Marketing through a cultural lens

After finishing a Bachelor of Business and graduating from a scholarship in digital marketing with Meta and Whāriki, Kelly Marama Herewini is ready to take on the world of marketing, drawing from her unique perspective.

Born in Wellington, Kelly was first exposed to the world of marketing during her studies at university, where she completed a Bachelor of Business, majoring in sales and marketing. This ultimately sparked her passion for digital marketing. 

When she graduated in November of 2021, Kelly decided to take a break before heading straight into the workplace to spend time with her newborn son in Hawke’s Bay. However, before long she was itching to break into the industry. 

During her break, Kelly stumbled upon the Meta and Whāriki scholarship that gave rangatahi Māori the opportunity to learn more about digital marketing. “I finished my degree and, wanting to expand my horizons, I thought I’d apply and give it a go,” she says. 

“To me it looked like the perfect next step before entering the marketing industry.” 

The programme allowed Kelly to understand how her roots as someone of Māori heritage can add to the marketing world.

Entering her degree at university, Kelly says she was often the only Māori in a class of entirely white students. 

Kelly Marama Herewini.

“I found myself having to constantly explain what I meant by things. However, when I did the Te Mātātahi programme, I really appreciated the fact that I was in a space where I didn’t have to explain myself, everyone in the programme knew what I was trying to say.” 

From the programme, Kelly learnt how to appreciate how her culture made her different in the world of marketing. 

“Doing the programme closed the doubt gap of it being too hard to enter the marketing industry,” says Kelly. 

The programme taught Kelly to use her cultural roots and te ao Māori knowledge at the “forefront” of her career and apply them to issues that are relevant today. 

When it comes to marketing, she specifically likes to bring it back to her ancestors who are considered the “original storytellers”, who had “creative ways” of communicating and storytelling such as through songs, carvings and more. 

Especially in marketing, storytelling is relevant in all aspects and sectors of the industry, she adds.

“In a Māori worldview, and like other indigenous cultures, there is a lot of knowledge that can be used to make digital marketing reach wider audiences,” she says. 

“Even if it’s marketing a product, I think you can play into people’s emotions if you lean into storytelling, engaging customers with the product or service you are trying to sell.” 

Graduating from the programme in October 2022, Kelly is ready to take on the real world of marketing. 

“My next move is trying to get my foot in the industry door.” She’s keen to follow the digital marketing path, but later down the line would like to own a business that “supports small to medium Māori businesses and help them”. 

This article was originally published in the Dec/Jan 2022/23 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

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