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Hubbards Food / Food & Beverage Rebooting Hubbards to sell to NZ’s richest person.

Creating the brand traction needed for market domination and success.

Project type

Brand Reboot

Hubbards Foods


Brand strategy, Identity, TOV, Values, Culture, Digital, Brand campaign.

It’s probably fair to say that it’s hard for any founder not to be impressed (and slightly jealous) when they see another business selling for a substantial sum. As the Likes, Celebrations, Love and congratulatory comments climb up on the LinkedIn posts, you have to admire the smarts it takes to execute the perfect exit strategy. 

Unless you’re looking to build the next corporate empire that’ll still be kicking it in the next century, an exit strategy is something all good founders weave into their business plan. After all, having an end-game to play for helps focus the collective mind.

But what happens when a business deviates from the plan or is in danger of missing the exit signs altogether? This is the story of Hubbards Foods, the original up-start of New Zealand cereal.

Originally valued at $40m in 2009, Hubbards had become a tired number three in the category. Wanting to reclaim top-spot and position for a future exit, Hubbards was suffering from the effects of a nonaligned brand and ageing portfolio; and therefore a strategic rethink and rebrand was needed.

Working with the newly-appointed senior management team, Hunter quickly realised the Hubbards’ brand wasn’t broken; it just needed its mojo back. Flipping things, we immediately got them to think with a more entrepreneurial mindset.

With a new sense of purpose, Hubbards repositioned around the strategic yet philanthropic statement ‘Make good food. Then make a difference’. Of the positioning, former Hubbards marketing, Rebecca Bergs reflected...

“It was like rediscovering our heartbeat. It allowed us to communicate with people on a personal level, whilst giving us licence to pursue a NPD strategy that would overhaul our offering and help us scale.”

The NPD (new product development) strategy paid off with a new Amazing Muesli range that blew the competition away. The impact was such that the resulting yearly sales charts were horseshoe shaped as they illustrated the ‘before’ and ‘after’ effect of the rebrand and product launch. Hubbards was back. 

Fast-forward five years, the momentum had firmly put the business in the proverbial shop window with a stronger identity, product range and bottom line. Along came NZ FMCG group, Walter & Wild, and the rest is history. High-five time.

“After making three billion bowls of mueslis and cereals over 30 years, it was time to hand over the reins to a younger generation. I am really proud of what Diana and I have achieved. The company is in excellent shape with a strong management team, and the brand is a clear market leader in muesli. We had a lot of fun along the way.”
— Dick Hubbard, Founder

Brand Reboot Lessons / Key Takeaways:

  • Repositioning a brand in a competitive category (like RTE cereal) is never easy. Never underestimate the competition. Like any good chess game, surprising and well-planned moves are the best strategy.
  • Innovation comes in many forms. It can be as simple as changing the packaging format or more complex like a complete formula overhaul. Either way, focus on adding value to your consumer and retailer.
  • Selling your business can do funny things to founders. So if you do, make sure it’s for the right reasons. Otherwise, you could regret it for years to come. Watch Zach Klein’s talk Build The Company That You Wouldn't Sell on Do Lectures.

At Hunter, we can help you with:
Brand strategy, creative strategy, creative direction, art direction, copywriting, brand naming, logo design, brand identity, graphic design, packaging design, project management, production management 
and execution.

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