The Lay of the Land – NZ Perspectives

Back to New Zealand perspectives this week – with some thoughts about values, a great podcast and a heartening report.

I’ve been thinking about NZ values – mainly because anglo-european values are in flux and I want to see what’s happening here. I’m sending out a proposal for shared research, which will hopefully mean I’ll be spending the late summer travelling around the country talking to all kinds of people about what they want, what they believe and why. I’ll look at our shared values and also our contested values. Maybe I’ll even discover a new tribe or two, out there in the wild. Here’s a backgrounder. It’s called The Lay of the Land: Values, Tribes & Perspectives of New Zealanders in 2017.

A Truly Kickass NZ podcast

I’m probably the last person in the country to have heard of the [now discontinued] ‘How not to be an asshole’ podcast. On the face of it, a couple of comparatively ancient [late 30-something] white rappers may not seem like they’ll be the coolest kids on the block, but a friend sent me a link to their most recent podcast [Episode 53, July 2016] that was truly exceptional. [I can’t find it now but here’s a video they did  with Jacinda Ardern from 2015 which is historically interesting  and just shows the calibre of this woman – hint – it’s high].

It featured homelessness campaigner and serial entrepreneur James Crow – the co-owner of Tommy and James, ethical food manufacturers who owns Little Island Coconut Creamery.

He’s a guy who, as a child, experienced a massive change of circumstances when his parents divorced and his bipolar mother struggled to cope. The person who emerged out the other side is smart, empathetic and with a breadth of experience that both horrifies and astounds. James’ analysis of politics, homelessness and how to get things done in New Zealand is masterful and engaging. He is such a great storyteller.

His social issues website Gimme Shelter Aotearoa explains the need to establish a data set on New Zealand’s homeless people – especially rough sleepers. He set up a campaign to raise 20,000 to fund a homeless and rough sleeper health survey [HARSH] but was unsuccessful at the time.

What it takes to lead the world’s Prosperity Index

We won. I’m sure you know that already. The LegatumProsperity Index™ 2016 ranked New Zealand #1, for all the right reasons.  They state:

“New Zealand is the world’s top-ranked country. Over the past decade it has consistently delivered a large prosperity surplus through the combination of a strong society, free and open markets, and high levels of personal freedom”

In other words we are the neo-liberal dream. We score highest on the economic quality, but also on the social capital index: 99% of us say that we have family or friends to rely on in times of need.

The Legatum Institute also singled out the British Commonwealth as a producer of greater prosperity, than even the Scandinavians, and said,

“Freedom is at the heart of this opportunity. In these countries people are most free to pursue their ambitions and achieve their potential. Of all the world’s nations, New Zealand is the most tolerant of immigrants.” [P20].

Not to be too self-deprecating but being small and far away with lots of space probably helps that.

But on that Freedom issue,  as Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari says:

“Ever since the French Revolution, people throughout the world have come to see both equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. Yet the two values contradict each other. . . The entire political history of the world since 1789 can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile this contradiction. [Page 183].

Unfortunately for the UK, it seems better at gaining wealth than sharing it, compared to the other top-ranking Commonwealth countries – us, Australia and Canada. The Institute says:

“Standing in Hull, it is hard to imagine the UK as the third-best deliverer of prosperity in the world. Walk through this northern city’s estates and you are struck by a deep-rooted poverty of prosperity. It is the least prosperous part of the UK; a city where children grow up without knowing aspiration and the elderly die having never seen much beyond the end of their street. Yet, Britain stands out as a world leader in turning its wealth into prosperity.” [P22]

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What Migrants Told Us About Auckland

New Zealand has more than one million migrants [28.5% of the population][1]. New migrants are clustered in Auckland, giving it the fourth highest foreign-born population of any world city. With 39% of its population [more than half a million people] born overseas[2], Auckland is more diverse than London or New York.

But even now, many marketers and strategists act as if this change isn’t really happening. They treat new migrant groups as just another ethnic minority – and another – and another, not recognising that migrants have a lot in common.

Auckland’s NZ-born European population now hovers around 55%, so it’s time to stop pretending that nothing has changed. One message no longer fits all, because we don’t all have the same history and social expectations. Simply by being here, shopping in malls and supermarkets, using the transport systems and eating out at cafes and restaurants, migrants are changing New Zealand’s social and economic environment.

But what is changing?

A wellbeing study by HTG and Windshift in 2015 revealed that many migrant families had moved to New Zealand to achieve greater wellbeing and educational opportunities. Often they arrive determined to adopt the ‘Kiwi’ lifestyle. They create new lives for themselves that combine habits from their country of origin and new, distinctively New Zealand, patterns of behaviour.

We wanted to know more. So we brought together a highly experienced research team specialising in social trends, migration and brands to discover what happens to people when they migrate here – and specifically, what happens in Auckland. The result was the Cultural Diversity Snapshot. 

