Profile: Hell Pizza

Could you describe your company and its business profile?
Hell Pizza is a franchisee group of 70 outlets across New Zealand that sells quality gourmet pizzas. The Hell brand is considered irreverent and edgy, although has evolved since it was founded in 1996 to become more associated with youth and community projects.

What are the core values of your company?
There are really two parts to our values.

Above the line, we value humour – we like to have fun and we’re not afraid to say things that others won’t or can’t say.
Below the line we are guided by strong business principles. We like to be swift and nimble so we can make the most of opportunities that come our way.

We also value community and localism. We are really a collection of 70 small businesses each of which is involved in supporting schools, clubs and local organisations.

How would you describe the profile(s) of your (prospective) customers?
Our customers vary quite a lot, but many have grown up with the brand.

When we launched 21 years ago they were students or millennials, so these days they are professionals with families who are engaged with their local community. You could say our values have evolved with them.

One thing all of our customers have in common is that they all value good honest food, and they want to have fun.

How do you engage your (prospective) customers?
Social media is massive for us in terms of reaching customers. We have really high engagement on Facebook, so that is a major channel for us. We have also migrated a lot of our advertising online, as two-thirds of our business comprises online orders. Good old-fashioned hard work from our franchisees that get out and meet people and get involved in their community also counts for a lot.

In terms of partners or projects that we sponsor, they are most often opportunities where we see that our involvement will really make a difference.

We could just write a cheque for a large mainstream charity, but we like to be leading the charge making our efforts, and money worthwhile in terms of results.

Our major focus is on trying to help youth, and people who help youth, especially in their local community.

One recent project we were associated with was supporting the Tourette’s Association New Zealand at Camp Twitch 2016. The 12 month sponsorship deal helped ensure the charity can continue to provide the vital service it offers to Tourette’s sufferers and their families across the country.

In addition, we donated $1 to TANZ for every double pizza sold over the week following the screening of a TVNZ documentary about Tourette’s in June, which raised $48,000.

Another long-standing partnership is our sponsorship of the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young adults. This caused a bit of a stir when it was first announced four years ago as some people questioned whether our ‘boundary-pushing’ brand was the right fit. It was a bit different for us when it was presented, but we have been doing it for four years now and have become well-known for the Hell Kids Reading Challenge.

What were your challenges in finding sponsorship partners and how did you select them?
As headline sponsors of high-profile and national campaigns and events, like Camp Twitch or the Reading Challenge, we are regularly approached with opportunities so don’t have any major challenge in finding partners.

The challenge comes around selecting the ones that line up with our values and tick the boxes in terms of being involved with youth, for example, and where we can really make a positive contribution.

We don’t like saying no, but we want to find organisations with relevance that stand for what we stand for.

Could you describe the value shared and received beyond the dollars?
There is a huge amount of satisfaction seeing the difference we can make to people’s lives. For example, our sponsorship of Camp Twitch helped families attend who otherwise could not afford to go. Hearing stories like that, where you really make a meaningful difference to people’s lives, are great. They prove there is more to life than just making a profit.

Disclosure: Brian is a board member of the NZ Book Council that has been involved in administering the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. He is meanwhile not adverse to a gourmet slice of Wrath.

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BrandsNick Phillips