Kono is already exporting its wares to 25 countries, but the Nelson-based Wakatū Incorporation's food and beverage business arm is hoping to increase that number—and its exports to Asia—after being given a big brand spruce up by Wellington agency Mission Hall.
Wakatū was established in the 1970s to administer land assets, which make up 70 percent of its business. Its food interests, Aotearoa Seafoods, Tohu Wines and Ngatahi Horticulture, make up the remaining 30 percent and they are now collectively known as Kono (the Maori name for a basket woven out of New Zealand flax that was traditionally used to serve food).
In what has been a nine year process of brand reinvention, Wakatū began using the koru logo in 2003 on fruit exports to France and Belgium, then on mussel and wine exports to the US in 2007 and 2008. Now it exports seafood and wine to 25 countries and it plans to introduce new products under the Kono brand in the future.
The new brand colours were selected based on Asian consumers' feedback, who preferred the blue and green colours to the standard black associated with many New Zealand brands. Much like the recently refreshed Sealord logo, there is plenty of cultural symbolism in the new design, with the blue representative of the ocean and the green representative of the land. The flax leaf connecting the ‘K’ to the ‘N’ is representative of how knowledge is passed intergenerationally through families.
“This [branding] is particularly effective in China," Kono chief executive Keith Palmer says. "China is potentially the largest market for our seafood and we have established relationships and cultural similarities between our Maori way of doing business and the Chinese approach."