Koloa’s Tsunami Marketing wins prestigious Web-design awards

How is it that a tiny Koloa company is able to garner national marketing awards, as well as statewide honors in Web design?

“I think the biggest asset that we have is, we just have a really strong team, and we really try to focus,” said Valerie Rekward, vice president of Tsunami Marketing.

“We do the creative part of a project, stay very focused on that one client’s project during the duration of it, and then we move on to the next project,” she said.

Where other, larger, marketing, advertising and public relations companies oftentimes have multiple projects moving at the same time, Tsunami being smaller can focus on a single client’s needs, she added.

The focus has again paid off, as the company recently won a pair of awards at the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Honolulu chapter and Hawai’i printers Hawaii’s 5-0 best print and web designs awards.

The company’s “Everyone Needs Water…” design, seen at www.lastbestplace.com, was named one of the top three Web designs in the contest for designs designed and created solely in Hawai’i.

Ironically, the design is for a real estate company in Bigfork, Mont.

The “Kauai Loves Film” project, at www.filmkauai.com, won an award for excellence in Web design. This work was commissioned by the Kauai Film Commission in the county Office of Economic Development.

“These are great recognitions within the state of Hawai’i,” she said of the AIGA awards.

The focus could be the competitive advantage that allows Tsunami to compete effectively against much-larger companies.

“I think that our focus might be the thing that makes a distinction for us,” she said. Larger companies with higher overhead don’t always have the time to devote to the team approach that is the rule at Tsunami, she continued.

“Usually, the first idea that you come up with isn’t always the best one.”

The larger agencies go through a similar creative process, beginning with the creative director’s creative brief, all the while keeping all eyes on the parameters, goals and objectives of the client, Rekward explained.

The creative director and account manager are normally the ones who are the hardest to please, she said.

“Any solution that we come up with must meet those criteria in order to be successful for the client. The client will provide us with specific goals and objectives, and from there what we need to do is make sure that whatever solution we come up with, no matter how great it might be, if it doesn’t give us that end result that we want, then we haven’t succeeded,” she said.

“In order for us to have integrity, with our client and within ourselves, we need to make sure that that solution is the right one,” said Rekward.

“We’re dedicated to coming up with the killer idea on every project, and I think that’s what kind of sets us apart. We don’t just go with that first one (idea) and run with it,” she continued.

Those killer ideas give clients product differentiation, make them stand out among similar companies and products, she said.

Tsunami may be best known for its interactive Web designs, but it also does brand development, and has won awards for print advertisements as well, Rekward noted.

“We’re not just a one-trick pony.”

Business Editor Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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