Insight into the hearts and minds of New Zealanders

With a deep connection to Kiwis, Stuff is well equipped to help businesses gather valuable data and insights to achieve business goals. We discover how the media organisation has supercharged its capability and invested in data to provide audiences and commercial partners with more of what they want and need.

Connecting and engaging with 3.5 million New Zealanders in any given month, that’s 83 percent of the New Zealand population, it’s safe to say Stuff has a finger on the nation’s pulse.

Dina Hay, Stuff’s Chief Data and Insights Officer, says the company’s vision is to be the most trusted organisation in Aotearoa, with a mission to “help make New Zealand a better place”. 

These speak to her intrinsic values. “Our purpose in the data and insights team is to supercharge the use of data and intelligence to help us win customers, and for our customers to win.” These customers include Stuff’s audience, readers, supporters, subscribers, as well as advertisers, the brands it works with, media agencies and commercial partners.

Dina Hay.

“We want to grow our audience and reach across New Zealand, and we want to grow our footprint with our commercial partners, but we also want them to succeed as well,” Dina says.

“As a new and growing data and insights team, we provide the business with the deepest knowledge and insights of New Zealanders so we can deliver on our strategic intent.”

Part of Dina’s vision is to shape Stuff’s capabilities around five areas of expertise; research and insights,
data governance, data and insight storytelling, data science, and data and insights consulting.

As a result of these capabilities, Stuff has established NowNext, a powerful tool that utilises Stuff’s unrivalled reach and scale to deeply understand how Kiwis think and provide rapid insights for brands and corporate businesses wishing to capture public views.

Within NowNext is four categories: “NowNext Horizons extends our understanding of emerging societal trends; NowNext Local investigates key areas that impact how connected Kiwis feel to their region; NowNext Travel understands Kiwis’ travel sentiments and intent to travel, and NowNext Your Way provides the opportunity to craft your own bespoke study.”

Alongside NowNext, Stuff is building up its own research community that regularly shares thoughts and experiences on various topics of interest to help achieve a deep understanding of New Zealanders. This feedback provides invaluable insights for its editorial team and the brands and businesses it works with. 

Previous surveys have taken deep dives into the lives of Kiwis post-pandemic, looked into New Zealanders’ feelings around travel, measured concerns and action on sustainability, and recently investigated the reasons behind low voter turnout in local body elections.

For clients, the process begins by approaching Stuff with a burning business and/or consumer question they would like to delve into. Using NowNext, Stuff can design the research framework and despatch a questionnaire to New Zealanders as well as its own research community.

“It’s what we call the voice of New Zealanders. And that’s where there’s a real role for NowNext and our research community to play.

“After analysing the results we can inform our commercial partners of what New Zealand is thinking and feeling, right here, right in this moment. Within a matter of days, we can surface up thousands of voices that are nationally representative across New Zealand, getting a full spectrum
of age, gender, region and ethnicity.”

One example is getting insight into how New Zealanders feel about sustainability.

A commercial partner approached Stuff wanting to get a gauge on where New Zealand is at in terms of aspirations and desires to live a more sustainable life, and what actions they are taking to do so. 

The business came prepared with a question and a desire to understand more, and Stuff was able to take care
of the rest.

“Once we understand what’s at the heart of the business question, then we can shape and format a questionnaire, and get it out for New Zealanders to respond to. We then analyse the data to surface the insights,” says Dina.

This sustainability case study revealed an interesting action gap. The majority of Kiwis responded that they want to live a more sustainable life, however much less were actually putting these intentions into action.

“While the stats found that 82 percent of New Zealanders aspire to live more sustainably, only 40 percent are actually making changes to do so.

“I believe this is a really interesting tension. And it’s a recurring tension point amongst New Zealanders between aspiration and reality.

“This presents real opportunities for brands to step in and help to bridge and reduce the action gap.” It’s these sorts of interesting and deep insights that are of great value to businesses hoping to make a positive impact on New Zealand society, Dina says. 

This article was first published in the 22/23 December/January issue of NZ Marketing magazine.

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