Chris Reed
Oct 3, 2013

New Zealand: Great southland of marketing opportunity (part 1)

New Zealand is an amazing place. Any country that has 4.5 million people in it and can run the American’s so close at the American’s Cup with a tenth of the budget has to be admired. It is a country that has an immense amount of potential as well great history to market.

New Zealand: Great southland of marketing opportunity (part 1)

On a recent trip I was taken aback by the number of opportunities New Zealand has to market itself as the ultimate tourist destination. For example, when I said I was going skiing in New Zealand, many people looked at me blankly as if the thought of skiing in New Zealand had never occurred to them as being possible. It’s a theme that keeps resonating, which to me means that New Zealand tourism could be doing much more in terms of communicating the wide array of amazing things that you can do in New Zealand.

You can do all the Middle Earth Hobbit marketing you like, but if you don’t tie it to what people actually do or want to do then maybe New Zealand tourism are missing a trick. Interestingly, the New Zealand social media and online presence is all about Middle Earth and the Hobbit films, but this doesn’t correspond to when you’re actually there.

Part 2 on local brands, food, service, The Hobbit, facebook and more coming

New Zealand social media presence leaves much to be desired. For a country so full of amazing content only using four platforms is underestimating what can be achieved through social media. Strangely they have chosen flickr over Instagram and have no google+ for example.

They have 900,000 followers on facebook, only 50,000 on twitter, 9,000 on YouTube and only 500 members on flickr. All platforms are rich in content but lack interaction and engagement. There are so many different content areas that could be used to engage all the different parts of the target audience, they are missing a few tricks.

Clearly sport is a key passion of New Zealanders and they took immense pride in the America’s Cup. It dominated TV news and newspapers and general discussions while the tournament was on. It’s a great marketing vehicle too. Yachting in New Zealand is a big activity for locals and tourists alike and being presented on the world stage is always a great advertisement for the country.

The number one sport in New Zealand is rugby union and having the reigning world champions, The All Blacks, as the country’s brand ambassadors is a powerful message that the tourism team can use. The All Black’s brand is iconic beyond rugby with the Haka being a spine-tingling experience to watch. Whether you like rugby or not the experience of watching the Haka in a pub full of locals and some tourists who all roared when it finished was just fantastic!

Extreme sports is a key selling point. Queenstown, often known for skiing and extreme sports, is twice as busy during the summer than winter with the amount of outdoor activities that it offers. Bungy jumping to skydiving at one end to hiking and mountain bike riding at the other can actually be done all year around. Skiing for a good 6 months. Most of the skiers I met were not locals but from the UK and Europe with some Aussies thrown in.

Wine is big business in New Zealand. I met more than one hotel/restaurant manager and wine maker who predicted that they would overtake France in the coming years. From a Singaporean perspective it is actually cheaper to go to New Zealand, buy wine and have them ship it back than it is to actually buy New Zealand wine, (or in fact any wine!) in Singapore!

I am actually surprised that there are not more wine sites in facebook’s top fan sites as it is clearly a national passion. For that matter The All Blacks aren’t there either which is also weird given both their local and global stature.

I went on lots of wine buying tours when I was there and the consistent theme was that the people buying the wine were 70% from New Zealand, 25% from Australia and 5% from elsewhere!! Although I saw plenty of wine tours to the larger wineries from places like Korea and Japan, not many were actually buying though….

The really interesting angle that New Zealand tourism clearly have cracked is the Japanese and Korean markets. In several of the ski resorts I visited not only did they have signs in English and Japanese, they also had dedicated Japanese TV channels, guides and food and drink! In fact I saw more Japanese tourists than anyone else outside of Queenstown.


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