60 Seconds with Brendan O’Connell from Crannora Consulting

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Crannora Consulting as our New Zealand Partner. Brendan O’Connell, founder of Crannora, and Treza Gallogly will assist to help carve out new commercial paths for our clients. In 2018, Enterprise Ireland client companies saw double digit growth in exports to New Zealand and due to the increasing importance of this market for Irish companies we are focused on providing support to clients hoping to enter or expand within New Zealand.

Brendan and Treza are a powerful combination. Brendan comes from a diverse background across Agritech, Telco, Medtech and Consumer goods. He has a wealth of experience developing technology and business strategies and coaching companies to success. Treza (New Zealand Trade Connection) brings deep experience in providing trade consultancy services to overseas companies entering the NZ market across all sectors, and has worked with many Irish companies over the past 10 years. Together they bring a combination of skills, experience and connections that make a potent resource for Irish business in the region

Q.What do you see as the opportunities for Irish companies in New Zealand?

A. There’s a developing mixture of conditions that add up to real opportunity for Irish companies. Economically, things are healthy and there’s a mood of both government and private investment for growth. It’s also easy to do business here. The natural affinity between the two countries and their cultures mean that connections can be made, and business started, relatively quickly. The NZ strengths in agriculture mean there is definitely opportunity in agritech. There is probably even bigger opportunity in some of the other digital technology sectors. Whether as consumers, developers or collaborators there is significant activity in areas such as Fintech, IOT, health and education.

Q. What do you see as the major trends facing these sectors in the next five years?

A. Like their global counterparts, NZ organisations are striving to develop their digital capabilities. Digital tools are a way to build, or re-establish, consumer trust in an era where some sectors are under pressure in terms of both margins and retention. The challenge is not a lack of data, but a lack of skilled resource and understanding to draw the necessary insights out of the data. To address this, partnerships and collaboration are key strategies being driven by many NZ organisations in these sectors. 

Q. What advise do you give companies considering the market for the first time?

A. The same advice you’d give any company looking to grow their business, sleep with your customers! I mean spend time with them in their ‘house’ and understand what’s really going on. The opportunity and challenge for Irish business in NZ is the similarity. It is easy to see the opportunities given the similarities in the two countries and cultures. However, it would be wrong to assume that beyond the surface things are the same. The differences are potentially subtle and important. It’s vital to spend time on the ground and really uncover the points of difference that will either hinder or enable success.

Q. Many Irish companies have seen success in the market. Why do you think Ireland is so well received from a business perspective?

A. Ireland has a lot to offer and, coming from the Irish, the offer is welcomed. Both cultures are grounded in similar values with a focus on being pragmatic, honest and direct. Seasoning that with a good dose of humour and positive rivalry (both in trade and sport) makes for very healthy business relations.

Q. What should people know about the business culture in New Zealand?

A. Like I’ve mentioned, a lot of the business culture will be very familiar to Irish business. People want to engage and understand who they are dealing with, so some banter on background and personal interests is imperative. This applies to all NZ business and is particularly important in Maori business in a way that rings true for us Irish also. Being direct and pragmatic is important. High pressure sales tactics don’t go down well, and neither does waffle. It’s also worth noting that there is NO business Dec-Jan! We’re all on the beach.

Q. Tell us a fun fact about New Zealand.

Like Sally, it’s long and tall. This thin strip of lands covers enough longitude to incorporate every climatic type except desert, sometimes at the same time. Nowhere in NZ is more than 120km from the coast and three quarters of the land is above 200m in altitude. Those physical attributes impact a lot of things like population centres, connectivity, farming types, travel and transport. It also prides itself on flightless birds, go figure.

Q. Finally, how can Enterprise Ireland clients reach you to discuss New Zealand opportunities?

A. Best point of contact is through your Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser. We look forward to working with any who wants to explore NZ opportunities.

Leave a Reply