How NZ brands reach overseas markets with social media #smcakl

Social Media Club Auckland, Social Media Goes Global, May 21 2014There were a lot of reasons not to be at tonight’s #SMCAKL: the last night of TRENZ, Digital Day Out tomorrow, and the fact that I was MC.

And yet, we had a pretty big crowd (over 50% new faces) join us to discover social media around the world, with our guest speakers:

  • Camellia Yang (yes, Camellia formerly of syENGAGE) who is now Social Media Community Specialist Asia at Air New Zealand. 
  • Jan Bierman, director of RareHQ
  • Jason Delamore, GM of Marketing and Communications and Auckland International Airport

Together, our speakers took us through their organisations’ approach to three markets of importance to New Zealand: 

  • China, NZ’s biggest trading partner and the 2nd largest source of tourists into NZ (and growing!)
  • Brazil, the world’s 6th largest economy and New Zealand’s 7th largest source of international students
  • Indonesia, the “next China” with the world’s 4th largest Facebook population, sending 385 tweets per SECOND! (Almost as many as the people at #SMCAKL each month)

Air New Zealand’s Chinese Social Media

Building Brand Preference with KOLs: Brazil

Auckland Airport’s Indonesian Social Media Outreach

My key takeaways

L-R Camellia Yang, Jason Delamore, Jan Bierman, Simon YoungWhat did we learn? Here are some of the gems that came out of tonight’s session:

  • The concept of partnership is very important, whether it’s NZ organisations partnering with each other to share resources, or partnering with key opinion leaders in the markets we want to reach. This is not a game to be played alone. 
  • How to partner with Key Opinion Leaders varies from market to market. In China, celebrities are highly managed and leveraged, whereas in Brazil celebrities are self-made, such as Cid Nao Salvo, who started his 20m pageviews/month blog when he was bored on the bus.  
  • When tackling a giant market like any of these three, the question of dialects and subcultures comes up. In the case of Air New Zealand, they target specific cities (bear in mind cities like Shanghai have the entire population of Australia) rather than trying to swallow the whole elephant in one bite. Choosing the right niche and speaking the right language – literally and culturally – is very important. 
  • Co-creation is at the heart of social media. It’s a two-way medium; more than that, it’s a many-to-many medium. So, when Air New Zealand wanted to transplant the Air NZ fairy into the Chinese market, it asked its followers what her Chinese name should be. This drew a lot of attention to the process of choosing her name, and gave netizens perhaps the most important feeling of all when dealing with a brand: that of being heard. (For more on co-creation be sure to attend Simon Young’s session with Jake Pearce and Trevor Moodie at the PRINZ annual conference). 

Here’s what people had to say on Twitter: 


Finally a huge thanks to our speakers, sponsors, the tireless #SMCAKL organising committee, and of course our community for coming along and showing your support. Don’t forget to watch the #SMCAKL feed tomorrow to find out if you won the ticket to #NZSOMO in July. 

My next speaking engagement is next Thursday, at the PRINZ Annual Conference, where I join long-time collaborator Jake Pearce and co-conspirator Trevor Moodie with a session on co-creation. 

Meanwhile the next #SMCAKL will be on June 18th, stay tuned to the #SMCAKL hashtag or sign up for email updates on the smcakl website for more info.

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