One concurrent theme in our interviews with place brand professionals so far is that – especially in the case of destination branding and marketing – success depends on the active collaboration among key tourism operators and stakeholders. As brand ambassadors, national carriers (airlines) play a particularly important role, since often they are the first experience a traveller or tourist has of a particular country or destination.
In this interview, Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon tells us how the country’s award-winning airline collaborates with Tourism New Zealand Marketing.
- Why the success of Air New Zealand and New Zealand as a country are inextricably linked;
- The role Air New Zealand plays in the country’s marketing campaign, and regarding New Zealand’s brand promise;
- To what extent country-of-origin plays a role for flag carriers;
- To what extent Air New Zealand’s brand mojo is influenced by the country’s green reputation.
Christopher, before you joined Air New Zealand in 2011, you were President and CEO of Unilever in Canada. What made you come back home?
I grew up as a kid always wanting to be a business person in New Zealand, and yet we don’t have that many large corporations. I learned so much at Unilever spending 16 of my 18 years there overseas, that I wanted to come back and use my skills and abilities that had made me successful and hook it up to company that has a real mission and purpose to help a whole country be more successful. In doing so, I believe as a leader I can help model out to other New Zealand corporates what a world class company can look like, and be not just successful, but more importantly significant.
It is a tremendous responsibility to lead Air New Zealand, but such a real privilege and honour to do so too.