Using the New Zealand Story to tell your business' story offshore

Over the last two years, New Zealand Story has developed a free, open-source, toolkit of resources available for any business. Idealog talked to a Kiwi company successfully using the material as part of its export drive.

In New Zealand, we often assume the world wants to hear about Rutherford and Hillary and the All Blacks and Lord of the Rings. And maybe they do. But other countries have their own sports legends and scientists and movies. The New Zealand Story project arose from a realisation our international customers need to hear new stories about New Zealand, and Kiwi businesses need fresh and consistent ways to tell those stories.

Stemming from three chapters : open spaces (our land), open hearts (our people) and open minds (our resourcefulness and innovation), the New Zealand Story toolkit contains a large – and expanding – range of images, video, presentations, case studies and infographics, ready-made for New Zealand companies to use as part of their own export marketing proposition. Here is an example of how one Kiwi business has used this material and the chapters to tell their story.

McMullen & Wing, world-leading super yacht builders

Auckland-based McMullen & Wing is one of the world's most respected builders of custom super yachts. During its 45 years in business, the company has built some particularly notable boats, including Black Magic, winner of the 1995 America's Cup.

CEO Michael Eaglen: I think we used to be muddled about what communicating our New Zealandness really meant. We kind of had an idea, but we were too focused on New Zealand scenery. It was largely through engaging with the New Zealand Story material that I started to realise that people come to New Zealand for the scenery, but they go away talking about the people. We needed to find a way of communicating what that meant.

New Zealand Story helped us define the story we tell our prospective customers and brokers. Going from the open spaces, which we all understand, we’ve moved to articulating open hearts and open minds as well. ‘Open hearts’ is about the character of the McMullen & Wing team and the way we relate to people. Then, as a world-leading yacht builder, ‘open minds’ is all about innovation and delivering on that promise in a uniquely New Zealand way.

McMullen & Wing first used a photograph from the New Zealand Story asset library in its booth at the 2014 Monaco Yacht Show. The image of two kids sitting on a pohutukawa tree looking out to the sea, earned such a positive response that McMullen &Wing decided to leverage more of New Zealand Story’s assets.

Initially we tried to create a video using snippets from New Zealand Story’s video, but we couldn’t get it quite right; so we decided to use the video in its entirety and just cut in some of footage of our boats doing amazing things in beautiful places. We just tweaked the balance a bit to bring more of a nautical focus.

We used the video during lunches with the yacht brokerage community in Florida, London and Monte Carlo. Towards the end of the lunch, I snuck up to the front and hit play on the company’s edit of the New Zealand Story video.

It focused their attention on what we were doing and centred the whole event. The brokers expected the usual pitch about some world-class boats, but instead were hit with a lot of material, imagery and inspiration about New Zealand. It really focused on what New Zealand stood for.

I then followed it up with a presentation about how McMullen & Wing has been at the centre of New Zealand’s marine journey for the last 45 years. The challenge is always to differentiate our company from other super yacht builders, and establish and grow relationships with brokers. Leading on from those broker lunches I think they feel they understand me and our company a lot better. After those lunches, it feels more like I’m talking to a friend and they want to get behind what we’re doing, not out of charity but because they think it’s a really cool thing we’re doing.

Our current focus is on building up a set of tools for the brokers to draw from in presenting us to their clients. We’ve already provided them the New Zealand Story video and are working on a new video to sit alongside that, which builds up the McMullen & Wing story in particular. Around each of the products we’re promoting, we’ve included a taste of the New Zealand message.

This article is part three in a four-part series about New Zealand Story and its development. To access the New Zealand Story toolbox of resources, register atwww.nzstory.govt.nz.