Ask people around the world what things they most associate with New Zealand, and most will include a nod to the Lord of The Rings films which catapulted the country's spectacular vistas to international fame. And perhaps sheep, cows, or the famous All Blacks rugby team.

However, New Zealand doesn't immediately spring to mind as a country with a perception issue – in fact, the country has been one of the world's hottest tourist destinations for several years running.

But according to Rebecca Smith – Director of the New Zealand Story masterbrand – the country's wider reputation had almost become a victim of its own success: New Zealand's tourism brand, 100% Pure, had become so internationally successful that the country's other characteristics were being crowded out.

"It's extremely powerful and very well recognised. It's given (New Zealand) some level of recognition so that at least we're not starting from point zero. People have some indication of what we are, who we are, what we look like, and it's good," Smith said, in an exclusive interview with WARC.