A team of dedicated tourism marketers are selling New Zealand as a 100% Pure destination. What happens when the brand doesn’t follow through on its promises?

Increasing your marketing and creating a new logo doesn’t change who you are. A brand company can receive the best brief in the world. What would you do in my shoes if a DVD rental company came to me and asked for a rebrand – a new logo, a positioning statement, a social media campaign, to help them respond to the downturn in their business? Should I take their money knowing that only a major change in their business model, product and way of conducting business is the only thing that could save them?

I realise this is an extreme example but is New Zealand heading down the same track? We have invested heavily in changing our landscape and culture to accommodate dairying. And while it is bringing in a profit now, is it wise to continue to go in this direction when it is in complete contrast with the real, ongoing, underlying values of this country? The most disturbing and frustrating thing is that we are actually marketing New Zealand as clean and green while continuing to change the green nature of our landscape. It is frustrating because, as we spend money on tourism promotion we are admitting to knowing this is the way of the future, but we don’t want to let go of the fast, but often volatile, cash it brings us.

When it is not a priority for our country to have 100% swimmable, let alone drinkable waterways than by advertising us as 100% Pure (view the article here), in whatever context the marketers are implying, are we not going down the path of trying to promote our DVD rental store instead of addressing the real issue with the country as a business?

As a small country, with limited finances, we can think of ourselves as the small business. Small businesses have small budgets. But, small businesses have the ability to change their business offering with relative ease (and smart planning). We do this with our clients by having that grassroots, heart to heart with them. What are the underlying values of the business? What are they passionate about? Why did they go into business in the first place?

New Zealand should ask us the same questions. We don’t need to dig too deep to find the answers.

In April the New Zealand Herald reported that tourism has passed dairying as our biggest export earner (check out the article here), so we’re already on the right path. In fact, we’ve always been on the right path, but we’ve gotten distracted by the ‘easy cash’ that dairying has given us. Now we’ve made the money, we’re out of debt, we need to implement a plan that brings us back to our core values.


Amanda van Kuppevelt

Owner and founder of Delineate who's mad keen about client successes