New global research released today by New Zealand Story, the government agency helping businesses tell their story to the world, has revealed key shifts in how the country’s trading partners perceive New Zealand in 2021 compared to 12 months ago – with some positives, and some alarm bells.
The research, conducted by One Picture in August and September 2021, shows that New Zealand continues to be perceived as progressive, inclusive and decisive by the majority of key international markets including Australia, China and the US. However, some markets including Germany, Dubai and Japan are forming perceptions that New Zealand is isolated, unfamiliar, unprepared and closed.
Recently-appointed New Zealand Story CEO David Downs says there is huge opportunity to leverage the positive attributes the world sees in New Zealand. However, businesses need to address and combat some hard truths starting to emerge in select markets.
“Being closed in a pre-vaccine world earned us respect,” says Downs. “However, with the world starting to re-open, vaccination rates and re-opening strategies are becoming the new measures of success.
“It’s the perfect time for New Zealand’s largest sectors to show the world we’re still open for business. They can leverage the evidence that the world cares about who we are, how we live, and how we treat others. We can see from this research that global perceptions continue to evolve and widen.
“To combat any negative perceptions, we need to highlight the positives of our COVID-19 response, and how that demonstrates the core values others admire in us; our care for people, and our willingness to make tough decisions to do the right thing.”
The research highlights the need for New Zealand to share its stories in order to make the country stand out as a trading partner, ensuring New Zealand is front of mind. Tailoring messages to international audiences is important, so that when the time is right, the country can welcome back the tourists, traders and students.
New associations with New Zealand are positive, with consumers noting the qualities of integrity, ingenuity, care and respect that make New Zealand stand out. While the values of community, fairness, and a place for premium products continues to hold true.
As part of its services to support New Zealand businesses and organisations telling their stories, New Zealand Story is expanding its consultancy offering. It will support groups focused on an international audience with insight-led advice, working closely with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), to leverage the positive perceptions consumers and buyers hold of New Zealand.
“Now more than ever, the world needs to see and hear the right stories to aid our recovery when New Zealand re‑opens. To support New Zealand businesses with this, we’re welcoming conversations with organisations focussed internationally. Let’s remind the world what we’re great at. Keeping this awareness up is absolutely critical in this transition phase.
“The research findings are a timely reminder to our team of six million Kiwis, here and globally, that we need to be proud of New Zealand’s values and what we offer the world – even when it’s difficult,” says Downs.
 One Picture Research: Global Pulse Check 2021; 14 online consumer focus groups and 13 business interviews in 10 markets (Australia, UK, USA, China, Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, Dubai and New Zealand).