New Zealand may be a well-off country – it has a GDP per capita similar to that of Spain - but, located 900 miles east of Australia and 600 miles south of Fiji and Tonga, it also is one of the most remote countries on Earth. With a population of just 4.4m it is also one of the smallest, and those working in its PR industry are acutely aware of these issues.
Bryony Hillness, Director of Communication & Brand Marketing, Strategy & Communications, New Zealand and Pacific Islands at Alcatel-Lucent, says: “Local brands that want to go global can find it difficult. We're so far away from major markets like the US and UK that it can be hard to influence their media.”
Similarly, Janeen Buchanan, New Zealand marketing manager at recruitment agency Hudson believes the size of the market is both a strength and a weakness of the New Zealand PR industry. She says: “The media industry here is relatively small, so provided you have good quality information to go to market with it is easier to get good coverage and have strong networks. As it is small the market can easily get over-saturated so you need to be timely with your launches and think carefully about who to approach.”
However, Hillness does not believe that either size or location is the greatest challenge New Zealand's PR industry faces. “The most significant development in PR in New Zealand in the past year has without doubt been the rise of social media,” she says. “All of a sudden the use of social media has grown significantly and so we need to manage online risk and reputation like never before.”
She adds: “Fortunately as an industry we tend to be nimble and responsive in this market. We are adept at delivering creative, out of the box ideas with limited budgets, so we have been well equipped to meet this new challenge.”