Cate Blanchett At 'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' Press Line During The 2014 Comic-Con International Convention
Cast member Cate Blanchett poses at a press line for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, California July 26, 2014. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

New Zealand needs to pay more attention in brand building to boost its image as a modern economy. This is essential to broaden its international image, according to a leading public relations expert based in the United States. Brian Sweeney, based in New York is a Kiwii and a leading name in Public relations industry.

Sweeney is the chairman of public-relations company SweeneyVesty in New York. According to him, the awareness about New Zealand is up. But that is not enough to grab the opportunities. More attention needs to be paid in marketing brand New Zealand.

Sweeney told Stuff.Co. Nz, that there has been a surge in New Zealand's stock in the U.S. "Recently there was the appointment to the UN Security Council, the All Blacks game in Chicago, the Hobbit, and Lorde doing phenomenally well. Now everybody wants to come to New Zealand because they know a lot more about New Zealand than they did 20 years ago." Sweeney also mentioned rising clout of New Zealanders as a "managerial class" and pointed to the Kiwi connection of WalMart's chief executive for the U.S., Greg Foran, General Motors president Dan Ammann, Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan and Facebook chief creative officer Mark D'Arcy.

Half baked Campaign

Still, Sweeney is of the view that New Zealand is losing many opportunities. It is a country with a turnover of $180 billion, but it is spending an abysmal $65million on advertising campaigns. He suggested modifications to ongoing "Pure New Zealand" campaign, aimed at attracting overseas tourists. The campaign projects the image of the country with no people in it. He referred to the public response to it. Sweeney's daughter, studying at a business school in Boston was asked by people whether "New Zealand has shops and modern iving or people still live in the bush." He said, it seemed, for too long, New Zealand has been a bit aimless.

Problem of Positioning

Sweeney believes New Zealand can leverage global opportunities by aggressively showcasing the country as a modern economy. "At present, the messaging is quite diffuse. People have not quite made the connection that New Zealand has or understood the potential to become an innovation hub. From a governance point of view also, reputation management of a brand is very important".

Sweeney moved to the U.S., from New Zealand and decades ago, and established his Public Relations business SweeneyVesty along with his wife, Jane Vesty. He set up the PR company with the goal of creating a public relations firm with a scale and ability to forge long-term relationships with large organisations.

Sweeney's message to the world is that New Zealand has been amazingly successful in a range of fields because it is the most remote country yet the youngest discovered land mass, shaped by inward and outward migration. This kind of an "edge" can spur innovation very fast.

Hypocritical Campaign

Meanwhile, the Government's "100 per cent Pure New Zealand" tourism campaign came under fire and was dubbed hypocritical. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright remarked that New Zealand is not very pro active in the matter of curbing greenhouse gas discharges. She made these comments while releasing a new report that outlined the science behind predictions of climate change-driven sea-level rises, reported Stuff.Co.Nz.