Rob Bree worked with us on a number of projects over several years. We enlisted him to raise the marketing skill set of this 30 plus team. His approach is to invest time in understanding the challenges facing the business and then work closely with the people involved to help them develop appropriate strategies. This typically took the form of workshops supplemented by the development of a very clear recommendations document. The added value he brings over and above his contributions to the projects is his encouragement to look at situations from an objective viewpoint with a "what, so what, now what?" approach. In that way I have definitely seen my business and people develop new skills. Rob helped me as the Manager set strategy and focus the team on the best opportunities. It also made it easier for me to challenge my team to aim higher and deliver fresh thinking. He works across our portfolio and has also worked with our surgical team to assist with the positioning and marketing of a new therapy. As well as our consultant he has become a good friend to the business, a great sounding board for any Manager. Someone we like having around on a regular basis.
Jon Clausen, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
We worked with Rob first as a design coach, and then as acting marketing manager, when we had a gap in our organisation. We really enjoyed working with Rob and drawing on his experience and enthusiasm. Rob brought a new vision to our marketing group, concentrating on customer empathy and up-skilling the team. He was an important driver of our transition from marketing being just communications to marketing playing a major part in our organisation’s overall strategy.
Michael Macknight ADInstruments
I have worked with Rob for 4 years since the research industry merged two separate industry associations into Research Association New Zealand. Rob was instrumental in both facilitating and then executing the successful merger. He is a master facilitator, always taking a very organised and analytical approach, ensuring everyone’s views are heard and taken on board by the group. It would not have happened at all or as smoothly, without Rob paving the way. As general manager he leads RANZ ensuring the volunteer Board remains committed to its strategic purpose. Rob is very tenacious, driving his objectives until he is successful.
Maria Tyrrell Research Association New Zealand
Since 2008 Rob has led a wide variety of initiatives on our behalf ranging from market research and business process analysis to new venture explorations, strategy development, customer loyalty rewards and marketing training. He has consistently brought a healthy balance of understanding what our business is trying to achieve along with thoughtfully challenging us from the outset with great questions. This approach has resulted in robust, collaborative projects that exceed business expectations and lead to the highly successful implementation of plans. By engaging with all levels of our organisation, clearly communicating a project roadmap and delivering on time, Rob has become an important and valued contributor to our business and someone we thoroughly enjoy working with.
Scott Meacham, Zoetis
Tasman Insulation commissioned Rob Bree to assist us develop and drive our business strategy and marketing plans. Working closely with the senior team and then the marketing team, Rob rapidly developed an understanding of the underlying issues and opportunities that our market and business faces. He then led a process through which we collaboratively developed a set of documents which delivered a clear strategy, clarified the vision, set future goals and provided a clear set of action plans to achieve our aims. What is he like to work with? Full of energy, ideas and a passion to help make a difference. He is excellent at engaging staff at all levels in the business. He is commercially focused, able to provide an independent viewpoint and highlight areas worthy of further development. His skill, honesty and forthright style ensured that our teams stayed focused on the task and actions.
Tony Te Au Tasman Insulation (Pink Batts) NZ
"We commissioned Rob to help us develop the Five Year Growth Strategy. He really delivered on our expectations of the project. What stood out for me was his refreshing and 'real' approach to life in business. He was excellent at identifying the true breakthrough strategy and got us focused on the required actions to help us achieve our aims. Not only did he outline our growth strategy, goals, vision and mission but importantly helped us to agree and capture the details and the actions within a clearly documented, articulate plan. We recommend him and his talents to others wanting to realize their growth potential.”
Stefan Lepionka Charlie's Trading Company
Rob did a fantastic job deciphering who we are and what our Purpose is. I liked the way he worked out what we were good at, where we had potential and then linked that through to true market opportunities. We then used him to lead us in taking our high level Purpose and turn this into practical and real deliverables in user-inspired product innovation and branding. Rob has a very perceptive mind and has an easy method in taking the theory and applying it practically in the business place.
Tom Boon Taranaki Pine
ScanCam™ is a new security technology we designed and developed for the global retail industry right here in NZ. Rob got right to work helping us with the development of a marketing proposition and strategy. Not only did he do the strategic work but he also brought on board a designer and film company. Working with a remarkably small budget he wrote, directed and oversaw the development of a very useful marketing package including a sales presenter, product demonstration video and exhibition materials. He is very experienced in all facets of branding and marketing and while he often works with large organizations, he was able to change gear and help our start-up to come out of our corner swinging. It's been a hard slog but Rob's contributions have taken us a long way towards establishing a beach head with several very large US retailers. The marketing material that Rob helped us create has been used time and time again proving its value. I thoroughly recommend him as a marketer and contributor to any company looking to take a big step forward.
