STEPHEN ENG­LAND-HALL

Tourism New Zealand

New Zealand Marketing - - Shorts -

In April last year, Stephen Eng­land-hall took over the chief ex­ec­u­tive chair of Tourism New Zealand. He brought with him ex­pe­ri­ence from his pre­vi­ous role as chief ex­ec­u­tive of Loy­alty New Zealand af­ter cross­ing over from the agency side to client side. Hav­ing now made him­self at home at Tourism New Zealand, Eng­land-hall fills us in on how the com­pany is mov­ing into the fu­ture, the role of tech­nol­ogy in mar­ket­ing and how both fit into the C-suite.

On the evo­lu­tion of the ‘100% Pure’ strat­egy

STEPHEN: For New Zealand, it’s very clear our coun­try brand is based on three core pil­lars: it’s a beau­ti­ful place with warm, wel­com­ing peo­ple who do re­ally good things – ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ as a cam­paign re­ally fo­cuses on telling that story to an au­di­ence of in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors.

We’ve de­cided to turn up the dial, on the amount of grav­ity in our con­tent that leans to­wards the peo­ple pil­lar and what’s re­ally driv­ing that is two things:

The first is we think one of the most im­pres­sive and pow­er­ful things about a visit to New Zealand is the feel­ing you have about our peo­ple.

The sec­ond thing is that our land­scape-type strat­egy over a long time has been very suc­cess­ful for us, in fact so suc­cess­ful, a large num­ber of other coun­tries are copy­ing that method­ol­ogy. So what we have been look­ing at with the ‘100% Pure’ cam­paign is turn­ing up some­thing that is truly uniquely New Zealand.

Although New Zealand’s land­scapes are unique to New Zealand be­cause of the di­ver­sity and how close they are to each other, we are not the only coun­try in the world with moun­tains, forests, glaciers, beaches or vol­ca­noes.

On es­tab­lish­ing a brand pur­pose

There’s two parts to do­ing it.

One is look­ing at what peo­ple are al­ready say­ing about you and look­ing for the truths in what is be­ing said to am­plify those though your brand strat­egy and mar­ket­ing. It’s much eas­ier to build au­then­tic­ity based on some­thing that al­ready ex­ists.

The sec­ond is look­ing at your brand and what it does, how it does things, and how it be­haves and acts and de­ter­min­ing whether or not those are con­sis­tent with the con­ver­sa­tions it’s try­ing to gen­er­ate and sup­port. If you look at your brand and you go ‘wow none of this aligns with our val­ues’, then you are prob­a­bly not go­ing to be very suc­cess­ful at be­ing au­then­tic and hav­ing that true brand pur­pose.

If it’s aligned, that gets seen and heard.

On fac­ing crit­i­cism

‘100% Pure’ has faced crit­i­cism since the day it went live in 1999. What you learn is not all voices are equal and

when you are fac­ing crit­i­cism there’s a ques­tion you need to ask: who is it that’s crit­i­cis­ing you?

‘100% Pure’ has al­ways stood for a com­mit­ment to a truly unique ex­pe­ri­ence that’s only avail­able in New Zealand – that’s the core essence of it.

From Tourism New Zealand’s point of view, that claim is still true to this day as New Zealand is a beau­ti­ful place full of good peo­ple do­ing good things.

We al­ways ask if we are telling the truth and whether we are be­ing au­then­tic to that ini­tial idea and, most im­por­tantly, whether our vis­i­tors be­lieve us and say their ex­pe­ri­ence of New Zealand has de­liv­ered or ex­ceeded their ex­pec­ta­tions.

We see 96-98 per­cent of our vis­i­tors say that is the case, so when we face crit­i­cism we go back to our core ideas and the core lan­guage of our cam­paign. Then we look at the au­di­ence we’re try­ing to en­gage with and whether or not that crit­i­cism is valid.

We all know about the con­ver­sa­tion sur­round­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and how that’s been hooked to it [‘100% Pure’] but if you look at the core brand mes­sage, it’s not an en­vi­ron­men­tal prom­ise and it never has been.

If New Zealan­ders wished to hold that cam­paign idea in a dif­fer­ent light – i.e. they wished to hold it as an en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dard – then as a coun­try we should align our­selves to that and take ac­tion. But that’s not some­thing Tourism New Zealand can do in iso­la­tion, it re­quires the very peo­ple and the coun­try that’s crit­i­cis­ing it to do some­thing.

