How brand experience is helping this New Zealand company become the latest market disruptor

4 minute read

Three Rockit apples sitting in a row

New Zealand’s picturesque Hawke’s Bay is home to one of the world’s newest disruptor companies, Rockit™ Apple.

This small but mighty company, which sells apples to 30 countries across the globe, is on a mission to become the world’s most loved apple brand – something the company’s latest results suggest it is well on its way to achieving. In 2021 the company has reported a 94 per cent increase in apple sales to Mainland China, with some channels delivering a 600 per cent increase following its marketing campaign celebrating one of the biggest dates on the Chinese calendar, Mid-Autumn festival. Over the next four years, Rockit is expected to achieve a 4x increase to the number of apples it exports across the world.

The secret to Rockit’s success is simple. Be different.

“While the rest of the world was super-sizing, Rockit did the exact opposite. We created a one-of-a-kind, perfectly-sized small apple, and packed it in unique packaging to disrupt the category. Different is how we stand out and get ahead,” explained Julian Smith, General Manager of Global Marketing.

Finding confidence to do different

To truly disrupt the international markets Rockit is operating in, the company recognised it’s brand needed to match the game-changing product it was delivering.

“We knew that if we wanted to disrupt our category, we needed to learn more about our global consumers and where our brand stood on the market,” said Julian.

To overcome this challenge, over the last 18 months Rockit has used Qualtrics’ brand experience management tool BrandXM™ and partnered with company’s dedicated Research Services team to undertake a range of consumer, brand, and product research programs – from concept ideation through to campaign and price testing. It’s a move that is equipping Rockit with valuable insights to grow its footprint across America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. By investing in understanding the brand experience consumers want and the opportunities in the market, Rockit has been able to deliver tailored and targeted brand and marketing campaigns delivering optimum results.

“Using Qualtrics, we’ve gained access to a plethora of consumer insights we didn’t have before. This is allowing us to track and segment our brand awareness and preference among consumers in multiple geographies. For instance, we can see what brand experience consumers in the Middle East respond best to, compared to their counterparts in Asia. Similarly, the insights captured allow us to understand more about the impact our product attributes – such as packaging and appearance – are having on buying decisions.

“The work we’re doing with Qualtrics is giving us the confidence to do things that are not only different, but also proven to deliver back to the bottom line,” said Julian.

Data-driven decisions

The ability to demonstrate how Rockit’s brand experience would quickly and meaningfully deliver back to the business ensures the experience management program at the company continues to go from strength to strength.

“Without our brand experience management platform, the business would have been pulling together data from 30 different surveys. It would not be a sustainable or effective model to deliver what we’re trying to achieve,” said Julian.

“Rockit now uses the brand experience data being captured to justify business decisions. We’re also starting to do more testing before launch as the business knows it can quickly get meaningful insights enabling every aspect of our growth in individual countries. The sophistication of these programs is increasing too, as we’re able to overlay seasonal and historical data to take tailored action,” said Julian.

The company’s brand experience data has also been used to secure funding from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise supporting Rockit’s international expansion.

The value of consistency

For organisations looking to follow Rockit’s success, Julian is quick to point to the value of continuous listening.

“Capturing consistent data sets at multiple points throughout the year allows you to understand the impact your brand and marketing programs are having, what you’re doing well, and where there’s opportunities to be better. This deep understanding of your brand is a great platform for any type of organisation looking to build and launch programs helping it stand out in crowded marketplaces,” said Juilan

At a time when organisations are looking to deliver the next best thing, Rockit is an important reminder to use the data and tools at your fingertips.

“A lot of the insights we need to grow a successful brand already exist. All we had to do was find a way to first collect them, and then secondly take action on them,” concluded Julian.

Get your hands on these apples

Rockit™ apples are available all year, in 30 countries around the world. Here’s where we are near you.