Hubbards: Community investment a pillar of good business

22 September 2015

As consumers begin to expect more from companies, investing in the community has become a smarter way of conducting business, increasing brand loyalty and building a positive business story.

Since being established in 1988 community investment has been key to Hubbards’ business strategy. Founder Dick Hubbard started the company to create a better, more positive community through nutritious foods and investing in his employees and their families.

Rebecca Bergs, Marketing Manager at Hubbards, says that establishing the business in South Auckland 27 years ago was part of Dick Hubbard recognising and understanding the benefit he could bring to the low socio-economic area.

“Dick was one of the pioneers of corporate social responsibility – which wasn’t even heard of in 1988. He was one of the instigators within New Zealand to bring the idea over here,” Rebecca says.  “One of the key contributors to helping communities that are somewhat deprived is to give people jobs and it’s a flow on effect.”

Watch this 30 second video from Hubbards: ‘Keep the Good Going’

Over the course of 27 years the company’s view towards community investment has evolved into a more targeted, focussed approach.

“In the past we have looked at the whole of New Zealand and we would try to make a difference and help people through providing breakfast cereals, and supporting events, sponsorships and charities. This includes staff participating in activities such as entering teams in the local Head2Head Charity walk, cooking dinners at Auckland’s Ronald McDonald House and delivering cereal for school breakfast programmes.”

An important part of developing and focussing Hubbards’ community investment strategies has been to involve staff and find out how the company can invest in its workforce, their families and their communities.

An internal survey showed that 80 per cent of Hubbards’ staff live in South Auckland and the company is moving to focus its resources on further commitment and improvement of the local community.

“By responding to the health and wellbeing needs of South Auckland we positively impact the immediate issues while helping set things into a positive direction for the future. We establish points of connection and collaboration to help a wide variety of community organisations.

“We are very grassroots in our support and supporting the community is part and parcel with what we do and staff engagement is key to this. It’s not about finding one organisation and regularly funding it, it’s about empowering other people in the community who are already making a difference.”

One of Hubbards’ key commitments is to the South Auckland Breakfast Club, an initiative that provides breakfast free of charge to children in need. Through the initiative, Hubbards provides more than 1,000 breakfasts a week to children across the eight breakfast club regions in Auckland.

Rebecca says that community investment benefits the company and the community.

“For people working at Hubbards it gives us all a sense of purpose. It’s not just bringing cereal to the market, we go beyond our brand and our products. Internally it drives us and makes us feel happy and happy people are a good thing in a company.

“Now that we’re taking a more focussed approach we are building a reputation locally and that has driven more momentum for us to keep the good going.”

Hubbards’ commitment to building a sustainable future for the community is integrated with business strategy, Rebecca says, and this has an influence on brand strategy.

“We have to look at what we do as a brand, so that’s another key pillar of our community activity. If we do any marketing it’s looking at what we can do across the broader community in New Zealand,” she says.

Julia Jackson, Transformation Leader – Community at the Sustainable Business Network, says “it’s been great watching Hubbards’ strategy evolve over the past few years and they’re really starting to focus on issues that matter to them as a business and to their community”. 

Head2Head Event

The Head2Head charity focuses on local struggles, targeting children to come up with long term sustainable solutions. The Head2Head walk is a fundraiser taking place in Auckland on 14-15 November, sponsored by Hubbards. To get involved visit Head2HeadWalk.com.