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Expanding horizons for New Zealand brands in China

Alpha Group is a well-established and successful health supplement business in China with its own stores, sales channels and active database of circa. 1 million customers. To leverage this infrastructure, Alpha Group created a new brand concept, ‘Kiwiso’ which has developed a range of nearly 50 New Zealand products across categories such as natural foods, personal care, skincare, intimate care, pet care, and mum and baby.


On September 4, 2021, Alpha Group launched its Kiwiso brand concept with its first store opening in Xiamen in the Fujian Province, with plans for 40 stores throughout China. The highly visual and technology-driven store experience is backed up by the Kiwiso app that reaches Alpha Group’s vast customer base in China. There have been more than 100,000 downloads of its app since launch in September.


The new concept provides a ripe opportunity for businesses that would otherwise struggle to get their stock into the Chinese market where it can be challenging building brand awareness and trust. While Alpha Group had previously kept below the radar in terms of proactive PR in New Zealand, due to potential IPO plans for parts of the company, it wanted to increase its profile, both in New Zealand and China ahead of the Kiwiso store opening.


Anthem aimed to gain earned media for Alpha Group and Kiwiso through the development of a media release and associated materials announcing the store opening. This was pitched to targeted outlets and journalists along with offering supplementary interviews. Select business media were invited to preview the ‘final’ New Zealand products due to be shipped to the new Kiwiso store opening, and interview opportunities were offered with a Kiwiso spokesperson at Alpha Group headquarters in Auckland.


Anthem was able to secure several pieces of media coverage through the Kiwiso media work. One of the highlights was a feature story for Newsroom by business reporter Anuja Nadkarni. Anuja used comments from Kiwiso commercial lead Mike Arand about the project, along with Peter Butler, the director of Nelson company Forest Herbs Research which produces products that are sold at the Kiwiso store. The story focused on the positive outcomes for involved Kiwi companies trying to burst into the Chinese market.


Anthem also pitched a local angle of the story to select regional media which was picked up by Stuff reporter Katie Townshend. The content focuses on the benefits of involvement in Kiwiso for Forest Herbs Research and was published on the Stuff website and in The Tasman Leader and the Nelson Mail. Further coverage of the Kiwiso launch in New Zealand includes a story in NZ Business and Exporter Today, along with a feature in Rotorua Daily Post’s Business Digest.


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