Peter Stothers Zenith Asset Management Ltd
Rob has a long-standing association with the advertising industry going back to his early marketing career. He is well known in industry circles as someone with a unique understanding of clients and agencies who can be relied on to act with integrity across the many business relationships he holds. CAANZ greatly values Rob for his enquiring mind and commercial insights. He is the consummate professional and I have no hesitation in recommending his services to anyone seeking assistance with marketing and communications challenges in their business."
Rick Osborne Communications Agencies Association NZ
We engaged Rob to facilitate and lead a review of the NAB market offering and organization structure. His experience in business allowed him to quickly identify and understand our unique issues and opportunities. The outputs of the project were a united team vision plus a clear set of possible structures with one a standout to pursue. He also helped us to identify and agree specific and achievable next steps. We found Rob to be professional and trustworthy as well as friendly and compassionate. He remained focused, on brief, to the point. He mentored the process, and helped us find the answers, as opposed to telling us the solution. This allowed the whole team to support the solution and help in the delivery of it.
Robert Munro Newspaper Advertising Bureau
MYFARM contracted Rob to conduct a thorough, independent review of our brand, marketing and sales process. During the first day he drilled down into our business model, our customer tiers, our competitive advantages and our customer journey. At the conclusion of this day he provided a very thorough review document and identified a number of ways the sales team could make better use of our database, enhance the customer experience and ultimately increase sales. During the second day Rob reviewed our brand and marketing tools and process. He then worked with us to produce a comprehensive new marketing strategy and was subsequently engaged to liaise with our marketing team and external providers to assist with putting this in place. Following Rob’s review we re-worked and greatly improved our brand proposition and logo; implemented a much more clearly defined marketing strategy; implemented an improved brand advertising campaign; refined our sales process by switching to an online database which can be accessed by all staff; focused more on the customer journey and techniques to move cold prospects along the path towards hot leads. Rob is very professional, efficient and easy to deal with. He brought a fresh eye and clarity to our business by asking the right questions, listening and only making recommendations after he had gained a clear understanding of who we were and how we operated. We would happily recommend him in this role for other businesses.
Sarah McVerry, MYFARM
Rob will be used as a yard stick for all others. His compact and very intense session left us much clearer on who we are, what we are about, and what we need to do to achieve our goals. He then gave us a document which we can use as a tool to keep us on our chosen path. Once Rob casts his spell you are overwhelmed by his sense of confidence and focus and it becomes contagious.
Brian Thiel Renaissance Brewing Company
We engaged Rob to develop a World Bank funded marketing strategy and marketing tools aimed at promoting Vanuatu’s seasonal labour workforce. From my first meeting with Rob, I knew the project would be a success. His ability to quickly understand the complexities of the assignment was outstanding. Rob’s excellent relationship management and communication skills ensured that the scope was clearly defined and that key stakeholders agreed upon the outcomes. His collaborative approach ensured that we were regularly informed regarding his direction and progress throughout the duration of the project. He not only delivered upon his vision but exceeded all our expectations and he was a pleasure to work with. I would draw on his expertise again without a second thought. If you require a marketing professional of the highest calibre, talk to Rob Bree before you do anything else.
Rhys Jones, Pacific Cooperation Foundation
From 2006 to 2013 Rob was a fellow trustee of Ficino School. During this time Rob contributed very effectively to board discussions and decision making, providing valuable strategic guidance and insight. In particular Rob created and co-ordinated a successful marketing campaign for Ficino School as his main board priority. I have always found him to be reliable and entirely trustworthy. I can confidently recommend Rob as a man of good character with the creative skills and experience to fulfil the challenges he sets or accepts.”
Lawrence Ames Ficino School
In both instances where we worked with Rob, he simplified a daunting project. He immediately understood what we needed and he set about owning the project and getting it done from discovery sessions with internal stakeholders, through to exploration, recommendations and concise deliverables. He kept the working group informed at all steps along the way and sought input when necessary. Rob provides a lot of information but equally distils that down so you can use as little or as much as you need.
