The largest piece of consumer research in a decade will result in one of the world’s most prominent brands being replaced in the New Zealand fuel market by something said to be 'entirely Kiwi'.
In April 2010, Shell’s fuel business in New Zealand was sold to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Kiwi infrastructure company Infratil for NZ$695 million. Greenstone Energy is the company that owns and operates these assets.
“When the Shell business was purchased, we set about trying to understand what consumers actually wanted in a retail fuel company, how they felt about this sector and the companies operating in it,” said Greenstone CEO Mike Bennetts.
“This became the biggest piece of industry-specific consumer research in a decade, touching 17,000 consumers. The insights we’ve gained from listening to our customers and those of our competitors have seen us radically rethink our business.”
Mr Bennetts said the most immediate and visible change would be the largest and most visible rebranding exercise in recent New Zealand history.
“Our customers told us loud and clear that the way we think about ourselves as Kiwis – our national identity – is changing fast.
“The research was overwhelming in reinforcing the desire of New Zealanders to support world-class Kiwi companies, celebrate success, and take on the world and win.
“We’re already taking on the world through bringing a major international energy brand into Kiwi ownership to compete against the multinationals and we’ve decided we have a much more compelling story to tell under a distinctly Kiwi brand,” said Mr Bennetts.
“The desire expressed in the consumer research for a distinctly Kiwi identity has led us, through a lengthy and thorough process, to arrive at our new identity as simply ‘Z’. Z – pronounced Zed – is the first letter of the last word of the country to which our business is solely committed.
“The Z brand will provide a visual point of difference and customers will know they’re supporting a Kiwi company… We will continue to sell world-class fuels and will differentiate ourselves by committing to a level of forecourt service for people that want it, and support New Zealand suppliers where possible. We will also be giving back to communities in which the Z brand is based. The main difference over time, however, will be a Kiwi attitude.”
“We reckon that customers deserve better than what they’ve been getting and we reckon New Zealand is ready for a change,” said Mr Bennetts.
“With every Kiwi now a shareholder in our business through the ownership of the New Zealand Super Fund, we’re committed to setting a new standard, putting the customer first and working to become a world-class Kiwi company.”

This article first appeared on