The debate has been raging for years, so let’s clear this up once and for all.
Pavlova, it was invented in New Zealand! Lamingtons, they were invented in New Zealand! Russell Crowe, he was born in New Zealand! And the Flat White, it is from New Zealand.
Although claiming stake to these items may be somewhat irrelevant, they are all in their own right, brands that have come from New Zealand.
They do however pale in comparison to arguably one of the biggest brands produced by the Land of the Long White Cloud.
In 2015, this brand was worth an estimated US$169M, with experts predicting it to reach US$500M before 2020. It is the 7th largest export to come out of New Zealand, and has shifted significantly from a simple national icon to an international brand. Many would refer to this brand as not just a name, but a symbol, synonymous with success and national pride (Iacobucci, 2013). I am of course referring to the All Blacks.
So how could a sporting team be such a successful brand?
When you see the logo of many household brands, such as the golden arches of McDonalds or the Nike swoosh (tick), you assimilate these with a product. Whether it’s in the way of goods, such as a new pair of Nike shoes, or services like the convenience of buying a BigMac through the drive-through, these companies generally offers the consumer a product they believe will benefit its customers (Iacobucci, 2013).
What is the product that the All Blacks offer and what makes it a successful brand?
The simple answer, is the team’s success both on and off the field. Put bluntly, winning.
Winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup catapulted the All Blacks onto the international stage, with the Rugby World Cup Grand Final the 3rd highest viewed sporting event in the world. This win, coupled with the recent introduction of the 7’s version into the Olympic Games, has seen Rugby become the world’s fastest growing team sport.
When you look at the value of any sporting team’s brand through a commercial lens, whether it’s the New York Yankees or Manchester United, the key to the value of the brand is the team’s ability to deliver repeated success and winning on the big stage.
The All Blacks ‘brand’ has a long and extensive association of representing New Zealand. From performing the Haka, to wearing the colour black and having the nation’s emblem of the Silver Fern on the global stage.
With a win ratio in the professional era of over 80%, the All Blacks success has been the key to their brand with consistent core offerings. So much so, they have added the two words ‘All Blacks’ in an umbrella branding approach onto other national rugby teams such as the New Zealand under 21’s, under 19’s and the 7s in an attempt to strengthen the position of these teams through brand association.
When watching the All Blacks, you can be assured to get what you paid for. In fact, it’s difficult to remember the last time they performed poorly, let alone lost a game. This predictability, and almost rehearsed nature of their winning, has provided fans and spectators, or rather customers, with a service that has shown to be consistent with little variability. Along with the saleability of merchandise goods, such as Jerseys and other playing attire, the All Blacks have the complete product profile and are a sponsor’s dream.
Mortimer (2010) suggests that successful branding not only recognises consumer insights, but also allows those very consumers to participate in the brands identity and development.
All Blacks director of marketing, Todd Barberel associates the All Blacks as brand custodians for the people of New Zealand. By engaging the customers, or New Zealand locals, through initiatives like ‘All Blacks to the Nation’, the All Blacks have integrated New Zealanders’ needs in order to promote brand loyalty with its customers.
Towns were invited to nominate themselves for the program online for an opportunity to have an All Black for a day. Through this medium, the All Black marketing department were able to identify segments passionate about the national team and derive a way to address these brand communities. The initiative saw members of the All Blacks attending schools and workplaces in remote towns of New Zealand to engage directly with adoring locals.
Many believe that it is this sort of engagement that keeps not only the customers happy, but the players grounded. By positioning the current crop of All Blacks as active community role models, New Zealand Rugby have ensured generations of future players to come. Thus the product the All Blacks provide, is not going to mature or decline through its lifecycle, providing the winning ways continue.
What does the future hold for the All Blacks Brand?
The future of the All Blacks brand will be determined by how it is introduced and grown, or developed in a new market.
During the 2015 World Cup, a record Japanese crowd of 25 million watched their national team’s maiden win over Samoa. This interest by a market predominantly uncharted, and the 2019 World Cup in Japan could see the All Blacks, providing they continue their winning product, worth half a billion US dollars.
Jared Hanna -ID: 216369106, Jhanna4
Haigh, R. 2015, All Blacks US$169M Brand Could Grow to Half a Billion Dollars Within a Decade. brandfinance.com/news/press-releases/all-blacks-us169m-brand-could-grow-to-half-a-billion-dollars-within-a-decade/, Accessed 23 August 2016
Hays, A. 2015, Thirteen things marketers can learn from the All Blacks, www.mumbrella.com.au/13-things-marketers-can-learn-from-the-all-blacks-317778, Accessed 24 August
Iacobucci, D 2013, Marketing Management (MM4), Student Edition, South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio.
Mortimer, N. 2010, Why you should hand your brand over to your customers. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-you-should-hand-your-brand-over-to-your-customers/, Accessed 23 August 2016
Richards, B. 2015. The All Blacks brand —Does success hinge on one event, http://www.brianrrichards.com/the-all-blacks-brand/, Accessed 25 August
Rogers, E. 1983. Diffusion of Innovations, Third Eddition, The Free Press, New York, NY
Rugby world cup statistics, 2015. Statista, the Statistics Portal, http://www.statista.com/chart/3807/rugby-world-cup-second-only-to-soccer/, Accessed 28 August