For a very long time I have treated Australia and New Zealand as a combined population for economic reasons. I have lived and worked in Australia for the equivalent of a few years. Mostly I was in Sydney and Melbourne but also had extended stays in Brisbane and Adelaide as well as shorter trips to other cities and towns. It is a very big place and I’ve been visiting since 1985 on a regular basis. For a short time in the late 80’s  I literally commuted each week so my carbon footprint is enormous.

The point of such musings is that even when the Australian and NZ populations are combined at around 31.8m this still only represents “0.39% of the total world population” according to google. So despite thinking 30 something million is a lot – it is still much less than the 39ish million in Canada.

The US population is around 333m. Generally if we have a project in NZ we multiply by 7 to get an idea of what the potential market size / scale needs might be. But for the combined ANZ size of 31.8m we’d have to multiply by 10.5 times to get the scale of the US and for US/ Canada at 372m combined it would be well over 11 times.

Of course – scaling anything up is not as easy as it sounds but it does put some news stories in perspective. The population of Lebanon is slightly larger than New Zealand but Denmark is a better comparison. For example 86% of Danes speak English. I did some research for a project in India a few years ago and there are 6 major language groups so scaling anything there has to be targeted for each local language and culture.

A sobering thought and I’m just not going to mention Indonesia, China, India or other bigger population areas but getting anything to scale up globally is a giant achievement.

As antipodeans our default is probably English speaking but it goes without saying that there are other very large language groups that an be addressed. I’m fascinated by advertising agencies who need to adapt to the local nuances even between Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and US English for example.

If we see a UK or US ad in NZ we can sort of understand what is going on but it is unlikely to be persuasive and that is the million dollar pivot point.

Consequently – despite all the googling and temptation to run some numbers in a spreadsheet; scaling up anything is much more challenging than it looks.   Culture matters locally and internationally. Meaning is a moving target and that business concept might not mean what you think it means.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay



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