Selling the Rugby World Cup is a challenge for all of us
The Rugby World Cup and 2011 are synonymous; the world is coming to visit and it’s time to tidy our collective room. But if it’s only rugby we’re focusing on, then we could be setting ourselves up for failure.
We need to be looking at the bigger picture. The ‘100% Pure’ slogan works to get tourists to New Zealand but realistically if we’re going to benefit from Rugby World Cup 2011 then we need to think beyond that.
It’s the incidental encounters that people remember. Irrespective of what the game is like, our visitors’ memories will come from the spirit of communities; the nature of who we are and the purity of New Zealanders as a people. We’re unencumbered and most of us have a natural, honest state of mind that’s refreshing to the rest of the world.
Of course, the top-down advertising campaigns, our 100% Pure brand and the big-bang marketing budgets are crucial to New Zealand’s showcase success but these need to be partnered with community experiences that show what it’s really like to be Kiwi.
London is preparing for the 2012 Olympics by selling the London brand to its citizens, before selling it to the world. They’re saying that regardless of what you think about sport, this is London’s time to shine and all Londoners are responsible for that. We should be taking the same approach.
New Zealand’s beauty—our big sales pitch to the rest of the world—is our individualism. Our national traits and characteristics will be best played out in our communities where regions and towns back themselves in immersive, authentic experiences.
It might be a new concept to the business of marketing, but it’s one that’s been developing in the not-for-profit sector for some time. Essentially we’re talking about community-led experiences. People in communities intrinsically know what makes their place unique and how we develop those notions of place, and defining the experiences in our backyards is the best way to promote authentic New Zealand.
Inspiring Communities, a not-for-profit organisation, is using community-led development for social good and has been building neighbourhoods, fostering community connections, growing local economies, solving problems and achieving community goals together.
That’s the kind of grassroots model we should be using for the Rugby World Cup. People in communities, led by their councils or other civic-minded groups need to be encouraged to promote their unique experiences for the betterment of the country. There’s even an existing model: the sesquicentennial celebrations in 1990, when each community decided how best to spend money in each area.
The crucial accommodation shortage is just one Rugby World Cup issue that can be solved using this model. Why would our guests wish to just hang out in disorderly Auckland or windy Wellington, when they could be making lifelong connections in communities throughout the country? Creating the true New Zealand experience is about doing what we do best—being easy, open and accessible; it’s about playing our natural game.
New Zealand companies are known worldwide for breaking boundaries. Let’s prove why our people are as great as our businesses.