Marketing Game Changers 2020: Ozge Zoralioglu

Ozge Zoralioglu

Chief marketing officer, KFC, Yum! Brands

Chief development and growth officer, KFC

Years in current position: 3

Years with company: 6

Size of department: 14

Recent campaigns

Through contactless, safety, and free ­delivery campaigns, we showed our customers that they could continue to trust KFC to deliver our bucket of chicken and bring moments of joy within an easy, affordable and accessible way for all.

Recent achievements

I would say my achievement has been to continuously and consistently put people and our KFC brand first in every tough business decision I have ever had to make. For me, this is at the heart of what we do, and they always come first.

What is your objective in your current role?

My goal is to make KFC the most loved and trusted brand in a relevant, easy, and distinctive way. It is also to continue to keep our teams and customers safe. It is our number one priority and will continue to be.

Do you have a guiding principle?

Yes, I aim to lead with smart, heart and courage – and to be authentic in everything I do. I value integrity, honesty and fairness, and these are pretty core to how I endeavour to be my best self.

How do you make agency relationships work?

The foundation of any relationship should be based on trust and transparency. When you have that, great things can be achieved together. We have been fortunate in our agency partners because there is a true sense of collaboration and an allyship in the ways we all come together. I think that this stems from the fact that our agencies have a real passion for the KFC brand and are always committed to helping us take it to new heights.

What have you learned from a specific failure?

First, that it is OK to fail. Everything happens for a reason, including your failures. When I was young, I dreamed of being a prima ballerina but had an incident where I broke my leg, which essentially ended that aspiration. After a lot of perseverance, I was able to craft out a new passion for myself, and build a new dream. And here I am today.

Who inspires you professionally?

I’m surrounded by wonderful people who are passionate and who strive to be the best. They continue to inspire me every day.

How has Covid-19 changed your business?

Like most brands, Covid-19 was a moment for us to pause and reflect. We’ve always focused on prioritising safety – both for our people and for our food – but the pandemic really reminded us just how precious our people are and of the fact that they come first. This has also amplified our drive to continue to build and maintain not only the trust our employees have in us but, importantly, our customers as well.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment?

I don’t think our core challenge has changed much, which is to establish and maintain an authentic relationship of trust between our brand and the people who love our fried chicken. Marketing during a time of Covid-19 and meeting our consumers in the new normal has made things interesting, of course, but the challenge will always be the same.

What is the next big trend in marketing?

Marketing off-premise channels and access everywhere and every way has been accelerated by Covid-19. This is why having a data-driven mindset is extremely important to empower brands to be at the forefront of consumer consideration and understand what role brands play in meeting consumer needs.

What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year?

Not to give too much away, but we have a slightly different ‘vibe’ about us these days. We’re looking forward to showing you what more we have in the works.

Agency reference

Fadi Maktabi, managing director, Hearts & Science

We have worked with Ozge for three years and counting. She has been the driving force behind pushing for greater business transformation and commerce enablement for the KFC brand across MENA. In 2019 we worked closely to make sure that the brand’s e-commerce ambitions were met by upgrading the tech infrastructure, data collection and customer journey for an optimal desktop, mobile and app world.

We are very proud of where the brand and business are today, as the level of partnership is unparalleled. We work very closely on metrics that matter for the business to drive more transactions and sales and build brand. I am proud that through the years we have been able to move KFC to become a leading data-driven brand.

Ozge is curious, creative, dedicated, empathetic and, above all else, operates with a true partnership mentality. Now, we are continuing the journey we started in 2017 together in generating more sales overnight and a stronger brand over time.

Rapid fire

What are you working on?
We are currently working on our 2021 big bets and strategy.

Who are you following?
Yuval Noah Harari.

What are you craving?
Our original recipe chicken, what else?

What are you playing?

What are you listening to?
Michael Kiwanuka and Kovacs.

What are you reading?
The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur.

What are you watching?
The Queen’s Gambit.

What did you learn over lockdown?
Be thankful and feel blessed with whatever you have.