­son (left) and Dr Michelle Dick­in­son lis­ten­ing in­tently from the back; Rick Toner: "It’s in­cred­i­bly valu­able. You can’t put a price on it.”

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