Meet the Member: “In digital there are no boundaries between industries”
April 13, 2023
Paweł Luberadzki is KFC’s Head of Digital and Omnichannel growth we caught up with him to speak about how a fast-food company gets involved in sport and how to balance a bargain bucket and athletic performance.
So Paweł to kick off, take us through your journey in sport?
It’s a never ending journey, that’s for sure. I started super young picking up swimming at competitive level, where I specialised in 800m. On the back of the the 90’s basketball back I switched disciplines to devote myself to basketball completely, which I played until University level. I have to admit that after graduating my sporting career took a bit of downturn, but I picked it up when I turned 30 picking up triathlon as my go to place, where I ticked off my bucket list item completing an Ironman. At the same time my professional life turned towards sports, as I joined Nike in 2012, where I stayed for almost 9 years, helping the brand Make Sports a Daily Habit, through my work in Digital and Innovation Space.
As you said you were at Nike for eight years, what were your biggest learnings from your time there?
It is such a fantastic place to grow, especially with the epic managers and leaders that I had a chance to work with. If I were to pick a few learnings I would name the following: 1. relentless focus on our consumers (aka the athletes). Everything that I did for the brand was to help the athletes become better, whether through products, service and inspiration. 2. Ability to tell stories; that is something that Nike is really great at, taking sporting moment, sporting hero’s (big or small) the heritage and telling stories that inspire 3. The importance of culture of the leadership based on unlocking human potentional. The trainings, practice and feedback that I received, but also ability to learn from my mistakes its what really developed me as a person.
You have been working at KFC Europe now for six months, tell us a bit about the role and what has surprised you the most about working for them?
I joined the KFC team last year to bring in my expertise in unlocking digital and omnichannel growth. It sounds like a sales role, but the truth is, it is more of behaviour changing role. Yes, the end goal is to deliver on our 100% digital strategy, but it’s not necessarily about chasing that next digital sale, but rather focus on building the Digital First mindset that will unlock the endless possibilities of using technology to serve our consumers better and create a competitive advantage.
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What has surprised me the most is how much heritage the brand has and how focused it is on the product. It’s a new industry for me, which is great, as I am learning a completely different approach to running an international business, but fundamentals stay the same. Focus on removing frictions for the consumers, surprise and delight them with both product and the experience and help unlock human potential inside our organization.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face at the moment?
Direct to Consumers digital is a very young notion for the brand that has been opening and operating tens of thousands of restaurants around the world for 70 years. Our strength of a brand depends on franchisee who deliver both food and experience and me and my team exist to make sure that consumers can order and experience their food whenever and wherever they want. The challenge is to align all functions that are part of the organization to unlock the digital potential, and continue to drive incremental growth via digital awareness and acquisition.
KFC being a fast-food chain and sport being what it is, how can those two work together?
KFC, among other things is about indulgence and sharing, both of which are very much aligned to the emotion of sports. Enjoying a sporting moment, whether live or on TV, whilst enjoying our delicious tasting food is a pairing favoured by many fans around the world.
How much work do you put into engaging and understanding Gen Z, it seems to be something you do well?
It is in our local marketing teams is where the magic happens, using our heritage brand and delicious food, but localising the content to fit with the local trends and tone of voice is what help us create the language and attract gen Z consumers. It’s the teams in Madrid, Milan, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam and many other European countries, that bring the creativity and playfulness that is associated with our food in the communication strategy, that is cascaded across different digital channels, whether on TikTok or Twitch, the creative content highlightng our values attracts Gen Z to our restaurants and digital ecosystem alike.
Looking forward then, what have you got planned for KFC in the sports space in the future?
I am here on a learning journey, but I believe in digital there are no boundaries between industries. We are competitors and collaborators at the same time. We compete for the shortening digital attention and digital wallets of our consumers, which are faced with countless possibilities 24/7. The ability to create locally relevant content and collaborate during moments of indulgence is where imho the possibilities are endless. Personally I am here to make sure the digital experiences are distinct and that we can serve our consumers best.