Friday, June 30, 2006

Reclaiming your Brand

It’s scary to think that if Illinois followed suit with New Zealand we would call ourselves “Corns.” Illinois’ cash crop has brought in tons of revenue from exports just as the kiwifruit has for the tiny island nation. New Zealand relied on the kiwifruit to represent 40% of their horticultural exports for over 25 years, but in 1989 the world got smaller and farmers in Italy, Spain, Chile, South Africa, and France began to expand the market of kiwis (now a $2.5 billion global market) to the point where New Zealand was just another face in the crowd.

Thankfully this time for GMO;s, New Zealand was able to crossbreed kiwis and patent their new Zespri Gold kiwi. It’s sweeter, more tropical, it’s bright yellow, and it’s dramatically expanding the kiwi consumer base. The Zespri Gold sold $150 million last year, and by 2009 sales will hit $650 million. They are determined to become what Dole is to pineapples or Chiquita is to bananas. With their new patent they are able to control the Zespri Gold market by establishing a number of licensing deals with orchards in those countries that were at one point leading to New Zealand’s demise.

New Zealand has reinvented its national brand and rebuilt a franchise. Next on the agenda is a mix of the green and yellow kiwi with a bright red sunburst in the middle. The moral of this story is: when life hands you lemons, crossbreed it with limes.

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