Go NZ: Building back from Covid
Overview of this campaign
The original concept, launched on March 16, was to encourage Kiwis to travel locally at a time when there was uncertainty around international travel.
In a series across the NZ Herald, Weekend Herald, Herald on Sunday and NZME's five regional daily newspapers, as well as nzherald.co.nz and NZME's radio networks, we would highlight the treasures in our own backyard.
But no sooner had the campaign begun than the landscape shifted again.
Just a week later, New Zealand was heading into lockdown and domestic travel was temporarily delayed.
Keen to continue with the vision of Go NZ, the team quickly expanded the brief into a series sharing the stories of Kiwi businesses forced to adapt in the world of Covid-19.
Through digital and print articles, and a brand new business podcast – The Pivot Pod – we celebrated those innovators and battlers.
Then, as the lockdown began to bite into the New Zealand economy, the campaign moved into a higher gear.
Now we really began to use the full might of the NZME operation to make a difference for Kiwis whose businesses were suffering in lockdown, and to tell the many uplifting stories of the times.
Editorially across print, digital and radio, Go NZ featured tales of resilience, determination, success and kindness.
We showcased personal, community and corporate goodwill, championed positive campaigns, thanked and celebrated the essential workers who were keeping our country ticking and did our bit to brighten the lives of Kiwis who were sequestered in their household “bubbles” for weeks on end.
Commercially, we worked with our clients to ensure their businesses were reaching the audiences they needed.
With New Zealand’s small provincial cities particularly devastated by lockdown, our five daily regional titles took up the torch under the sub-brand “Go Local!”.
The Northern Advocate, Bay of Plenty Times, Rotorua Daily Post, Hawke's Bay Today and Whanganui Chronicle - and their associated community newspapers - played a leadership role in encouraging their audiences to buy and support local.
Results for this campaign
Go NZ continued through the lockdown and beyond, as New Zealand began to move back down through the alert levels.
With editorial and commercial arms working in sync – successfully collaborating and innovating even while we ourselves were coping with the sudden change to working from home – we delivered fast, consistent, confidence-inspiring messaging and hundreds of heartwarming stories.
The response from the market was immediate and enthusiastic. With our advertising customers we moved from a supplier role into that of a valued partner in our clients’ future success.
Advertising revenue and market share began to recover and then stabilise.
Editorially, traffic to our network was soaring. At nzherald.co.nz, the average daily audience during lockdown was over 1.4 million UBs per day – up 27%. Go NZ stories were among those performing strongly.
Readership results were stunning: Readers of the daily Herald newspaper rocketed to 585,000 in November, an annual gain of 26% and the highest since 2011. Regional daily titles also enjoyed stellar readership results in 2020.
Finally, the Covid threat was contained to the point where domestic travel was once again possible.
The travel focus which was the original vision of Go NZ came back into play, and this time it developed into a major partnership with Tourism NZ.
Through several extraordinary months of 2020, Go NZ had become a vehicle for businesses to align with - a symbol of camaraderie and support for all New Zealand, of shared values and solidarity with the local enterprises that are at the grassroots of our economy.
Partnering with our advertisers and keeping our readers and listeners front-of-mind as well, we steered a course through the crisis – helping many of our clients’ businesses to survive and giving our own business the best chance to recover and thrive as well.
The campaign was a success editorially, commercially and for NZME as a whole, and showed what can be done when a talented team turns adversity into opportunity.