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A new internal creative agency & brand platform at Xero

Xero is a cloud-based business platform that exists to change the game for small business worldwide. They've twice been named Forbes' #1 most innovative growth company on earth.
Man on Fire helped their new 70-person creative agency find Xero's storytelling voice, and developed the company's first global brand platform with internal leaders and M&C Saatchi Australia.

Key services and results:
  • Inhouse story capability
  • Award-winning global brand platform
  • Above-the-line campaigns in all markets
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Starting up the future of work with Runn

Founded by a team from SilverStripe, Spark, Xero, and BMW, Runn is a Kiwi technology startup built around managing time and money in digital projects. 

Man on Fire helped shape Runn's strategic story, product positioning, and investment case, resulting in (to date) two successful funding rounds and continued growth. 

Key services and results:
  • Head of Strategy partnership
  • Strategic story & investment pitch development
  • Successful capital raises

"We now have clarity on the product vision, the type of company we want to build, and a framework to communicate that to the world!"

Nicole Tiefensee | co-founder of Runn

Human-led narrative design for a $2.2 billion urban recovery

Canterbury's earthquake recovery brought together communities, urban design, policy, and hundreds of agencies and stakeholder groups.
But the recovery story struggled with human focus amid complexity.
Man on Fire worked under intense pressure to design connective, large-scale story structures that drove understanding and engagement across the board.
Key services and results:
  • Strategic messaging framework
  • Successful re-imagining of $2.2 billion vision document 

Flipping the global workplace conversation

Riders&elephants, led by Jeremy Dean, exists to create successful, empathy-driven organisations and leaders. The company's Emotional Culture Deck tool is used by over 7,000 leaders worldwide in 80 countries, at organisations including Xero, Westpac, Air New Zealand, InfusionSoft, Panasonic, Daimler, and New Zealand Rugby. 

Man on Fire is proud to be working in strategic partnership with riders&elephants as they spark positive change across future workplaces. 

Key services and results:
  • Core messaging and brand story driving rapid sales growth
  • Product-to-ecosystem strategy
  • Long-term growth partnership 

Read the riders&elephants case study here.

"Working with Colin has been a true partnership."

Jeremy Dean | founder of riders&elephants

Better citizen services

Somar Digital is New Zealand’s leading Citizen Experience Agency, helping government agencies and not-for-profit organisations offer social services to people through digital technology. 

Man on Fire is proud to be working in long-term partnership with Somar as they change the game for Kiwi citizens. 

Key services and results:
  • Strategic positioning & Advisory Board
  • 4-year business transformation pathway
  • NZ Fast 50 growth

"…helped guide the company through significant growth and change in a complex environment…tremendous integrity and humanity."

Fiona Reid | COO of Somar Digital


International growth in a delicious social enterprise

The Wellington Chocolate Factory creates social and economic value at every step from cocoa plantation to taste buds.
Man on Fire helped refine their purpose-driven business model and take it global through strategic advisory, brand storytelling, and a world-first crowdfunding approach.

Key services and results:
  • Ecosystem-based strategy & implementation
  • Award-winning brand story
  • Unique crowdfunding campaign driving global recognition and sales

Read the WCF case study here.

"There is no textbook for making something new. Colin understands this."

Rochelle Alagar | co-founder Wellington Chocolate Factory

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Rapid value creation with 

Trinsic Labs

Man on Fire leads and co-ordinates Trinsic Labs, an ongoing innovation lab programme aimed at bringing together diverse teams to tackle compelling problems at speed. 

Stakehouse is a digital tool for easy stakeholder engagement mapping, developed with public sector practitioners across New Zealand. It’s free; open source; and enjoying rapid uptake.

Divvy is a simple blockchain voting machine, a first step in exploring 'trust-less' governance in projects and organisations. 

Key services and results:
  • Innovation lab creation
  • Rapid scoping, prototyping, testing and investment
  • Ongoing process improvement and learning cadence
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Project Tempest: an interactive story world

Stories shape the world. But the next 10 years will bring a sea change in how people connect with interactive environments, as metaverses emerge. 

Tempest Bay is a strange imaginary town that's a platform for our own growing story world. See what we're doing at

Key services and results:
  • Story development
  • Platform, publishing & community
  • Shortlisted for Australasian Shadows & International Shirley Jackson awards 

"… hauntingly lyrical and delightfully strange .... highly original in tone, concept, and execution"

BookLife Prize | Publishers Weekly

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