NZ Tech Story’s marketing pitch plays on the country’s time zone to portray the country as forward-thinking.
The government is investing $1 million in a marketing campaign, NZ Tech Story, to help tech companies market the country’s potential to overseas customers, workers and investors.
David Downs, chief executive of government agency NZ Story, said the funding would fund brochures, videos, seminars and a website that would showcase the achievements of companies such as Rocket Lab, Xero, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Weta Digital.
Key messages conveyed by the website, seetomorrowfirst.nz, include New Zealand’s strong position in surveys ranking the ease of doing business internationally and its collaborative working culture.
Communications Minister David Clark said in a statement announcing the initiative that there was “no reason why New Zealand couldn’t be the Silicon Valley of the southern hemisphere”.
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Downs acknowledged that foreign companies generally don’t buy tech products just because they come from a certain country, but said the marketing campaign could encourage people to view New Zealand technology as innovative and its companies as trustworthy.
A key aim was to persuade skilled workers to see New Zealand as an attractive place to pursue a career, given the global competition for talent in the sector, he said.
“The big barrier to the growth of the tech sector in New Zealand is talent.”
But evidence from other markets in which NZ Story had been involved suggests such marketing could also make a difference to sales, he said.
“We have just carried out a major campaign in the food sector, “made with care”, to better position our products in 12 foreign markets.
“We see New Zealand businesses selling as much in a month as they usually would in a year online in some markets like the UK,” he said.
Tech companies are being drawn to Christchurch and could inject millions into the local economy (video first posted in April).
Greg Cross, chief executive of Auckland-based artificial intelligence company Soul Machines, which just received $105 million in new funding from investors and is another company NZ Story will highlight, said that was a pragmatist and not very interested in “good things” himself.
“When you’re trying to win clients, you have to do it on your own. No one buys technology based on its current state. »
But the success of any country’s tech sector was driven by its ability to attract great talent and great investors, he said.
“As the borders of the world are lowered, people are wondering where they want to live and for whom they want to work.
“Highlighting some of the things New Zealand has to offer for talent and showcasing the successes of tech companies in attracting the best venture capital and high-value exits are stories worth boosting, given the amount of change we’re going to see over the next couple of years.
Downs said the consistency of a “brand story” would help everyone.
“If we talk about the value of coming from a trustworthy country where people think innovatively and collaborate, then everyone benefits.
“I compare it to the wine industry. Fifteen or 20 years ago, if you were trying to sell wine in Europe, your first job was to convince them that New Zealand could make wine, then the variety, but now nobody needs convincing.
Xero’s marketing manager, Valerie Walshe, said that as a “global small business platform founded in New Zealand” she was passionate about supporting “NZ Inc”.
“It’s great to see NZ Tech Story raising awareness of New Zealand’s global tech capabilities and reputation,” she said.
Phoebe Harrop, director of Auckland-based Australian venture capital firm Blackbird, said such marketing campaigns “can definitely work”.
“But obviously the strongest marketing campaign is to see high-quality tech companies succeed in the world, and there’s been a long list of those in recent years.”
New Zealand was “absolutely seen as one of the most exciting markets for tech start-ups,” she said.