The 3 aspects of authenticity
We unpack the three aspects of authenticity through our collaboration with Ngai Tahu Farming.
The best part of our job is the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of our clients.
Experiencing their ‘world view‘ is an opportunity to learn, discover and develop a whole new way of thinking, working and being. Our most recent collaboration with Ngāi Tahu Farming (NTF) was no exception. Together with the Ngāi Tahu team, we unpacked the truth of authenticity through an indigenous and farming lens.
The brief was to develop and execute the brand strategy for Ngāi Tahu Farming; to connect with Ngāi Tahu aspirations and set the foundation for value add growth. We soon realised maintaining authenticity was the primary measure of success; fail here, and everything else was irrelevant.
We explored why authenticity is such a struggle for even the most purpose led organisations. We discovered authenticity waivers when the expectations of shareholders, stakeholders, society and the planet are misaligned with the expectations of customers or consumers. So for NTF, we had to convey their commitment to people, profit and planet with a strong focus on culture, i.e. articulating the Ngāi Tahu world view.
To achieve this, we applied human centred design to reach a framework for authenticity. This framework informed both design and execution of the brand. We focused on consistently reinforcing three critical aspects of authenticity within the NTF design language.
TO ALWAYS LEAD WITH THE ‘WHY’
The Ngāi Tahu world view and values are brought to life within NTF through several meaningful whakatauki (proverbs). Toitū te Marae o Tane, Toitū te Marae o Tangaroa, Toitu te Iwi (when land and water are sustained, the people will prosper) was the obvious whakatauki to represent the ‘why’ or purpose empowering the NTF team. This whakatauki informed our design language which centres on NTF’s commitment to the betterment of the planet and its people through a whenua (land) based business.
PROVIDE A FRAME OF REFERENCE FOR THE TRUTH
We realised truth is the only measure of authenticity, and the truth for Ngāi Tahu Farming was deeply connected to the Ngāi Tahu whakapapa (genealogy) and the Ngai Tahu values. This was our frame of reference to deliver on the most accurate definition of a brand—trust (a brand is simply trust, Steve Jobs).
ALLOW FOR VULNERABILITY
Together we realised that living by core values requires constant mindfulness, strong leadership, and role modelling. It was also apparent that getting this right isn’t always easy—for anyone. So, we tried to capture this vulnerability through imagery and stories which showcase NTF’s commitment to continuous growth and improvement.
The overall design language drew inspiration from the whenua (land), its colours, textures and interconnectedness with the tāngata (people). The photography by Josh Griggs further reinforced these two elements. We wanted the photography to capture the hardworking, innovative, and pioneering spirit of the Ngāi Tahu tipuna (ancestors) which is reflected in the NTF kaimahi (workers) across the various divisions. These were carefully curated along with the illustrative elements to embody the NTF values and then brought to life online by the talented web team at Libby & Ben.
On reflection, we merely articulated and translated an authenticity that was always there. A truly collaborative approach enabled us to deliver a brand experience that is honest, allows for vulnerability and is clearly purpose led. As a collaborator, we took away the importance and the power of vulnerability and humility when conveying a story.
Client: Ngāi Tahu Farming
Strategy, design and execution: CoPlantation
Designer: Laura Forlong
Photography: Josh Griggs
Web: Libby & Ben