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Bay of Plenty Region
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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Harnessing election insights for success

The election is looming large and many Kiwi businesspeople will be keeping a close eye on which political party, or likely coalition, has its nose in front. The result will have implications for business and individual tax rates, as well as the support businesses might expect to receive over the term of the next government. But the election has another significance for businesses that are thinking strategically. It offers a vast array of insights into public opinion. Any business with a domestic focus should be using this as a yardstick for measuring how well its offerings, way of operating and marketing messages align with what matters most to New Zealanders.

The Covid-19 economic recovery and sustainability – both of economic systems and the environment – are shaping up to be major themes of election 2020.

The economic recovery

New Zealand is currently fighting to survive and bounce back from the economic shock caused by the global pandemic.

More than 200,000 New Zealanders are receiving JobSeeker Support benefit or the Covid-19 Income Relief Payment. And investment in roading and water infrastructure is sorely needed, particularly in Auckland, not to mention many parts of our own Bay of Plenty region.

It’s no surprise then that creating jobs, developing new infrastructure, and implementing changes to the tax system in order to pay for them are major themes of this election campaign.

If your business can demonstrate its contribution to “building New Zealand” or showcase how it is employing new people or making a significant economic impact – even locally – then there’s no better time to share that story.

New Zealanders are proud of what we’ve achieved in the battle against Covid-19 and are looking for any excuse to back Kiwi businesses and help them get through.

Positioning your business as part of New Zealand’s recovery can significantly increase the willingness of consumers to spend money with your company, rather than your competitors.

“If your business can demonstrate its contribution to “building New Zealand” or showcase how it is employing new people or making a significant economic impact – even locally – then there’s no better time to share that story.”

A sustainable future

While the economic recovery is top of the list for most voters, there is also a growing acceptance that the world should not seek to return to the way things were before.

According to the July Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor Survey, poverty and inequality is ranked as one of the top three issues by 26 percent of New Zealanders, climate change was a top three issue for 16 percent of New Zealanders and environmental pollution a top three issue for 13 percent of New Zealanders.

It seems that Kiwis have realised just how lucky we are to enjoy our special piece of paradise away from it all in the South Pacific.

There is a growing appetite to protect our people and environment, and heal some of the scars caused by mismanagement of our natural resources and outdoor spaces.

For businesses, demonstrating environmental credentials and commitment a sustainable future is more important than ever.

Now is the time to step up worker welfare and corporate social responsibility programmes, invest in green innovations and promote initiatives you’ve implemented to reduce carbon emissions and minimise the environmental impact of your operations.

Keep in mind that sustainability is about much more than the environment. People want to see a more resilient economy that leaves nobody behind and isn’t so beholden to tourism or offshore interests for its prosperity.

They want to see less boom and bust, and more economic security. If your business can showcase its commitment to sustainability in a holistic sense, it will be well-positioned to win fans throughout the next four years.

Theory to action

Election night will reveal the mood of the nation, but if you want to position your business for the future, there’s no better time than now.

One of the easiest ways to plan ahead is to keep an eye on pre-election polling, including thematic surveys like the Ipsos Issues Monitor.

Keep in mind that you may appeal to a particular niche that holds different views from the majority of New Zealand, so keep that in mind when considering public opinion and what that means for your business.

James Heffield
Director of Bay of Plenty marketing and public relations consultancy Last Word. To find out more visit www.lastwordmedia.co.nz or email james@lastwordmedia.co.nz.

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