In a city that's home to the equivalent of the entire population of New Zealand, where do you even start?
Now I have my head back, I'm on the hunt for inspiration. It comes in many forms; on day one in San Fran it conveniently came to me via shopping. No, really.
Scale. That's all it was. After roaming through Market Street and feeling utterly overwhelmed by my choices (the drug store alone was just mind blowingly big), I was reminded – once again – just how "wee" our beautiful nation is. Hardly a rocket science moment, however, it's easy to get wrapped up in our local opportunities and not consider how vast the ones outside of our own borders are.
I've pounded these pavements for 24 hours now and felt completely daunted. How does one even start to break in? I've been contemplating this and I think, ironically, the only way to enter the US market is by actually being local, not "world dominating".
No matter the size of the city, the same theories around #1 fans apply: finding influencers by tapping into the heart of the industry and expanding out from there. Networking is still key. But it does seem daunting when you’re talking the population of New Zealand in one city. Where do you even start?
Vaughan Rowsell (of Vend and awesome moustache fame) and I discussed at length last night the merits of being a Kiwi cracking into the States. In particular Vaughan mooted that there's a certain charm, a cuteness even, that we Kiwis have simply because we ARE from the smallest, remotest and most beautiful nation in the world. Full credit has to be given to Tourism New Zealand, Flight of the Conchords and Peter Jackson for making the world believe what we've always known to be true.
I tend to agree with the theory. Merely opening my mouth invites conversation and interest, and people are eager to learn more. If cracking into a new market is about networking, this could be a most powerful "in". As any decent sales person will tell you, "it's all about the angles!"
Ten years ago no one would have cared, but now I think this makes us interesting. We're no longer seen as from a backward, backwater part of the world. It's almost like we got a little "indie" recently and it's made us cool. Don't get me wrong; I don't think it's enough to win a pitch or close a deal – at the end of the day you still need to play with the big kids. But it is a good way to kickstart networking.
If I can use being Kiwi as a way to get an audience first of all, then why wouldn’t I?
Jenene Crossan is the founder of nzgirl.co.nz, online research company 18 Ltd, developed Australasia's first female-centric masthead ad network and earlier this year relaunched Flossie.com as a vanity club (a quiet-time appointments website for the hair and beauty industry). She is also a director of bespoke email advertising product Actual Dialogue, has won accolades throughout the world and developed a solid reputation for being an opinionated bossy-britches unwilling to sit still
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