New Zealand Merino, Pursuing Acceleration Through Collaboration

By Lyn Denend, Baba Shiv
2011 | Case No. M338 | Length 37 pgs.

In 2010, the New Zealand Merino Company Limited (NZM) secured a combination of government and private funding to help it further advance its efforts to revolutionize the country’s sheep industry. Specifically, the company’s top priorities were to expand the international market for New Zealand Merino wool, grow New Zealand’s fine wool supply base, and drive greater wealth to the country’s sheep farmers by extending the NZM model to their other sheep-based products, such as meat, leather, and lanolin. To address the priority of expanding the international market for the country’s fine Merino wool, NZM decided to convene a meeting of its key brand partners to get their input, seek new ideas, and attempt to engage them in working together toward this mutually beneficial goal. Even though they were competitors to varying degrees, they all had invested heavily (or were planning to do so) in products made from the wool procured through NZM, and they all had a direct interest in seeing demand for these products increase. NZM hoped that they would be willing to think collectively and consider collaborating for the benefit of all players in the category. However, NZM was unsure how the brand partners would feel about joining forces and the extent to which they could agree on specific messages and activities that would help accelerate the growth of the New Zealand Merino wool category. This case provides background information on New Zealand, Merino wool and the wool industry, NZM, and its partners. It also describes the convening of the brand partners which took place in September 2010. An expanded version of the case, which includes photographs and videos, is available online at New Zealand Merino at

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