On the in­ter­sec­tion of hu­man and dig­i­tal

I think the role of tech­nol­ogy is to make the real world bet­ter and when it comes to mar­ket­ing, the role of tech­nol­ogy is to do a num­ber of things.

One is to re­duce waste be­cause we should be able to get more ef­fi­cient and more ef­fec­tive in our tar­get­ing, our mes­sag­ing, our tim­ing and chan­nels. I think it should also en­able us to have bet­ter en­gage­ment with our au­di­ence.

But also from a mar­ket­ing and tech­nol­ogy point-ofview, we can use our in­sights and our im­proved en­gage­ment with our au­di­ence to bet­ter un­der­stand how to evolve our prod­uct; how to make bet­ter in­vest­ments; and how to im­prove the qual­ity of our of­fer to the world.

At the end of the day, we want peo­ple to come to New Zealand and have an amaz­ing time and go back to their homes and tell every­one how in­cred­i­ble it was, and I think tech­nol­ogy plays a big role in tar­get­ing those vis­i­tors, get­ting them to come here and also im­prov­ing our of­fer.

On his back­ground

I ran a dig­i­tal me­dia and web de­vel­op­ment agency in Lon­don called Ra­zor for a num­ber of years and it got sold to Publi­cis Group. Then I went into a start-up called Syn­capse, a so­cial an­a­lyt­ics and so­cial me­dia pub­lish­ing plat­form com­pany based in Canada, where I started out as head of Europe and ended up in a chief mar­ket­ing sales role.

So I’ve been on both sides of the fence – I’ve been on agency side and client side and now I run a busi­ness that is largely a mar­ket­ing com­pany.

On bring­ing tech­nol­ogy and mar­ket­ing into the C-suite

I think its C-suite po­si­tion had to be earned and I don’t mean the per­son, I mean the func­tion.

Now that’s not the case. Tech­nol­ogy is lit­er­ally the en­abling ca­pa­bil­ity of al­most ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion on the planet and with­out tech­nol­ogy we would be some de­gree dys­func­tional in terms of our ca­pa­bil­ity to­day.

Tech­nol­ogy is ev­ery­where and it’s per­va­sive, as well as ex­pen­sive. Get­ting it wrong can be fatal to some or­gan­i­sa­tions, and get­ting it right can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing a good year and hav­ing an out­stand­ing year in terms of per­for­mance.

Tech­nol­ogy has shifted from be­ing a closet ca­pa­bil­ity some­where in the fi­nance team to be­ing a core strate­gic and fun­da­men­tal part of ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion. Tech­nol­ogy is at the cen­tre of cus­tomer be­hav­iour, eco­nomic out­comes, or­gan­i­sa­tional ef­fi­cien­cies, and it is now part of the C-suite in most mod­ern or­gan­i­sa­tions.

On the role of the CTO and CMO

In last 10 years, tech­nol­ogy, or the CTO or CIO func­tion, has taken on a lot more power in the or­gan­i­sa­tion in the C-suite, while the CMO func­tion in some busi­ness has lost that level of cred­i­bil­ity and I think, in part, is be­cause we can’t ev­i­dence it suf­fi­ciently.

One com­ment that gets me up­set is when peo­ple talk about mar­ket­ing be­ing ‘the colour­ing in de­part­ment’ – and that’s a shame if we have done that to our­selves be­cause the re­al­ity of mar­ket­ing is, it should be about every­thing. Mar­ket­ing is about the cus­tomer, prod­ucts, em­ploy­ees, brand and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences.

I like to think of mar­ket­ing be­ing the lead and tech­nol­ogy be­ing the en­abler with peo­ple be­ing at the cen­tre, and a peo­ple-cen­tric or­gan­i­sa­tion has to have good mar­ket­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Why? Be­cause mar­ket­ing is all about peo­ple.

There needs to be more think­ing about how mar­ket­ing can re­claim a greater po­si­tion of in­flu­ence in the C-suite.

If New Zealan­ders wished to hold that cam­paign idea in a dif­fer­ent light – i.e. they wished to hold it as an en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dard – then as a coun­try we should align our­selves to that and take ac­tion.

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