Put your money where your community is

Nearly 90 years in business is a long time for any brand, let alone one in the construction sector. Ninety years in business is also a long time to occupy a positive brand position in the parochial townships that dot the landscapes of the lower South Island. So how does Breen continue to so favourably exist in the market (other than being excellent at what they do of course)?

People. It’s all about people.

Lindsay Breen is the fourth generation of Breen’s to take the helm. It’s a role that comes with expectations from the family, the board, shareholders, the market, the team and the community. Alongside the core business function of building stuff and things, is an honest (and refreshing) principle that people come first.

And because Breen focuses on people, Breen likes to sponsor stuff.

In 2024, you may have seen the Highlanders shorts feature a prominent white Breen logo wrapped around each player’s left leg. At almost any local sports field where there is a Breen office, across the back of many a team, you’ll see the Breen logo. Mountain bikers will have Breen on their arm. Bowls tournaments, Breen is there. Schools needing support. – Breen. Charity and fundraisers – you guessed it, Breen.

Where-ever there is a Breen office or yard, Breen is investing in sporting codes, young people, and older people, supporting people with stories and giving voice to people without.

Breen’s sponsorship and donation budget is arguably commensurate with its size but it’s the way it decides what to sponsor that stands it apart.

It’s about, “putting your money where your people are.” Says Lindsay Breen “We live where we build. And if we live there, we reckon it’s only right to support the people that support us.”

“Sitting in Alexandra,” continues Lindsay, “we don’t know what will make an impact in Twizel or Southland or even Wanaka for that matter. We’re just not close enough to it. So, each year, we give our area and divisional managers an amount for sponsorship so they can choose who to support, in a way that’s right for their community.”

How much money you might be asking? “Enough,” says Lindsay. And he’s not wrong.

Enough to make a difference to a lot of people, in lots of little ways. While the Highlanders gig might be a biggie (not every brand is going to get the chance to sponsor their favourite Super 12 team), the remainder of Breen’s sponsorships are much smaller.

As Lindsay puts it “we prefer our team gets involved in grassroots stuff. Often when we’re helping our community, we’re also inadvertently supporting someone in our team or their kid or grandkid. That feels right. It feels good.”

Giving back is just that. Giving back. No metrics. No measurement. Just honest, fair and generous support. It’s a simple lesson from a large company. And over 90 years, apart from the Breen name, it’s probably one of the main constants. Give to people and the rest will follow. Sponsorship is not a mandate, it’s not a tactic, it’s simply an embedded part of the business, of the Breen’s way of operating.