Born and raised in the UK, Will Brockbank has spent most of his FMCG career focusing on the most important meal of the day, first with Fonterra and now as Kellogg’s commercial director in New Zealand. With a business background spanning four continents, who better than him could take Kiwis’ breakfast to new heights?
It wasn’t always about milk and cereal. The first job he landed, in 2011, was as brand manager for Hamlet cigars and Camel cigarettes in the UK, followed by national account manager for convenience at Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Soon, however, the desire to work internationally kicked in, and the chance came with Fonterra Middle East in Dubai, where he remained for three years working as a senior brand manager.
Dubai itself was bound to play a major role in his life and for all the good reasons, including meeting his then-future Kiwi wife who, at the time, was working at Kraft. Ten years ago, while still in Dubai, an opportunity arose to join Kellogg’s as their marketing director for a broad diversity of markets, from the Middle East to Africa. Brockbank has since moved across a variety of positions within the company.
“This diversity of roles made me realise that, while every country in the world has a snack market, breakfast is very much dominated by local cultures, and that’s where the main challenge lies,” he said.
From Kellogg’s European HQ in Dublin, Ireland, he helped build key emerging markets and managed the EU portfolio, while also welcoming his first child. Then, in 2014, Kellogg’s offered him a job as director of breakfast brands in Australia. It was a time of great change there, as they launched a new advertising proposition for Special K, so he and his wife thought that was their final destination—until July 2015.
“Then this role in NZ came up. My wife had always wanted to move back home, so she agreed to it before I even thought about it,” he joked. “It has been a fantastic shift for me.”
The Kellogg’s brand stabilised in 2016 and is on track to meet its growth target for 2017. Brockbank won’t stop there.
“I want to make it the number one brand for breakfast in NZ,” he said. “The breakfast concept is expanding and is no longer limited to a bowl of cereal, so being able to influence Kiwis’ breakfast habits giving them healthier choices is what I like the most.”
Chances are New Zealanders will soon see new nutritious snacks popping up on shelves. “As the proliferation of premium muesli brands shows, consumers here are putting health first. Kiwis are early adopters of health trends, which is one of the divides between Australia and New Zealand,” he said. “We are constantly looking to renovate our products. I think that, between government and companies, we can make a difference and the Health Star Rating system goes in this direction. In the snack category, I see increasing opportunities opening up for kids’ snacks and protein bars.”
Kellogg’s is also giving back to the community through its global campaign ‘Breakfast for Better Days’, with a commitment to provide breakfast to people in need until 2025. The initiative launched late last year in New Zealand with a partnership with the Auckland City Mission.
As a health-conscious person himself, Brockbank is a firm believer that change comes from within, which also involves having a good company culture.
“We’re lucky to have an honest and open environment where everyone can bring their ideas to the table. Additionally, we encourage them to keep a healthy lifestyle, and with part of the team we even took part in the Auckland half marathon. And yes, we completed it.”
He certainly hasn’t lost his wanderlust yet, and often travels around the world with his two young kids, a five-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. “I want them to experience different cultures, and I like the fact they have had an international upbringing, being born in Ireland and Australia from a Kiwi mother and a British father.”