Indigenous branding creating an emotional connection.

Executive Summary

Global customers are increasingly demanding authentic products and services, and indigenous branding has been recognized as a natural fit to deliver on this. Global trends observe a shift away from traditionally produced premium foods to more sustainable alternatives. This consumers is increasingly concerned of where their product comes from, the impact growing this product has had on the environment, that these people and lands are being looked after and what the indigenous stamp means.

Indigenous branding creates huge opportunity for Maori who consider that land is a living and breathing thing and part of your identity as Maori. It is an inter-generational culture with a 150 year plan, “we are a whakapapa, we are both the past, and the future.”  Maori need to wrap this up in a meaningful way as resonates with the consumer to make an emotional connection, and the whole company needs to align with these brand values.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate two things, 1) what a consumer expects when presented with an indigenous product. 2) How do we give confidence that this product is genuine. This research is carried in two parts. The first is a review of literature published between the 2005 and 2013 period and key themes that come through from this. Part two is a case study evaluating four successful Maori businesses regarding the work they are carrying out around consumer expectations and authenticity.

There was a considerable amount of literature published between 2005 and 2013 regarding indigenous branding and how it could be used to create a point of difference. A key finding of this review is that Maori branding focused on presenting a product that encompassed a set of values as important to the Maori business. The case studies determined that this focus has since been reversed, and is now focused on expressing value as determined by the consumer.

The recommendations of this report are that further research is required to position an indigenous experience to make the consumer feel good and create an emotional connection, and Maori brands need to collaborate more to ensure the market insight work is done to avoid risking market position.

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