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Why do we need a New Zealand Story

22 Jun 2015
By Rebecca Smith

When you think of German products you think precision. Think Italy and you’ll think of brands designed with passion and flair. Many people instinctively trust doing business with Scandinavian countries – and we avoid countries we don’t trust.

But why is this? It’s because people respond to the brand identity of a nation in the same way they respond to commercial brands like Nike, Apple or BMW. And like those other valuable global brands – our countries reputation can give us a significant competitive advantage.

Our ‘brand’ is our reputation.

A ‘brand’ is a marketing term that talks to reputation. It’s the feeling people have when they think of a product (or nation). Brand is the reason people are happy to pay more for BMW or Apple. And in a world of infinite choice, brand opens the door to conversations by helping people sort the players from the rest of the field.

The science behind ‘Stories’.

There’s lots of research on the value of telling stories to build a countries reputation. If you follow TED, you may have come across Simon Anholt. He developed the concept of the Nation Brand Index and talks about six areas of national competence that people use to form their thinking about a country. These are exports, governance, investment and immigration, culture and heritage, people, and finally tourism.

If we’re to compete on a world stage and give our exporters an extra edge in trade discussions, we need to expand our New Zealand story.

What is our New Zealand story?

Right now, when people think of New Zealand, they think of wide, open spaces and breathtaking scenery. That’s no surprise given the longstanding success of our 100% Pure New Zealand tourism campaign and the global impact of movies like Lord of the Rings.

It makes a great story for tourism. But New Zealand is more than a film set. Our people are innovative thinkers who work well with others. We create brilliant products and deliver outstanding service. These are the stories we need to be telling.

Our story is built on our values.

The New Zealand Story has been developed around three core values that New Zealand businesses have in common: our Integrity, our Resourcefulness and the passion we share for protecting our beautiful country for future generations. This ‘guardianship’ of people and place is something Māori express as Kaitiaki. You can read more about our values and their place in the New Zealand Story here. 

The value of a good story.

Since the beginning of time, people have used stories to share ideas, celebrate success and influence future generations. Stories bring ideas to life in a way that makes them both memorable and shareable. That’s why we’re investing in genuinely useful tools and frameworks that can help all export businesses have more global impact by flying their Kiwi colours and sharing their own New Zealand stories.

We’re lucky to live in New Zealand. It’s an incredible country that already punches well above its weight. But we’re small. So we need to highlight our competitive advantage to thrive at a global level. That’s why we need a New Zealand Story.