New Zealand Week (NZW) is a concentrated period in the year where leading food and beverage exporters collectively promote in the China market via channel activations, events and collaborations.
Activations could be in the form of special menus highlighting New Zealand products or targeted events to promote brands and engage trade and/or local consumers. By concentrating the promotion, exporters benefit from economies of scale and generating more noise in a massive market than would otherwise be achieved by going it alone.
NZW has been operating since 2016, what can we expect in November 2019?
The objective of NZW 2019 is to engage more Chinese chains and groups with regional spread to penetrate cities outside of Shanghai and deliver commercial results for exporters in the form of ‘new trials’ and ‘activations.’ Examples may include the likes of Xiabuxiabu (hot pot chain), Yufeiyu (a seafood chain) and Hongxinhui (Cantonese chain). They can all activate with bespoke New Zealand dishes created especially for the promotion, with many products extending past the promotion period on the seasonal menu.
Regional penetration of chains may be gained via groups like Marriott, which can readily engage 6-8 cities and 12-16 hotels. Major retail groups like Bailian and Greenland, which spread across Eastern China provinces, can also readily engage 20-30 supermarkets.
Taking a closer look at the elements, what does the ‘dine’ component entail?
The aim of the ‘dine’ section is to engage local restaurants to develop special dishes or menus highlighting New Zealand products. This is an opportunity for brands already listed in a particular chain to ‘activate’ by having a special pop out menu or table talker highlighting the dish. In addition, these menus create several new listings as chefs request additional products to fill out their offer. Exporters can strengthen their relationships with key chains and innovate and create new concepts so as to develop or capture emerging consumer trends. This is a great approach for engaging directly with local chefs and venues.
“The amazing thing about NZ Week is that Westgold products have been trialled in new restaurants, for NZ brands it’s a really valued event to connect deeper with Chinese partners.” – Lian Shaw, Westland Dairy
Retail is still relevant in China, so how does this feature?
The aim is to engage retailers to promote New Zealand products on their APPs and/or in their offline stores during New Zealand Week. By activating multiple retailers at once, Exporters can once again amplify the exposure and benefit from economies of scale in terms of design, POSM, project management and talent e.g. Kapa Haka. Exporters promote and drive sales for existing listings and also open doors for pitching products to new retail accounts. Opportunities arise to educate retailers and their consumers on the full product range from New Zealand and to expand into second tier cities beyond the metropolis of Shanghai.
Major retail groups may be engaged, such as Bailian, Hema, and Golden Eagle. Successful activations in second tier cities such as Nanjing and Chengdu are attainable. Those smaller New Zealand brands may find that they have increased bargaining power by sitting alongside other major New Zealand products. Retailers also gain media exposure and customer foot traffic via kapa haka and local government support, which is a win-win for all parties.
Aside from growing sales, where does entertainment and culture feature?
Indeed, engagement in China for the long-run means much more than just making some quick sales and flying home. Events feature throughout New Zealand Week so as to bring Kiwi culture to life, build relationships between exporters and trade partners, and to engage the wider China and New Zealand food and beverage community. Some of the events included in past years included:
- An official launch, where Minister David Parker spoke
- Celebrity Chef engagement, such as Josh Emett teaching local chefs
- Leading winemakers hosting ‘the Godfathers of wine’ events
- Fantastic Kapa Haka performances at many key accounts
- Product launches at New Zealand Central, Xintiandi
- A Kiwi Ball celebrating China – New Zealand culture and business relationships
A full calendar of events through the November 1-17 period of New Zealand Week helps to bring the entire campaign to life. NZW 2019 will also overlap with the China International Import Export (CIIE) which attracts several Exporters to China. Exporters can leverage CIIE, NZW and other events such as Qingdao Seafood Show and/or Food Hotel China to maximise their time in market. The hosting of trade partners can be extensive, with plenty of buzz in the community around New Zealand and opportunities to showcase products.
“As a leading New Zealand iconic brand, Zespri is doing our utmost to promote the best New Zealand kiwifruit to China and the world. New Zealand Week is a great platform for Zespri to help implement our vision.” – Ivan Kinsella, Zespri
With China being a mobile first and highly connected society, where does media feature?
In 2019, the digital media plan is to go bigger and better, with over 5 million impressions and public relations value over RMB 1.5 million. The number of individuals landing on any website or social media platform dedicated for the week should exceed 100,000. Being a mobile first society, a landing page website or WeChat MiniApp will be used so as to manage all core information, content and news, making it easy for all external and internal stakeholders to find, share, and use the information. Media components include:
• Helping partners and Exporters consistently share authentic New Zealand content
• Pushing the ‘New Zealand Story’ and consistent NZW visuals
• Driving traffic to the platform and foot traffic to partner venues
• Keeping the New Zealand community up-to-date with the NZW programme
• Growing brand exposure to increase sales
• Building awareness for NZW with the broader public, especially Chinese foodies
What Exporter participation can be expected in 2019?
NZW 2019 should see around 50-60 exporters sign up across a range of categories including diary, beef/lamb, horticulture, seafood, beverages, and other speciality products. Those Exporters will be at various stages in their China journey, including well-established players such as Fonterra and Zespri through to the newer market entrants. We expect to have coverage across 6-8 cities with over 250 points of activation in core channels. New listings for exporters should exceed 200SKU and activations of existing product should exceed 400SKU.
Timing-wise, the onboarding of exporters and partners happens during the April–June period with concepts and activation plans aligned upon shortly thereafter. Exporters need to have product in market, representation in market, and concepts ready to go well in advance of NZW itself. Come November 2019 it is all about the actual execution of events between exporters and their key partners in China.
“I want to thank you for not only for introducing me to the restaurant, but also the distributor”
– Cindy Wang, Easiyo / Westland Dairy
Information supplied by NZTE: www.nzte.govt.nz