Lexie Ribot TVNZ
What really stood out for us is his ability to take the diverse and complex and create a picture that everyone can see with clarity. Rob took a "what? so what? now what?" approach; the purpose being to develop and validate a picture of how changes in a market segment would look going forward. He began with a full round of interviews of company employees, followed by a literature search and interviews with a broad group of customers and stakeholders. He then adeptly distilled this information into a range of actionable options for the company to realistically pursue. His special skill is very much in asking the right questions in a way that supported us to determine the best answers for ourselves in a collaborative manner. As well as that he provided a realistic plan including prioritization and suggested timelines that we are subsequently actioning.
Kim Fry Pfizer Animal Health NZ
We worked with Rob on a workshop to assist in the development for launch of a new on-line product. I wanted his help primarily in providing some strategy and guidance behind the development of a new brand name. He understood my goals and worked with me to achieve them. He kept our session well-paced, interesting and very thought-provoking. He definitely provided the strategic process that I was after. We ended up using one of the suggestions that came out of the session! I was certainly pleased with the nature of the work and would definitely recommend his services.
Aidan Vince ASB BANK
Think of someone who not only inspires and motivates your team, but helps guide you through a process of discovery that delivers “what” and “how” you and your team can achieve the impossible. He creates an environment and levels of participation that lead to practical, actionable and ultimately successful strategies and great results – something we are all pursuing.
Matthew Cody AMI Insurance
I have worked with Rob for the past 6 years in his capacity as chief executive of Research Association New Zealand (formerly AMRO). In that time I have seen Rob demonstrate a real passion for progress, to ultimately help the organisations he works with drive the necessary changes for growth. He is both pragmatic and visionary, and through his diverse experience he is able to bring lessons learnt from both small start-ups and large multi-national companies. I have been very impressed by the way he manages situations where there are multiple stakeholders - a rare but increasingly necessary skill these days.
Rob Clark, The Nielsen Company
During 2006/7 Rob was engaged as Executive Director of the Food Industry Group representing the interests of FIG members ANZA, CAANZ, NZFGC and the Media. Rob coordinated the many different and often difficult aspects of engagement with the Ministry of Health and various government and non-government bodies. His high energy level and efforts helped to greatly enhance the profile of the FIG and the position the industry took on this important and very public debate.
Jeremy Irwin NZ Food Industry Group
Rob has worked with our association to engage our members in the issues and threats to their businesses which have arisen as a result of the increasing incidence of obesity in the community. Due to his role with the Food Industry Group, he has been able to forge a sense of common purpose across the industry and its diverse stakeholders in New Zealand. Rob’s unique talents have meant that, with regular dialogue and the sharing of information, he has been able to convince a wide range of interests to take action and present a united response to the issues involved.
David Greenwood CEO Confectionery Manufacturers Australasia Ltd
Rob is passionate about his work, and always seeks opportunities to share and learn. He was responsible for bringing the health and food industry sectors together to work in partnership on innovative projects aimed at addressing Obesity and Type 2 diabetes .More specifically his contributions were: developing a joint programme for both sectors; driving and overseeing the programme; providing leadership and advice on effective strategies and real substantive changes that could be made to achieve the partnership agenda. Rob performed his role with much enthusiasm and focus, helping our organization to progress towards its goals and for increasing the greater food industry’s awareness, knowledge and understanding of the combined LBD programme and its aims and objectives.
Chad Paraone “Let’s Beat Diabetes” Counties-Manukau DHB
Rob was great. He brought a high level of marketing insight and experience that enabled our team to develop a successful and robust marketing strategy and plan that delivered on both the business and branding objectives of our client.
Geoff Suvalko Designworks
The fact that he has worked across so many categories means that he immediately understands your issues and gives real examples of how he has handled similar problems….this is what makes him different…he's been there, done that. I can’t say that about other consultants who tend to use theory instead of real life application.”
Colin Yee Research International
It was a very intense but also very pleasant experience. He was highly skilled and brought a much needed detached determination and energy to the project and clearly had my best interests at heart at all times. Our interaction seemed to take place in a space where there is no boundary and at a level where only a truthful exchange can take place. Without a doubt the most critical contribution he made was extracting a clear value proposition from my chaotic and complex set of objectives. The outcome was that working with Rob gave me the inspiration I needed to move on with confidence in a new direction.
Louis Boulanger Louis Boulanger Now Ltd
Rob undertook a review of the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand’s contractual relationships with its advertising, production and design agencies. Both ALAC staff and the agencies enjoyed Rob’s approach and found him constructive to work with. His approach is very personable and the added value comes from his ability to establish remarkably positive and trusting working relationships with all he spoke to. Additionally, Robert is very honest and will engage in debate and stand his ground as necessary, while in no way compromising the ability to reach the desired outcome. It is a welcome change to be challenged in our thinking in this way.
