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Expats connecting for the Kiwi brand

Published: 10:47AM Thursday September 20, 2012 Source: ONE News

A company connecting Kiwi expats is upping its game to build momentum for the New Zealand brand - even when they are away from home.


Kea, the Kiwi Expats Association founded by Stephen Tindall, is aiming to build more connections by using social media, its chief executive Sue Watson told TV ONE's Breakfast this morning.


"We want to increase the number of Kiwi expats that we're connected to," he said.


"They're in hundreds of countries across the world, and of course the way to do this is online and digital media property so we will be ramping up our offer in that space.


"The other prong of the strategy is about influence, so we are now identifying who are those leading Kiwis out there leading multinationals, tucked away in marketing departments of large organisations who we can connect with on behalf of New Zealand."


Watson said she "will not rest" until Kea hits one million members.


"At the moment our community is 60,000 and growing at about a thousand a week, which is amazing," she said.


"A few months ago, it was at 32,000 - but that's also because we've said hey, all you have to do is like us on Facebook, join our community, join our linkedin group, subscribe to our newsletter."


Watson said Kea has made it as easy as possible to be engaged with the group, as a first step to reconnecting with New Zealand.


"We're not trying to sell anything and we're not representing a brand. In fact we are - we are representing brand New Zealand. These people are potentially brand ambassadors for this country."


Watson said Kea has already helped Kiwi companies overseas by getting New Zealanders to turn up and support them.


"Icebreaker is opening its new store in Soho, New York, and we partnered with them on an event and invited all the Kiwis in New York," she said.


"They got a great discount on product, but of course they then go out and become brand ambassadors for Icebreaker, but also brand ambassadors for New Zealand."


Watson said Steven Tindall is now passing on the torch to Phil Veal, who will now be the chair of the organisation.


Veal, in his early 40s, has been offshore for two decades as an investor and trader in New York.