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Z is for New Zealand

11 May 2011

Z is for New Zealand

11 May 2011

The largest piece of consumer research in a decade will result in one of the world’s most prominent brands being replaced in the New Zealand fuel market by something entirely Kiwi.

In April 2010, Shell’s fuel business in New Zealand was sold to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Kiwi infrastructure company Infratil for NZ$695 million. Greenstone Energy is the company that owns and operates these assets.

“When the Shell business was purchased, we set about trying to understand what consumers actually wanted in a retail fuel company, how they felt about this sector and the companies operating in it,” said Greenstone CEO Mike Bennetts.

“This became the biggest piece of industry-specific consumer research in a decade, touching 17,000 consumers. The insights we’ve gained from listening to our customers and those of our competitors have seen us radically rethink our business.”

Mike Bennetts said the most immediate and visible change would be the largest and most visible rebranding exercise in recent New Zealand history.

“Our customers told us loud and clear that the way we think about ourselves as Kiwis – our national identity - is changing fast. We’ve shifted away from the number 8 wire Kiwi battler stereotypes to a more confident and assured sense of our place in the world.

“The research was overwhelming in reinforcing the desire of New Zealanders to support world class Kiwi companies, celebrate success, and take on the world and win.

“We’re already taking on the world through bringing a major international energy brand into Kiwi ownership to compete against the multinationals and we’ve decided we have a much more compelling story to tell under a distinctly Kiwi brand,” said Mike.

“The desire expressed in the consumer research for a distinctly Kiwi identity has led us, through a lengthy and thorough process, to arrive at our new identity as simply ‘Z’. Z – pronounced ‘Zed’ – is the first letter of the last word of the country to which our business is solely committed.

“The Z brand will provide a visual point of difference and customers will know they’re supporting a Kiwi company. However, consumers have told us while they will support a world-class Kiwi company, being Kiwi alone is not enough. We agree. The new brand represents visually what will be a complete overhaul of our customer offer.

“With the Z brand we will offer cafe quality food and coffee. We will continue to sell world-class fuels and will differentiate ourselves by committing to a level of forecourt service for people that want it, and support New Zealand suppliers where possible. We will also be giving back to communities in which the Z brand is based. The main difference over time, however, will be a Kiwi attitude.”

“We reckon that customers deserve better than what they’ve been getting and we reckon New Zealand is ready for a change,” said Mike.

“With every Kiwi now a shareholder in our business through the ownership of the New Zealand Super Fund, we’re committed to setting a new standard, putting the customer first and working to become a world-class Kiwi company.”

Z Energy is a New Zealand fuel company.  Formerly known as Greenstone Energy, Z Energy is the result of a partnership between the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation and Kiwi company Infratil Limited, who jointly acquired the downstream business of Shell New Zealand.  The purchase included Shell’s 220 service stations, their 17 per cent share in the New Zealand Refining Company, their 25 per cent stake in Fly Buys, plus all their commercial interests fuelling road transport, rail, marine and aviation.  
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