Kono consolidates and rebrands with an eye on Asia

Wakatū Incorporation's food and beverage business arm has undergone a total makeover designed to boost exports, in particular to Asia.

Nelson-based Wakatū was established in the 1970s to administer land assets, which make up 70 percent of its business.

Its food interests, Aotearoa Seafoods, Tohu Wines and Ngatahi Horticulture, make up the remaining 30 percent and are now known as Kono NZ LP.

Wakatū and Wellington design agency Mission Hall have spent the last nine years working in tandem on the brand's reinvention. Wakatū began using the koru logo in 2003 on fruit exports to France and Belgium, then on mussel exports and on wine exports to the US in 2007 and 2008.

The whole food division has been given a facelift, from website to product, packaging, and the various business units were all combined into one entity.

The new brand colours were selected based on Asian consumers' feedback, who preferred the blue and green colours to the standard black associated with many New Zealand brands.

“This [branding] is particularly effective in China. China is potentially the largest market for our seafood and we have established relationships and cultural similarities between our Māori way of doing business and the Chinese approach,” Kono chief executive Keith Palmer says.

The redesign allowed Kono (Māori for hospitality) to emphasise its cultural values and connection to nature. The blue is representative of the ocean, the green nature and forests to emphasis Kono’s connection with the natural world.

Kono's Manaaki sector general manager, Roparta Taylor, says: "Kono encapsulates New Zealand's renowned icons and celebrates them on a global stage – blending our culture, heritage, landscape and environmental ethics in a distinct food and beverage brand."

Kono has moved from a single-product market originally exporting apples to a multi-product market exporting seafood and wine. In the future the company plans to introduce new products under the Kono brand.

Food and beverages produced by Kono are consumed in 25 countries around the world, including in the US, Australia, Asia and the UK.

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