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Kiwi or New Zealanders?

Woman in forest

Kiwi or New Zealanders?

In a nutshell

  1. Call us Kiwi: two thirds of people we interviewed wanted to be known as Kiwi.
  2. Remember to acknowledge and appreciate people's commitment to buying Kiwi products and services. 
  3. And behave like a Kiwi - be fair, support connection, and do the right thing.

A recent survey of over 2000 people gave us the answer to this question. Two thirds of us want to be known as Kiwi. And younger people, plus people with a progressive MindSet* over index on this. 

Historically we were known as Kiwi, but as the nation matured, the term felt at best endearing and at worst patronising so we moved toward the more respectful moniker of New Zealander. However, as our place on the world stage has evolved to become globally respected as an innovative, high achieving and humane society, so have we become reattached to being Kiwi. Brands should acknowledge our new-found pride in the kiwi badge when they talk to people. 

Moreover, we want to buy Kiwi. The days of overseas goods having all the cache are receding. European beer was once held in highest esteem whereas today we admire our homegrown craft beers and mass market beers such as Tokyo Dry. Only 1% of our sample said they preferred buying overseas brands overall and over 70% said they tried to buy or mostly bought Kiwi products.

How will the current situation affect these opinions? To some extent it will depend upon how New Zealand companies perform and how we compare with the behaviour of overseas companies. In times of stress our natural response is to retreat into our cave and to stick with what’s familiar so there is good opportunity for Kiwi brands to be culturally relevant. 

But, it’s not enough to be a Kiwi brand. You’ll need to behave like a Kiwi – value fairness, acknowledge our deep seated desire for connection and do the right thing. And global brands with a Kiwi presence can do this too. Speaking to the Kiwi DNA will not only help see you through today’s challenges, but it’s also how you’ll be remembered when life gets back to normal. 

*MindSets: a TRA framework for understanding New Zealanders

Read the other articles in this series:

When progress is on pause, how should organisations behave?

A nation of independently minded rule-benders
When visions of a new life add uncertainty
What do Kiwis want brands to get behind?

Colleen Ryan, Partner at TRA, headshot in black and white
Colleen Ryan
Partner at TRA
Colleen has a curious and strategic mindset fueled by 40 years of experience in business across Europe, North America and APAC countries. With a fascination and deep understanding of what it is to be human, specifically applying principles from cultural sociology, social psychology, behavioural science, and cultural analysis, she brings breakthrough insights to brand strategy, creative development and customer centricity.

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