Idealog’s third issue is a must-buy: not only does it talk about Generation C—those folks who use YouTube and Flickr a lot more than me—but founder Vincent Heeringa, surely one of the more visionary commentators on New Zealand business, has a column on the sorry state of marketing here.
We are great innovators, since Vincent, but we are not good at commercializing those innovations. Foreigners come in and New Zealand becomes more a playground for them. He even brieﬂy mentions how designers recently came together and said that design was a ‘key enabler’ but I sense he did not think as much of that—in fact, I was far more critical of the resulting document and called it a selection of words which I won’t republish.
Instead, our marketing has been backward and exhibits little of the innovation New Zealanders are capable of in other sectors. It smacks of 1980s’ textbooks. The talent is here, I would argue, but it happily goes offshore because no one domestically gives two hoots.
I have been invited to speak on marketing here and there, though I don’t get paid much domestically. Being a marketing visionary isn’t as widely appreciated. I get a pretty tidy fee from Europe and the United States.
I volunteer for government bodies and tell them I will provide my exporting, branding and marketing knowledge for free. I am, after all, still the only active antipodean at Medinge. My record is pretty sharp. But, as with my lament over exports, no one has ever taken me up on my offers. Conclusion after many years: New Zealand says it wants to export, but doesn’t. Government policies have been mixed at best, and the evidence—static exports as a proportion of GDP over 40 years and a largely static mix of those exports—speaks for itself.
Vincent is 100 per cent right, which is why Errol Saldanha set up a branding association for Kiwis at Kiwibranding, though we are yet to actively market it.
I do not necessarily believe it is in creating associations of hundreds of people, because you get hangers-on who don’t contribute. Smaller groups like Medinge are having greater effect because we are active. We have been discussing a new programme which will act as a form of outreach in ﬁnding other visionaries, something which I will share later.
I believe that within our current marketing associations there is room for cleverer thinking; and the media should be more on to it with this subject. They should look at, perhaps, New Zealanders who have found success abroad and analyse them from a marketing and branding point of view. And Vincent’s own suggestion, of joining a dialogue at Idealog, is another ﬁne idea.
Del.icio.us tags: New Zealand marketing branding Idealog export Posted by Jack Yan, 21:40
Jack, as I read your lament concerning New Zealand it reminded me of Iowa, USA where I live. The gap between what we say we want in terms of economic development and what we do is much the same.
When you wrote, "We are great innovators but we are not good at commercializing those innovations." I thought of the digital computer, invented at Iowa State University but developed in terms of economic power everywhere but Iowa.
No answers here, just a shared lament...and a sustained question - "what needs to change?"
One thing I do know - in my brand ownership presentations I find myself sounding more and more like an Old Testament prophet calling for a change of heart! grin
Hi Michael—it’s interesting to read about how you’ve found Iowa. I guess we have a lot in common: Iowa and New Zealand have foundations in primary products, have a lot of smart people, and yet don’t always get the commercialization end. And that discourages those who are, say, marketing geniuses to remain home—they go off to places “where the action is”. By the time they come back, they are older, less energetic, and want to settle.Post a Comment
The ﬂip side is that we can’t begin by saying we are commercially vibrant, because we are not—though if these folks heard this they would be encouraged to stay.
I guess one thing we could do is keep blogging away. I have found other New Zealanders this way and know that I am not alone. Get together a bunch of people who are equally passionate and smart, and things can change. Peter Jackson, the ﬁlm-maker, is our example, though interestingly he is lauded more for his ﬁlms here, when I think a great deal of his genius was accepting that we have a wired world where talent can come together as a “hub”. The trick is to assemble that hub, which will attract people to it—and he has been fortunate and hard-working enough to see it through. That is where he has one up on me—I get worn out too darned easily!
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