Category Archives: Purpose Driven Marketing

Purpose driven brands – Pizza Hut Restaurants UK csuitepodcast interview

Show 43 of the csuitepodcast was recorded at The Holmes Report’s In2 Innovation Summit in London and my first guest was Gareth Hopley, Head of PR and Communications at Pizza Hut Restaurants in the UK.

Chatting with Gareth Hopely (left) of Pizza Hut Restaurants UK

Chatting with Gareth Hopley (left) of Pizza Hut Restaurants UK

Gareth had earlier taken part in a panel discussion at the event on the topic of ‘Purpose driven brands in an era of PR nightmares’, which had centred on brands with a purpose behind what they do, how that purpose is found, whether it should start internally and then be used for external marketing or whether agencies can help find the purpose to give you a reason to connect with your customer base.

Gareth said that it was heavily agreed on the panel that it is best to start with an internal purpose, which helps define who the brand is and that it should be authentic and genuine to what that organisation believes.

According to Gareth, Pizza Hut Restaurant’s purpose is ‘to be the most loved place to eat and work’ and the motivation behind this is that, as a restaurant business, the organisation wants customers to love to eat with them and want its employees to love to work for them and to feel connected to the company. Gareth said that the belief is that you will never make the customers feel better than you make your own people feel.  He added that the broader reason for this as a mission statement is that customers choose to spend an hour eating at their restaurants, for whatever reason, i.e., they could be celebrating or commiserating, but they have chosen Pizza Hut to spend that hour and so to make that hour great.  He said that you therefore need to ensure the workforce want to be there and support each other or they will not deliver the necessary service and therefore the business would fail.

Pizza Hut employs 8000 people in the UK and Gareth said that given they spend much of their time at work, it’s important to ensure they love it and care about the company.  Looking after the workforce is therefore extremely important and so Pizza Hut has partnered with Mental Health UK and Rethink. These charities were chosen because people are at the heart of the business – added to those thousands of employees, Pizza Hut also has about two and half million visitors to its restaurants every month.

Gareth explained that, with 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, this will mean a lot of people that touch the business are likely to be affected at some time.

Pizza Hut therefore want to create an environment and culture, internally, where people feel supported and can connect with each other.  The aim is to get to a point where all team members can raise their hand and say, ‘I need help’, without feeling judged and Gareth thinks that all Pizza Hut Restaurant’s employees have reacted positively to the charity partnerships.  Their management are therefore trained to help use emotional and behavioural skills, teaching them leadership and how to recognise how their behaviour impacts those around them, how they can empathise and support their team and recognize when their team members need help.  Of course you can teach them how to make a pizza, Gareth says, but he adds that it’s this management training that will ensure the customer gets the best service.

Gareth shared a story about a specific team manager who had been impacted by a mental health condition and recognised the stress of being a manager but he felt he couldn’t ask for help.  As he explained, at Pizza Hut, you can be running a team of 30 to 50 people and be responsible for a multi-million pound business at a very young age and the strain of that exacerbated this particular individual’s situation. He was therefore given the time off that he needed and returned to company as a team member when he felt ready, but has since re-joined the management program. Gareth was very proud of the fact that this proved this particular employee felt he could ask for help without the fear of being judged or treated badly.

Finally, as far as other campaigns that have inspired Gareth, he said liked Heineken’s ‘World Apart’. He felt the ad showed many similarities in what Heineken were trying to do compared with Pizza Hut’s purpose – just as a restaurant connects people so does going for a beer in a pub.

The campaign shows pairs of strangers who were shown videos about each other and realised they had contrasting and opposing views. They were then given the option to stay and discuss their differences or not.  Obviously they chose to stay but Gareth felt the way the campaign was shot and delivered felt very genuine. He thought that what it was communicating about Heineken having a broader purpose of bringing people together in the world resonated very strongly with what Pizza Hut believe, i.e. no matter who you are or what you are wearing or where you come from, everyone is welcome in their restaurants.

All previous shows of the csuitepodcast series are available on the websiteSoundclouditunes and TuneIn.  There is also a growing community on Facebook and Twitter, where you can get involved in the discussion.  Finally, if you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on itunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!

PR with a purpose – Pearson’s Project Literacy – csuitepodcast show 41

Show 41 of the csuitepodcast was recorded at PRWeek’s 2017 PR360 and the first of my three guests was Pearson’s VP for Social Impact and Global Campaigns, Emilie Colker who had taken part in a panel session talking about campaigns that are driving social impact and community mobilisation, where she spoke specifically about ‘Project Literacy’, the campaign founded by Pearson.