.The Cultural Diversity Snapshot: How Can it Help?

The study has been completed and can now be accessed as  a presentation or an interactive workshop. These are designed to help marketers, insight managers, executive teams, agencies and strategists to recognise the brand opportunities and service requirements that arise as new migrants settle into New Zealand society.

The Cultural Diversity Snapshot will help you to identify migrants’ distinctive social and consumer behaviour and attitudes, including their brand and service preferences. You will learn how widespread these attitudes and behaviours are and how they relate to levels of integration . Most importantly, you will discover how you can use this knowledge to unlock opportunities and encourage uptake of your brands, products or services.

The study compares responses from the three largest groups of recent migrants – North Asian, South Asian and European/African. This is based on a substantial qualitative research exercise conducted in Auckland, exclusively amongst migrants. This was followed by a national survey with a migrant sample large enough to let us compare their responses with those of New Zealand born citizens.

More than anything, I think we are helping to provoke thought amongst marketers as to how to operate in a diverse, cosmopolitan environment.  My proudest moments in any of the presentations and workshops I have participated in is recognising that lightbulb moment, where empathy replaces the unconscious preconceptions we all have about groups of people we don’t know very well.

 [1] Source: 2013 Census

[2] Source: World Migration Report 2015, p 39, International Organisation for Migration

[3] Source: HTG:Windshift – Family Wellbeing: Interviews with 50 Families


Oceans of Information

This is the final excerpt from our 2015 How to be Right for the Times report.

The digital society is not a simple linear onwards and upwards society. The effects of these technologies are diverse and contradictory. The graphic below reflects the diverse findings of our 2015 qualitative research as to the effects the adoption of smartphones and other new technology has on people’s lives. It shows that, even as we begin to personally feel more powerful and self-sufficient, our access to information is becoming more and more fragmented — that’s the ‘long tail’ too.

RFTT 2015 July.019

And that sense of power we experience may be accompanied by an almost infantile desire to have what we want, now, without question. As our expectations of immediate high quality goods and services grow we become less able to delay gratification or deal with anything that contradicts our desires.

That impulse to focus on what we want extends to the way we deal with the ocean of information itself — we become adept at blocking out what we do not wish to hear. Filtering our news through social media means we pay attention to what our friends pay attention to — not what outsiders may wish to tell us.

At worst and kind of also at best we become powerful demanding diverse and insulated little tribes. Silicon Valley itself is the ultimate example.

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Which Generation Loves Your Brand Most?

This blog post is yet another excerpt from Windshift’s 44-page report How to Be Right for the Times

Generational preferences are a critical element of being Right for the Times. In the past, there were a number of important generational rites of passage that signalled a change in a person’s brand preferences. These included:

  • getting a serious job,
  • buying a house,
  • becoming a couple,
  • getting married,
  • becoming a parent,
  • building a career,
  • emptying the nest
  • retirement.

But when you go through one of these rites of passage today [if you do], do you automatically take on the same brands as the older generations used? That depends entirely on your experiences and the way your expectations have been shaped – which is after all, the only real thing a generation has in common.

Differing levels of migration and family size also affect generational preferences though – we know that in New Zealand the younger generations are less likely to be NZ European and more likely to be migrants.

We have five generations in New Zealand now — they aren’t all the same size and different people draw the boundaries in different places, so Windshift’s generations span the following years:

RFTT 2015 NZGens.001

 In our study of 18 to 69 year olds we covered the three middle generations, Millennials [Generation Y], Generation X and Baby Boomers.

[Author’s Note] Overall 60 of the 143 brands in our survey [42%] had significantly different levels of attraction [skews] for different generations. One generation was highly over-represented among the brand lovers while another produced no skews whatsoever. Guess which was which?

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Does Your Firm Have Good Future Prospects?

This is an exclusive extract from Windshift’s 2015 How to be Right for the Times Report

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In our 2015 survey, as usual, we asked people who work for private enterprise firms whether their company was prospering, stable, or declining. The graphic below shows the pattern of response over the past 13 years, at 3 year intervals [plus this year].

RFTT 2015 Firm.001

Imagine how it felt in the business world in 2003, when 52% of employees could say their firm was prospering and expanding. It’s hard to remember now.

According to this graphic, two-thirds of businesses in 2015 are stable with good future prospects, while one-third are moving up or down in earnings. The well-known brands who made it to the Top 25 aren’t necessarily prospering and expanding, but it’s fairly certain that their employees would rate them  as stable with good future prospects.

Let’s think for a moment what it means to say a brand has good future prospects or is prospering. Its audience is growing or has increase the intensity of purchasing. That might signal some kind of competitive advantage, or a successful launch — like that of Lewis Rd Chocolate Milk. Or it might reflect growing customer-connectedness — like Air New Zealand – nationally at least.

But it may also reflect a generational change — older generations adopting new technologies, for instance, or younger generations reaching important milestones that suddenly change their preferences.

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