NZKGI Communications Portfolio
The NZKGI Communications portfolio is the voice to and for New Zealand’s kiwifruit Growers.
NZKGI gathers Grower views and presents them externally to give NZKGI a strong, collective voice. We also communicate important information to kiwifruit Growers to support the growth of a profitable and sustainable business.
Over the years, the Communications portfolio has acted on, executed, and delivered communications that align with its purpose. Here are some of the portfolio highlights and achievements from recent years:
Points of Contact
At the core of the Communications portfolio is the importance of keeping Growers informed on industry information. One way we do this is through the NZKGI Weekly Update newsletter, which continues to lead the horticulture industry and be the industry’s most-read publication for Growers. It ensures Growers are kept up to date on current industry topics, with an email to their inbox every Friday afternoon. Our effective communications platforms reach over 3,000 people each week.
NZKGI’s Communications portfolio also continues to communicate to Growers through other industry publications such as the Kiwifruit Journal and Kiwiflier, and continues to be the go-to for media management.
Using the media as a tool to share NZKGI’s perspective on industry topics such as labour, adverse events, and industry growth to a wider group of stakeholders and the general public has been successful. Each year, there are hundreds of articles published on the kiwifruit industry both nationally and internationally, of which the Communications portfolio has ensured NZKGI has had a dominant voice. Articles in the media have had approximately 150 direct quotes from NZKGI each year.
Strategy and Branding
Back in 2016, the Communications portfolio was created, and a communications strategy was formed to truly engage the Grower database through clear, transparent, and efficient communications from NZKGI. In doing this, we wanted Growers to have a much better understanding of their own industry and the ability to make better decisions.
As part of the strategy, NZKGI also went through a re-branding to promote and increase the visibility of NZKGI members, resulting in a well-recognised brand today. This also included a modern, new website – a key communication tool and an easily accessible hub of information for NZ kiwifruit Growers. It’s both user-friendly and a port of call for information, news, resources, tools and events.
In 2021, the NZKGI website went through a refresh as a result of survey feedback from stakeholders. The result is a simplified website allowing even easier access to information. The website also has a favourites function so that links to viewers favourite pages appear on the homepage.
In 2017, NZKGI created a new role for a Communications Manager that was filled by Mike Murphy, who remains at the helm today. The position was created in order to be an effective voice for Growers – to implement our strategy and be the point of communication for and to New Zealand kiwifruit Growers.
Events, Meetings and Debates
In 2017, NZKGI Regional Meetings were first held across New Zealand and have remained a key opportunity to connect with Growers. These meetings, which host small numbers of Growers, provide an opportunity for high-quality, in-depth discussions on important topics.
The Great Grower Debate was also initiated in 2017 to stimulate Grower opinion and remains a successful point of contact. The Great Grower Debate in 2019 covered the topic ‘That All Roads Lead to China’ with a focus on Zespri’s marketing activities and to what extent that investment should be made into China. The usefulness of the debate topic became very evident towards the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, which highlighted the risks associated with the Chinese, and other markets.
In 2020, we also celebrated NZKGI’s 25th anniversary as an incorporated society. The event was held in Tauranga and attended by Minister of Agriculture Hon Damien O’Connor, as well as a wide range of industry leaders.
The Communications portfolio continues to strengthen the promotion of New Zealand kiwifruit Growers and the role NZKGI plays. This has been achieved through mediums that explain our purpose to external stakeholders and new industry members. One example is the creation of a short film demonstrating NZKGI’s role, which was launched at the 2018 Annual General Meeting.
NZKGI’s book ‘Seeds of Success – the stories of New Zealand’s Kiwifruit Pioneers’ written by Elaine Fisher was also published in 2020. Sold through the NZKGI website, the book has proven to be popular and prompted a second print run.
These creative examples, combined with professional media management, illustrate that NZKGI punches above its weight and ensures that the value of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and the role of NZKGI is retained and enhanced.
Our communication strength in adverse events was demonstrated during the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. All Growers were quickly informed on how their business would be impacted on what was a fast-changing situation. This is an area that we have focused on building capability and is an example of our role in industry communications – the ability to pull together critical information and communicate it quickly.
NZKGI conducted its first performance survey in 2020 with the aim to ensure that NZKGI continues to focus on the issues that matter most and to maximise value to members. Organisational questions covered how NZKGI is serving Growers, NZKGI’s performance, if there is a need for increased operations, the order of priorities, and the efficacy of the governance and operational levels.
The Communications portfolio was recognised for its work in communicating to Growers and the public with two awards in 2021. In conjunction with our supporting agency Wright Communications, NZKGI won the Gold Award for Special Project or Short-Term Campaign from Public Relations Institute of New Zealand for communications in NZKGI’s Labour Attraction Campaign.
At the 2020 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year awards, NZKGI’s Communications Manager Mike Murphy was announced as the winner of the Primary Sector Communications Award for communication given to the industry throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns in order to avoid a labour crisis and ensure all kiwifruit was picked and packed safely.