When it comes to national symbols, it seems to be a matter of national policy and/or national history. But nevertheless branding is not far, especialy for flags and other visual symbols. New Zealand is in a kind of visual identity turmoil since PM suggested that it could be necessary to change the national flag.
In the kiwi case the issue is that beyond the association with Lord of the Ring’s Middle Earth, people can’t distinguish – identify would say a brander – New Zealand’s flag, especially when it’s compared with the Australian one… Let’s be honest, we can’t blame tourists or color blind people for not seeing that the stars of the Southern Cross are red rather than white on the Australian flag.
In the business world it would be certainly a matter of a legal issue between two companies to have so similar logos. But here His Majesty The Queen and her former empire are more into a common (similar would say some people) identity. So if the Commonwealth and the Tolkien’s ring are no more eligible as New Zealand national symbols, which item can be used? A silver fern-leaf seems to be the solution. Why? This fern is not only endemic, but also the symbol used by the All Blacks, the national rugby team. Fair enough? Well… Looking on the global warming and the relatively young history of the international rugby, this choice can be criticized. Stars are certainly a more stable value in a long term vision…
As a brander, my question would be: are you sure that you want to use black as background for this new flag? Some other people are already using it for their “business”. A so called Islamic State… From the flying penguin point of view, a national flag should probably incorporate some coat of arms, like the one used by the British Antarctic Territory: