Branding Basics for the Māori Entrepreneur

Nau mai ki taku rangitaki, welcome to my blog.

MEB stands for Māori Entrepreneur Branding number 101, I am going to write about some branding basics and why branding is important.

Sooooooo what is a brand?

The way I think of it, a brand is the wairua of your business. It is the connection of your brand to your target iwi. It is the emotional connection and response through the brands stories, images, colours and values that a potential client will use to choose one service or product over the another.

When I say your target iwi, i’m not talking about “im going to target Tuhoe, or target Kahungunu” I’m talking about your ideal client. Your target audience or even better your niche market.

target iwi = ideal client/ target audience/ niche market

1. Core Values

Core values are the manawa (heart) of your business. These core values are your beliefs and the foundation of your business. Everything within your business is built off the back of these values……’s how you interact with your clients, your standards, communication and mission statement. So let’s use Te Ha Branding as an example:

At the very foundation of Te Ha Branding lies aroha, manaakitanga, mahaki, and pono. Ingrained values from my Nanny, and without a doubt it crosses over to my mahi. I will always go out of my way for my clients with understanding and compassion.

And my mission statement is:

“Create beautiful designs for the māori entrepreneur that inspire and encourage meaningful connections to all around us.”

  1. Reputation Ko Te Ai Tanga a Mahaki taku iwi
    Ko Te-whanau a Taupara taku hapu

    My tipuna, Taupara had an amazing reputation for the gardens he built and earned the name “Taupara Kaitoa”, Taupara the industrious (Halbert 1999:116). WHY? Because of his hard work, discipline and diligence as a Rangatira and a great warrior.

    “Taupara Kaitoa”

    Be renowned for your unique skill set! Maybe the quality of your product or service is cream of the crop, maybe you provide exceptional customer service experience. Reputation is going to bring the customers to you and and it’s even better if you are renowned within your niche market…..they will flock to you like a pukeko to her babies.

  1. Website Experience

Your website is the kanohi (face) and whare (home) of your online business.

Straight off the bat, you want to make a good and everlasting impression to your ideal client.You want to ensure your visitors can easily find out who you are, what you do, and feel comfortable navigating through all content on your web site. Doing all of the above….builds a connection and trust.

It’s important to make sure your website is a reflection of your brand. Think about the images you use, do they reflect your core values? the quality of the images, the tone of voice within your copy, grammar, fonts and icons. What does your current website say about you and your business? Do you have a website?……….some food for thought whānau.

  1. Testimonials Awhi mai, awhi atu.

    As soon as I finish a project with a client; I always ask them to provide a testimonial….it has now become a part of my final process. It is the best way to provide a potential client a hands on account from a real persons experience. It’s a great way to showcase your value and reinforces your reputation from someone that has invested in your services and/or products.


  2. Client Experience
    A core value of Te Hā Branding is manaakitanga. Therefore respect, kindness, and support to the client is a given throughout the full duration of a project.

    The client experience is the way a client “feels” throughout a project. So here is my analogy; the client is essentially manuhiri and we all know when you welcome manuhiri onto a marae you make them feel warm and welcome and still follow kawa (policy) and tikanga (protocols).

    Some businesses are straightforward with their approach, no fluff, no nonsense. Others like my self, are heart-led and nurture working relationships. Whatever the approach maybe, you attract clients that resonate with your brand. Colours, copy, images, symbols and testimonials help communicate your style.

  3. Communication and tone Tone refers to the way you communicate through your copy and shows your brands character. Whether it be a social media post, blog or email. It conveys the tone of your brand and portrays your particular style. Are you to-the-point and no fluff? or Happy and super friendly? Or maybe you’re sassy and confident?

The way you write within emails or blog posts, speaks volumes about your brand. The tone you write with will convey a certain image to your readers, so make sure it’s the image you want. Do you want to be friendly? Do you want to be sassy? How do you feel about including stronger language, and how do you think your ideal audience will react to it? Copywriting is a powerful tool, so make sure you’re using it in a way that will strengthen and work well with the other components within your brand.

Well that’s all for now koutou, kia pai to rā.

Hā ki roto, Hā ki waho.

Ngā manaakitanga xx


Kupu hou mo te rangi:
target iwi = your target audience, your ideal client, your perfect customer


Kind Kupu

Jan is strong and assertive with her creative visions and an eye for detail and textures. The branding created for me has all of the elements I was feeling and they were expressed perfectly, I was thrilled with the result. Nga mihi nui Jan.
Tia Taurere-Clearsky

Indigenous Media Maker, Whaea Productions

Keen to explore some more?




Te Hā Branding is a Melbourne based branding,  graphic and website design business specialising working with māori entrepreneurs that are making a difference in organisations, non-profits, healers, creatives, coaches and consultants. Whether you’re just after a kōrero to hash things out or ready to jump in, drop me a karere and we can get the ball rolling!


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