Russ and emilie

Emily was the 128th person I’ve interviewed since launching this podcast series three years ago and I am not going to lie, this interview is my favourite one.  She is so passionate about her job, so knowledgeable about Purpose Driven marketing and basically, just a lovely person to spend 15 minutes chatting to.  Please read this post, listen to her interview on the podcast and share the links about her campaign.

Emilie explained that, like many corporations, Pearson used to have a foundation that was responsible for all of the company’s CSR activities, but in 2014, the organisation decided to close it and bring, what they consider Social Impact, in-house, so that they could align it with their commercial ambitions and their mission as a whole.  This enabled them to look at some of the types of thought leadership that they could take a stance on and the kinds of partnerships they would need to fulfil and important cause, and wrapping it all in marketing.  As a result, they founded Project Literacy, as literacy is critical to Pearson’s mission of learning. From there, they did a landscape analysis to understand where the gaps were in the market, and what the opportunity was in terms of solving the crisis that 758m people are subject to.  However, Pearson sees itself as the convener, as it relies entirely their 100 partners (literacy organisations, corporations, third sector and charitable, media, research etc.,) for the campaign because, as Emilie said, literacy is a very saturated space and they wanted to ensure they were doing more as a community, rather than simply replicating what others are already doing.

Project Literacy has three tiers of partnerships:

  • Community
  • Collaborative
  • Strategic Partners who often co fund programming or marketing through in-kind resources or cash donations.

What was astonishing was the fact that, as Emilie said, we typically think of illiteracy as a developing world problem, but in fact, it’s a developed world problem too.  For example, she said that 34m Americans can’t read above a 5th Grade level and in the UK, one in five children leave primary school unable to have the right level of literacy, with it being even worse in London.  Emilie also made the point that this is a critical issue that is linked to pretty much every other issue or cause that we think about.  The problem is that it’s a stigma that people are ashamed of it and also, it’s something that doesn’t seem urgent.

Emilie shared two examples of programmes that she has worked on recently.

The first involved multiple partnerships in the US including with Microsoft, Pro Literacy and the University of Pennsylvania (Upenn) where they have developed a platform, previously developed by Upenn, that evaluates literacy skills of impoverished youth, and then provides remediation for them to improve their literacy skills in the community.

The second programme that Emily talked about was an accelerator that Pearson run with Unreasonable Institute, where they are working with four social enterprises that are solving illiteracy in indirect ways.  One of a couple of examples that Emilie gave was in Tanzania, where they are working with a company that provides feminine hygiene products to girls because they don’t go to school when they have their periods as they don’t have anything to manage them.  Pearson support this by putting these social entrepreneurs in touch with mentors, hold workshops with specialists to help them with financing options and help amplify their potential to deliver.

Project Literacy has won a number of industry awards for campaigns such as the ‘Alphabet of Illiteracy’, launched in February 2016, which was about how illiteracy underpins nearly every other issue in the world, and the ‘Mighty Pencil Machine’.

However, for Emilie, it would be a failure if it was purely a communication campaign.  She explained that this comes down to their theory of change, within which they look at three specific pillars that they measure under:

  1. How are they advancing best practice – amount of research available, types of programming being scaled that has evidence of it working
  2. Innovating for new solutions – looking at the beneficiary population and how that is leading to literacy outcomes
  3. Mobilisation Action and Generating Awareness – impression and reach

Emilie stressed that underpinning all of these measurements is the promise of irradiating illiteracy, working with policy makers and looking at ways that they can help communities, societies and countries specifically make change.  So for example, they have created a cost-benefit analysis to show that when people improve their literacy, what the likelihood is then of increasing their income. When multiplied by the time they have left to work, Project Literacy can then demonstrate to Governments how much literacy is going to impact the Gross National Product of that country.

Of course, as Emilie said, Pearson are committed to the project because it is tied to the organisation’s mission, but it also has a strong brand benefits for it too because, as she explained, they know that when people know that companies are invested in social missions, they are more likely to recommend those companies and so there is a higher grade of advocacy, especially at times of risk, they are more likely to support those companies.

The overall campaign has benefited from some big celebrity endorsement, such as actress Julianne Moore, particularly during international literacy day, which they achieved by appealing to the causes those individual celebrities cared about and campaigned for.

 

Emilie gave examples such as Bono & Elton John caring about AIDS and poverty, or Emma Watson who cares about Gender Inequality.  So when Emilie’s team shared with them about how illiteracy fuels these problems, they are wanted to share with their networks ways in which they can help.

Of course, you can get involved too, either personally or through your business by:

All previous shows of the csuitepodcast series are available on the website, Soundclouditunes and TuneIn.  There is also a growing community on Facebook and Twitter, where you can get involved in the discussion.  Finally, if you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on itunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!