By Sarah Morgan
Last month, we shared some thinking on telling your story through images. This month, we’re expanding on that and exploring ways to tell your story through actions; by the way you go about your business. Because while talk is good, it’s far better to walk the walk.
Last month I visited Christchurch pet food company, K9 Natural, who had just returned from hosting a pop-up café in Seattle – Bone Appetite. Yes, a café purposely designed for pets to munch through a menu full of New Zealand goodness. One of the questions I asked was, “What role does ‘being of New Zealand’ play when you’re entering the US?” The answer came back, “It’s not necessarily the focus, more of a support”. And there I beg to differ. K9 Natural are walking the walk – they just don’t talk it up.
Without realising, we have so many unique attributes that other nations lack. It’s these that build our reputation and drive preference for our products around the globe. But to have an even bigger impact, we need to truly embrace what sets us apart; that unique Kiwi spirit.
Here’s just a few of the ways our actions drive preference:
1. Our approach to solving problems; we’re a nation of problem solvers who relish challenges and find new ways to approach them. K9 Natural didn’t necessarily have a big marketing budget or a large team to help build their profile and attract new customers. But by doing desk research to profile regions, cities and people within America, they were able to identify the best location to reach their target market – people who want the best pet food for their four-legged friends.
2. Being disruptive; this is an interesting phrase and closely aligned to the above. It’s that ability to think outside the box. As an island nation, we have a fresh perspective in the way we think and do things. There’s no-one looking over our shoulder telling us how it should be done. Who would have thought that creating a pop up café for pets would be a great way to gain awareness, insights and prospects? K9 Natural did.
3. Being global but acting local; this is so relevant for any company looking to expand their market beyond New Zealand. Understanding the local culture, identifying who you can work with, the connections you have, and who shares the same values. It’s a bonus if those connections have a large following. Choosing John Lark, one of Seattle’s famous chefs, enabled K9 Natural to attract media interest and leverage his fans to create a new band of loyal customers.
4. Connecting with customers to generate insights; your customers here in New Zealand will be completely different to your customers in Shanghai, Berlin, Dubai or Seattle. But being willing to listen, talk and interact with customers in those markets provides valuable insights and ideas you can use in research for future product development. So create an environment that allows you to connect with the people on the ground.
5. Building relationships that last; New Zealand already has a great reputation for being easy to do business with. Much of that reputation is built from building strong relationships with both distributors and customers. K9 Natural took that one step further by creating a memorable experience that took the category into a new direction. Samples of high meat, grain-free pet food – and the paws did the talking.
So what makes us truly unique as a nation? It’s all of the above. Our transparency, our drive, our innovation, our bold ways of thinking. It all influences the way we act and interact with the world. So embrace it – and walk that walk.