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Rebecca Smith highlights the value of talking about where our products and services come from in overseas markets. It’s a powerful way for exporters to grow their business.

By Rebecca Smith. 

Country of origin is a growing focus overseas and one that New Zealand exporters should be making the most of – and that’s not just for the usual suspects like the food and beverage sector.

Talking about where you come from is one way to help grow your business.

As director of New Zealand Story, I’ve had countless exporters tell me they secured the biggest deals for their company by talking about the story behind their business and where they hail from.

And these results come from a variety of industries. From exporters of wine to foot orthotics, through to film production companies and super-yacht builders – there is significant value in talking about where you come from, your company’s ethos and the fresh ways you solve problems.

As a New Zealand business you have an advantage offshore – if you make the most of it.

New Zealand is easy to do business with, innovative, has well educated people, a transparent government, as well as a strong and trusted infrastructure. These are all advantages we can take for granted.

Being able to trace products and services back to New Zealand is incredibly valuable overseas. And it’s what can set us apart.

Tools at your disposal In 2013 the government launched New Zealand Story, an initiative to develop and grow New Zealand’s international marketing brand.

In order to find out what makes us unique, we worked with industry leaders across the export sector to provide free tools, information and insights to help exporters better communicate their value to the world.

We’ve got images, videos, infographics and presentations that are free for New Zealand exporters to use. We also operate the FernMark Licence Programme (see sidebox), run workshops for exporters on the importance of telling their New Zealand story, and research how New Zealand businesses can best present themselves offshore.
There are tried and true ways of telling your story. We can even suggest what images will work best for New Zealand businesses presenting in the US, versus other countries.

What to talk about?
Building new relationships and finding new sales opportunities is the lifeblood of any business. Talking about the whole story of your business will help deepen your relationships with other companies and help them understand the real value of what you do.

Through our research, we’ve identified that New Zealand’s story is best told using three chapters:
1. Open Spaces
Our land and sea has shaped and inspired us. We are guardians of this place.
2. Open Hearts
Our people, warm, honest, welcoming; with integrity in the way we act.
3. Open Minds
Our resourcefulness and fresh outward way of thinking leads to great innovation.

These chapters are underpinned by three values – kaitiaki, integrity, resourcefulness – qualities that are important to us as New Zealanders and form the foundation of our unique value proposition offshore.

Using these chapters and values will provide you with a framework to help you tell the full story of your company.

Before your next sales presentation think about the whole story of your business – think about the value of your people, the way you go about your business, as well as the ingenuity and originality you offer your customers.

Crafting your story
Once you’ve identified what you want to add to your story, you need to think about how to structure your presentation. Using a simple framework will help shape your thoughts into a logical flow:

1. Situation/Context
What are the conditions that exist for the story? What sets the scene for the information and details to follow? What starts the story?
2. Character
Your customer is the hero of the story. So clearly define who they are – get as detailed as possible. The more you know about them as a human being, the more personal and relevant you can tailor your story.
3. Complication
All stories need tension – a problem to solve – otherwise they’re just plain boring. Understand your customer’s issue. What needs to change in their lives? What do they need help with?
4. Resolution
How does your product/service solve their problems? How is it different from the competitors?

You can also come to one of our free Your NZ Story workshops. It’s a two-and-a-half hour session to help you develop your story. Ultimately it will help grow your business off shore. Visit to book a spot. 


Connecting through the FernMark 
The FernMark Licence Programme is designed to help exporters wanting to connect their products with the valuable story of New Zealand, and at the same time provide an added layer of legal trademark protection. 
Becoming a FernMark licenced business means you can print the FernMark Licence logo on your products. 
Consumers can use their smartphones to access the FernMark Licence Programme’s augmented reality by scanning the FernMark Licence logo. It gives them information about New Zealand and they can also check the authenticity of FernMark licenced products. 
In order to carry the FernMark Licence logo exporters must demonstrate their product is inherently connected to New Zealand through governance, ownership and employees. Their product also needs to be made, grown or designed in New Zealand.   



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