Predictions 2023: The year ahead for purpose-driven marketing – by Pizza Hut’s Beverley D’Cruz

Marketing 3.0 is purpose-driven, writes Pizza Hut’s Beverley D’ Cruz

By Beverley D’ Cruz, chief brand officer, Pizza Hut META

In a world where consumers are overwhelmed with choices and decisions, value for money is no longer the only driver for making a purchase. More and more consumers today are looking to align their values and interests with the brands they buy. These brand values are what we call a brand’s purpose. A brand’s purpose sets it apart and makes it unique. As we enter a new era of marketing, it is going to be increasingly important as marketers to dig deeper and find the ‘why’ behind our brands. Why does your brand exist, and what value does it add to a consumer’s life? At best, marketing today is functional where we talk about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, but we rarely dig deeper to unlock the ‘why’. Purpose-driven marketing is going to be the future and brands and marketers are going to have to dig deep. While being interesting and entertaining might be enough to capture audiences, it may not be enough to keep them. 

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So what is purpose-driven marketing, I hear you ask? Very simply put: a brand purpose is the reason your brand exists beyond making money. I describe it as marketing 3.0, just like internet 3.0. Marketing 1.0 was product-driven, focusing on the benefits of the product. Marketing 2.0 was customer-driven, harnessing the power of data to focus on consumers. Marketing 3.0 is purpose-driven. Marketing today is no longer a one-way conversation where you tell consumers all the reasons why they should buy your brand. To be competitive, companies must connect with their consumers’ values in a meaningful way.

So, how do you go about finding your brand’s purpose? The easy response is your brand exists to make money for the company and its shareholders. It keeps the lights on and it pays the bills. However, making money is not the definition of your brand’s purpose. To define your brand purpose you need to find the emotional connection your brand has with your audience – it solves an existing need and it makes their lives better or easier.

Let me walk you through our own journey at Pizza Hut. As a pizza brand, we bring joy to consumers’ lives and we make their lives easier and more enjoyable. We are the solution for a busy mother who does not have time to cook, we are the glue that brings a group of friends together and makes their evening epic. Pizza democratises the eating experience – when you get around a pizza, by the very nature of it being circular you are all equal. Pizza is meant to be eaten with your fingers and with no pretence. Consider how you are making your consumers’ lives different, and when you find that, you find your brand’s purpose. Pizza Hut’s brand purpose is ‘an equal slice for everyone’. We believe that everyone deserves an equal slice of life. We have used this brand purpose to launch a programme called LeadHership, and through our pilot program, we give 200 women an opportunity at an equal slice of life. The LeadHership programme is in its pilot stage in South Africa where we have partnered with YES (Youth Employment Services) to help women coming out of school develop life skills that make them more employable and that give them a better chance to succeed in the professional world. The response of employees who work with us and at our stores has been incredible. Coming to work has taken on a new meaning and it comes with a sense of pride.

If I look around at other brands in our region that are doing this well, I am inspired by Dubai Holdings. Its strategy is aimed at creating an innovation-driven, knowledge-based economy. This is in line with Dubai’s long-term ambition to transform into the smartest and most productive city in the world. You cannot create a thriving economy without keeping the health and wellness of your citizens front and centre. An example of purpose-driven work is the Dubai Fitness Challenge. In its sixth year of existence, it is an annual celebration of health and wellness. The event does a really good job of combining the brand’s interests with consumers’ interest, and creating a meaningful experience for the city and its people.

There are countless studies that show the link between purpose-driven brands and business performance. Recently I attended a session conducted by Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, and this statement stuck with
me: “Brands with purpose grow, companies with purpose matter and people with
purpose thrive.”

Social impact initiatives are not just good for the world but are good for business too. Consumers today are being driven by social conscience and want to buy from brands in whose values they see themselves reflected. People are driven by purpose not only as consumers but also as employees. A motivated team who feel invested in their employer’s values are more likely to perform. Studies have also shown they are more likely to stay with the organisation longer as well. However, the only way purpose-driven marketing can be impactful is if it is authentic and action-driven. Consumers want to see a benefit to them or want to contribute to making the world a better place. As we look at 2023 and beyond, purpose is going to be right up there with digital, technology and the metaverse as areas to focus on in order to win in a competitive marketplace.