“A brand is no longer what the brand says, it’s what consumers tell each other what it is.”

By Delani Philips

When Linda Hassan started working for Burger King many years ago, she didn’t have a career in marketing in mind.

“I studied food science at the University of Nottingham because I had always wanted to be in the food industry. So when I joined Burger King, I was doing things like quality assurance, procurement, product development, as well as Marketing.”

“I once had to fly to Argentina to source for beef. Then there was the process of halal certification and so on. You begin to understand the importance and value of the product when you market it, and your marketing has to have depth. I began to relate what I had learned to the way I do marketing.”

Her experience at Burger King was a turning point for Linda.

“As a food scientist doing quality assurance, I visited a lot of plants and factories so I began to understand the whole supply process, how costs are managed and so on.”

When the company was looking for someone to take over procurement, Linda volunteered herself because, “Having been a food scientist, learning how to run a food warehouse, organising supply and logistics, I realised that I could do anything!”

Realising that figures and data play a big role in successful marketing, Linda took a course in finance to bolster her knowledge.

“I love numbers, I loved math when I was in school. For me, as a marketer, I think it’s very important to back up ideas with figures and not just be concerned with making things look pretty. When I present something to the CEOs, I need to show solid data, costing, and how potentially profitable it is.”

Delivering the brand promise

After Linda joined Domino’s, she set about bringing the business into the digital age.

“I was moving into something new but I wasn’t afraid to adapt and evolve. It wasn’t so much about individual marketing campaigns as it was about transforming the whole customer experience.

In 2016 we started research into rebranding and after a year, we came up with ‘It’s All About You’.

Instead of launching that proposition straight away, we worked internally for a year to ensure that every part of our organisation was getting involved with our brand promise. When we did launch it, our customers already had the experience that we delivered on that promise.”

Linda’s vision when she came into Domino’s was to shift the ordering online.

“The first thing I did was to create a GPS tracker so our customers could track their pizza. We’re basically a food delivery company and that aspect grew a lot during the pandemic, so we worked with third party services like Grab and Foodpanda. That was the beginning of the transformation of the customer experience from thought to bite.”

“My way of marketing isn’t just doing the creative part, because that’s just the end point. My role is from the beginning, creating a solution whether it’s a product, service or a technological solution. It’s about developing the business while serving the consumer.”

She also pioneered “Pandu Ambil” or curb-side delivery, a tech-driven solution reducing contact during the COVID-19 era that cemented the brand’s lead in the delivery business.

Linda is featured in Campaign’s Power List 2023 as Asia’s 50 Most Influential Marketers.

Future Forward

After more than two decades in the industry, Linda is helping to prepare the next generation of marketers.

She is an official IT industry advisor to Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, UKM and Inti International University.

When asked about her vision for the future, Linda replied, “With the skills and knowledge I have, I could be a CEO, whether in Domino’s or somewhere else, it doesn’t matter. As long as I remain inquisitive enough to look for what’s wrong, ask the right questions and come up with solutions.”

Linda’s passion for radical innovation and creative digital transformation has been key to her strategic leadership at Domino’s. Her vision continues to strengthen Domino’s brand presence in Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia.

“I’m a risk taker, but I only take calculated risks.”

Linda Hassan is a winner of the Malaysian CMO of the Year Award 2023 (Best of the Best).

This article is excerpted from the coffee table book Who’s Who In The Malaysian Marketing Landscape – a ready reference to the leaders who are making a transformative difference in the industry. Available at https://marketingmagazine.com.my/shop/books/cmo-coffee-table-book/

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