The New Zealand masterbrand

A twenty-year-old issue resolved





New Zealand Masterbrand

In the 1990’s, New Zealand was undergoing tough economic times. Nation branding was seen as a way to improve its position. The image developed to represent the nation’s masterbrand, a silver fern frond, was created by New Zealand Way, a collaborative agency comprising key members of the tourism and trade development boards to promote New Zealand abroad. While it saw remarkable success in its use by the tourism board for destination brand campaigns, political in-fighting prevented adoption by other agencies.

Aesthetically, the masterbrand resonated, but unfortunately, every department interpreted the New Zealand nation-brand in its own way. As a consequence, there was a need to bring greater clarity and coherence to the masterbrand so it could be commonly understood and used more effectively to support the interests of New Zealand.

As a small nation, geographically isolated from major markets, the New Zealand masterbrand is of critical importance to promoting the country’s products and services. Interbrand was tasked with achieving what had not been possible in the twenty years since the masterbrand had been created. Over many months, we counseled 24 government agencies and the Government Cabinet of New Zealand, facilitating the adoption of the masterbrand across all departments and achieving unanimous agreement on its usage.

To accomplish this, we approached the Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade to champion the process within government, agreed to officially launch the masterbrand at the world’s third largest sporting event (the Rugby World Cup), and developed brand architecture and guidelines that reflected domestic and offshore departments, agencies, public-private partnerships and other private sector partners.

Launched at the Rugby World Cup 2011, the New Zealand Way masterbrand has been adopted by 24 different stakeholder agencies to date, with implementation staggered according to the branding cycles of each agency. As a result, all government agencies bear what is now iconic livery—a particularly valuable asset when multiple agencies engage with an offshore entity.

Further demonstrating its success, the masterbrand has been opened up for adoption by New Zealand’s leading exporters, generating further value for the New Zealand nation brand. To ensure that the masterbrand continues to work for New Zealand, a five-year brand value creation strategy is now underway to measure the masterbrand against Interbrand’s brand strength factors and role of brand.