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Craig Parker is riding a new wave

Photos: Daniel Hines

After returning to Tauranga, Craig Parker has secured his dream role at WAVE Creative Communications Agency, the company who took him on as an intern over ten years ago.

As the new Creative Director at WAVE, Craig is in charge of the creative team, and he says he aims to get the best out of his team and to put forward strong creative works.

Craig says his team works on a range of projects as they have a wide range of clients.

“We do everything from projects, through to design, advertising, and communications, it can be commercial, or a social media campaign, or a brand ID job.”

The best part of the Creative Director job is doing something new every day, says Craig.

“In my career I’ve sold things from toilet paper through to really expensive sports cars.

“The fun is getting your head into a new business each week and finding how to solve their problems.”

Craig says WAVE has a wide range of clients and they work on diverse projects, including Zespri and Ballance in the agricultural sector, and at the moment they are working on behaviour change campaigns with the Tauranga City Council.

WAVE employees have a significant focus on solving problems, and that is the framework they base their creative projects around, says Craig.

“Creativity is ultimately about problem solving, that’s the key. Each project or client we work with, it’s not about doing something creative, it’s about solving a problem that they have and that’s where the fun comes in.

“Our job as a creative agency is to actually determine what the real problem is, and recently we started working on a campaign with the city council, stopping flushable wipes down the toilet, because they are causing massive blockages.

“We are out of selling products to solving a Tauranga sewage problem, and that’s the fun of it, getting our heads deep into what the problem is, and finding the best solution.”

Craig says the entire team at WAVE work collectively to solve problems, and he says the team works very well together due to their positive culture.

“The key is culture, and WAVE really embraces that. Having a really strong culture with people that understand each other’s strengths helps to get the best solutions for problems.

“It’s not just about a designer coming up with something that looks pretty, it’s about how all those people can collaborate.

“Nicki Everitt, the WAVE Operations Manager has been working with the whole team on understanding our strengths, and that has been really key to the agency, being so successful and allowing us to work so collaboratively with each other.

“It’s been a key ingredient.”

Personally, Craig says his previous experiences have prepared him for the role of Creative Director at WAVE.

“I started as an intern at WAVE as a designer ten years ago, and I was trying to find where I fit in, but I knew creativity was what got me excited.

“I worked in fashion for a little bit at the local fashion house RPM clothing, before heading off to Australia where I got my first job as an Art Director and worked at a full services agency over there.”

Not long after working in Australia, Craig says he realised ideas and creative thinking got him excited, more so than the way something looked.

“From there, my now wife and I went to London, which was learning a game working big budgets and seeing how their industry worked, and the fast pace of it.”

Following his overseas endeavors, Craig moved to Auckland where he worked for four years, and when his wife became pregnant with their daughter who is now one, they decided to move back to Tauranga.

“We wanted our Tauranga lifestyle back ten years later, and an opportunity popped up at WAVE, it was perfect timing.

“I joined the agency as an Art Director with the hopes to grow into this role, and it’s been an awesome first year with some cool opportunities and cool projects.

“I progressed into the role quicker than I thought.”

At WAVE, Craig says he works closely along with one of the directors and the Creative Strategist, Brendan Herring, to help build the creative teams culture.

“Brendan is a very creative and clever person, and he’s been the agencies creative director in years past, and when I was an intern.

“He’s got a real leadership role in the creative team and I look up to him in that leadership he brings.”

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