Moving into an overseas market is fraught with challenges, but two New Zealand examples in Rakon and Air New Zealand, demonstrate the power of authentic branding to establish a foothold in foreign markets while also contributing to the value of your asset. Creative director of export branding specialists gardyneHOLT, Fraser Gardyne, says branding for business in an overseas market can be approached in one of two ways. “Either being perceived of as being uniquely Kiwi, without appearing alien, is to your advantage, or you want to differentiate yourself from the competition without being seen as foreign.”
Gardyne cites Kiwi success story and global technology company Rakon – which designs and manufactures world leading frequency control solutions – as an example of a company that demonstrated, without the obligatory hobbits, ferns and butter, that branding can go a long way towards overcoming reservations about New Zealand’s distance or size. “Using good New Zealand design skills, Rakon showed that branding is an important part in establishing a company as a global player on the world stage.”
The other example is Air New Zealand which is enjoying great success while other airlines flounder, to the point that the airline is trading at five-year highs as the Government goes about selling down its stake in the airline. Air New Zealand's success prompted State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall to remark that: "Air New Zealand is one of our most iconic global brands and has regularly been recognised on the world stage as a leading international airline. Its share price has been performing strongly”.
Gardyne says the airline is a prime example of a company that took branding beyond the logos and imagery and into the body and soul of the organisation – from the messages and the way it communicates to how staff dress, their positive attitude and the delivery of an authentic Kiwi experience. “In Air New Zealand’s case it was to their advantage to present a strong Kiwi image because it was a key market differentiator, but they made it so by ensuring that they didn’t just pay lip service to the brand, they actually live the brand. Having constantly innovated to stay on top – whether in social media communications or designing specific new seating technology – they haven't been happy to be part of the crowd amongst all the other global airlines. Instead they’ve made being different and important part of whom they inherently are. To do so they’ve thought outside the square to stay ahead and create new revenue streams."
Gardyne said that based on his agency’s experience – in developing brands for markets such as China, Australia, Singapore, Fiji, the UK and the United States – where a company originates is never as important to customers as an authentic and sincere brand experience. “If you’re a New Zealand company opening in Indonesia, it may be more valuable to present branding that is true to your product or service, while still observing the cultural context, than to simply try and look Indonesian.
“Good branding is about graphic design that reflects the authentic nature and values of your offering and your organisation, regardless of where you are doing business. I think both Rakon and Air New Zealand are living examples of that truth,” said Gardyne.