Belinda Airey Alcohol Advisory Council NZ
What Rob does is provide clarity. Both in his own thinking, and that of others. Furthermore he fully engages himself in projects and ensures the full engagement of others at the same time. Put simply, Rob is a catalyst for superior team performance and superior results.
Stuart Jeffcoat Mobius Research and Strategy
Rob assisted on our business startup project. He provided invaluable strategic direction and assisted the directors to clarify their thinking while formulating a clear business and marketing plan. His ability to see the wood from the trees saved time and considerable money in the early phase of the venture. His strength as a facilitator and his considerable marketing and business experience has added real value to our business.
Craig Polley Alphabet Soup
Rather than the usual talk-fest Rob demonstrates a skill in keeping a group of strong minded individuals focused and more importantly drawing out real and actionable insights across all aspects of the brands, communication and the business. Critical to this is a team approach grounded in hands-on multi-brand experience and current thinking.
Peter Myles Media Directions
Rob listened to the brief, took time to understand our needs and did not deliver a ‘text-book’ paraphrased solution. Rather the solution was tailored to the needs of the company and the select audience. He gave us an understanding of growth and in addition there is also now an understanding on what will be needed to research / market / action to achieve this growth. I was very satisfied with what was delivered and the feedback from the team was excellent – they all got lots out of the day that will help them with this year and onwards.
Michael Blake Auckland University
Rob is really good at facilitating projects that require strong strategic thinking and direction. He really focuses the team and guides them effectively and efficiently through the planning process. He brings his diverse industry backgrounds in advertising, strategic planning and consumer marketing to provide excellent planning tools, insights and workable plans which achieve great results.
Suzanne Subritzky GlaxoSmithKline NZ
Prior to Rob, the team appeared unable to lift itself above the day-to-day clutter to address and plan for the underlying strategic issues facing the business. With his guidance we were able to shift planning activities away from simply preparing documents to creating active, customer focused plans that were designed for implementation and growth.
Shane Paramore GlaxoSmithKline UK
Rob’s made a huge and positive difference to the work. His involvement and questioning has always led to better advertisements and clearer briefs. That’s saying a lot. We benefited from his marketing experience, his global thinking and his ability to build a structured and comprehensive strategy. He's great value and great fun too.
Gerrard Malcolm Insight NZ
We recently ran a trans-Tasman collaboration workshop for CEOs of Australian and NZ industry associations. I contacted Rob as I had known him for many years and I believe he had the right expertise to deliver measurable results. And boy did he deliver. At the start of the workshop we had 35% agreement to collaborate and two days later we finished the meeting at 97% intent to collaborate. Rob's facilitation skills were definitely an asset over the course of the workshop. He did a fantastic job. Totally recommend.
Brett Jeffery - General Manager New Zealand Australasian Society of Association Executives
Marketing Association members rate the ongoing development of marketing skills and expertise as the most important membership deliverable in the fast changing world of marketing. With that in mind, I was talking with growth strategist, Rob Bree, about the challenges we faced delivering against marketers’ needs for short courses due to the rapid growth of digital and other new forms of competition developing.
Rob suggested we consider the Vennli tool to gain insights as it has a proven track record in this area. Key points that raised my interest were:
1. the visual aspect of Vennli and its ability to immediately focus businesses in on what really matters most to customers,
2. a deeper look at our competition,
3. and access to Rob’s expertise.
Rob ran the project in a really professional manner which the MA team found very enjoyable and educational, and he brought a lot of added value over and above the tool itself.
The outcome has been greatly improved clarity on our customers, how they perceive us and how we compare to the competition. Due to the tool’s flexibility, it has also led to greater insights into our customer persona groups. This has allowed the MA to make key decisions based on these customer insights.
Vennli is extremely easy to use and my team are now trained in how to query the database for useful insights over and above the initial aims of the project. It shattered some myths as well as confirming some of our suspicions. It provides us with a really robust basis for inquiry and decision-making. The quality and reliability of the data means we can make strategic decisions with a high degree of confidence, using data collected from over 200 members and non-members.
I would recommend Rob Bree and Vennli, as the basis for strategy development, to any business wanting to better understand the relationship between their brands, customers and competitors.
Tony Mitchell – Chief Executive Marketing Association NZ