Marketing Manager, Brand & Purpose
KFC South Africa
Andra Nel is the Marketing Manager: Brand and Purpose for KFC South Africa, a role she assumed in August 2022, prior to being the Brand Purpose and Reputation Manager with a focus on KFC’s CSI initiatives, including ‘Add Hope’, the largest private sector feeding scheme for children in South Africa, funded by KFC and its customers. Prior to KFC, Nel worked as a Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager at Lions Cricket Board. She is an accomplished brand communications professional, passionate about unlocking that magical space where people and brands come together to create purposeful and memorable experiences.
CMO COUNCIL: What is your personal leadership strategy in actioning cause-related and transformative programs within your sphere of influence?
NEL: I believe that the biggest responsibility anyone who heads up programs like these has, is to ensure lasting impact. This means that these programs need to be set up in a manner that will ensure they far outlive our team’s time. To this end, ensuring sustainability of the impact that is created is at the core of how I approach these programs. Sustainability of impact can only be ensured when you have collective ownership from all stakeholders, where everyone feels like it is their own and are together aiming for maximum impact, reach. It is important to have a sense of belief in the why. When you have sustainability at the core of what you do, there is no place for complacency, you must continuously challenge the status quo, but also foster deep partnerships and a sense of collaboration. Putting heart at the centre of what we do allows us to keep our eye on the goal and ensures that we have a team of people that are truly passionate and committed to make a difference.
CMO COUNCIL: What are the priority areas of focus to address urgent societal needs in South Africa?
NEL: South Africa can sometimes seem like a country with a million problems, and this can feel overwhelming. For me, the challenges facing our youth are where our focus should be directed and we need to find ways to keep our youth hopeful, inspired and motivated. While immediate solves can be implemented through skills building and unlocking opportunities through job creation, we know that this will only treat the symptom of the current generation of work-entry aged youth. More needs to be done to feed kids’ potential throughout their childhood years so that when they enter the workforce, they have the best possible chance of reaching their potential and success. At the heart of it, I believe that hunger is a gate keeper to breaking the multi-generational cycle of poverty that is the reality for so many of our youth. We simply cannot accept a reality where children cannot meet developmental milestones, concentrate in class or even make friends because they do not have the access to adequate nutrition. We have a collective responsibility to unlock food security for the future of our country.
CMO COUNCIL: Highlight the benefits of delivering on an ethical brand promise or claim; ensuring corporate behavior and brand authenticity is true, trusted, and transparent.
NEL: Consumers are increasingly looking to corporate organizations to drive meaningful societal change and in time, this will become part of the license to trade. Long gone are the days where consumers would simply believe what you stand for, simply because you said it. Personally, I love that brands are being kept accountable for walking the walk and not just talking the talk. This means that you cannot simply jump onto the latest trend. Brands now need to build a track record of supporting, advocating and acting for each and every cause, promise or claim. When you are able to illustrate true action, a sense of acceptance and delivery on your corporate responsibility, not only do you build trust and increase retention from your workforce, but you are also able to foster a sense of belonging, belief and in some instances even a movement for greater social change in the workplace. On an external level, consumers will be quick to call brands out when what you say and then do, do not align. However, when brands are able to show that they are intent on doing things the right way, sharing their journey towards their ambitions and illustrate meaningful impact, the return is increased brand trust, brand reputation and brand love.
CMO COUNCIL: Please share how the KFC Add Hope campaign has impacted SA and how CSI is integrated into the organization.
NEL: As the largest private sector feeding scheme in the country, Add Hope is a true example of the ‘ubuntu’ spirit (Translation from Zulu: “I am because you are” or “humanity towards others”) that remains at the heart of this country. It is proof that seemingly insurmountable challenges can be overcome when we all do our part, and that collective effort really is how we can make a difference for those that need it most. I am in awe of how our customers keep on increasing the ‘hope’ we add every year. I am inspired that KFC, as an organization, and our in-restaurant teams have kept on driving change for the past 14 years and that the over 130 non-profit organizations continue to do the hard work at the coal face every day. This is the change I believe our country needs and why there is still so much hope. Add Hope is at the heart of what we do as an organization and something we remain committed to, regardless of other business challenges that we face. It is engrained into every interaction with our customers, something we measure, monitor and track on a daily basis and remains one of the greatest reasons most of our teams love to work for our organisation. Our dedicated Purpose team that manages this program is a true testament to the commitment that KFC has to this.
CMO COUNCIL: Kindly share any additional updated information on KFC Add Hope you want to highlight.
NEL: While hunger is a seemingly an insurmountable challenge, small change continues to make big change. Literally. The collective impact that Add Hope has achieve continues to leave me in awe! Not only do we now reach over 1,200 feeding centres across all 9 provinces in South Africa, but the beneficiary network has now grown to include over 130 non-profit organizations. Together, we have served over 250 million meals since 2009 and have a bold ambition to serve 500 million meals by 2025. This is something we can only do if we do this together.
*Add Hope is a KFC South Africa initiative, whereby customers choose to “Add Hope” to their fast food orders, donating a small, set amount of change towards the program which funds feeding schemes for children who live in poverty.