guts logo | Brand Strategy Agency
7th November 2023
Marketers Changing the World: OzHarvest
Kara Sullivan
Written by:
Kara Sullivan

We caught up with Hannie Olsen, Marketing and Brand Manager at OzHarvest to talk her biggest challenge in her role, strategic direction and insights into best practices.

OzHarvest is a company with a powerful purpose that clearly knows the value of brand. Take a peek under the yellow and black hood of Australia’s most recognisable food rescue organisation with a big mission!

Hannie Olsen, hard at work in the kitchen

1. What’s your biggest challenge in managing the OzHarvest brand, what keeps you up at night?
Knowing that there are still people out there who don’t know that we exist! My mission is to ensure that everyone in Australia knows what we do and gets behind our cause. Whether that be helping us rescue food from landfill and deliver it to charities who support people in need, fighting food waste in their own homes, or engaging in one of our corporate or education programs. There are so many ways to support people in need through what we do, and everyone has something to give.

2. OzHarvest appears to have grown its brand awareness significantly in a short period of time, what’s been the secret to success? And do you measure your brand awareness?
Measuring brand awareness is tricky, but we are lucky to have supporters, House of Brand and Dynata, who help us stay on top of this crucial measurement. We have seen an increase recently which has been incredible – and helps with my sleep! This is thanks to our incredible partners who support us and share our message with their audiences. Media partnerships have helped to amplify what we do, outdoor advertising thanks to the generosity of our partner JCDecaux is currently helping to spread our Use It Up messaging across major cities as well as focusing our efforts on growing our social media channels which is crucial to reach more people.

3. What’s a brand you most admire and why?
There are so many, it’s hard to name one! ‘Who Gives A Crap’ comes to mind first. They have taken an everyday product that we all need and given it purpose. It makes sense that something people buy frequently helps makes a difference to people in need. They also have an incredibly fun brand and tone of voice – I think they’ve nailed it.

Ronnie Khan at OzHarvest market in Waterloo
Founder Ronni Khan AO at the OzHarvest Market in Waterloo

4. What is OzHarvests’ strategy when it comes to driving action (eg. donations, corporate partnerships etc)? What strategy has worked most effectively?
We’re a heart-led organisation, so people are always at the forefront of what we do, and that is echoed heavily in our strategy. Whenever we are driving donations, engaging with our partners, or encouraging people to join our programs we put people first. And it works for obvious reasons! People connect with people. Even when you look at our fierce leader, Ronni Kahn AO. One speech from her, and people get behind our mission one thousand percent. Her passion and connection with our cause, what we do and people is incredible, and this ripples down throughout all areas of OzHarvest and our marketing strategy.

5. For business leaders who are sceptical of the value of purpose in 2023, what’s your advice on the role of purpose and how to leverage it to drive results for an organisation?
Purpose has never been more important. It’s no longer a second thought but is becoming crucial if businesses want to continue to grow and connect with their customers – and their team members. People want to know what businesses are doing to give back, and how they are contributing to society, instead of solely making a profit. I think the best way for leaders to leverage this is to find a cause that is authentic to them, their mission and is something that their staff and customers will resonate with. After that results will come!

6. Describe the vibe of the OzHarvest Christmas party in three words.
Wild dress ups!

Several people preparing food and smiling, wearing Oz Harvest yellow aprons.
“We’re a heart-led organisation, so people are always at the forefront of what we do,” says Hannie.

7. What’s the wackiest idea you’ve ever been pitched or pitched yourself?
I can’t give it away just yet as it was pitched recently and may crazily come to life next year! So, watch this space…

8. What’s the most surprising thing about OzHarvest people may not know?
We are a much smaller team than people probably realise! We see this as a strength as it enables us to move quickly, be nimble and prioritise what’s important and will actually make a difference.

9. Think back to being junior marketer, tell us about the best advice you received.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: ‘Sometimes good is good enough!’
When you’re starting out in your career, and you’re passionate about what you do, you want everything to be perfect (well I did anyway!). Sometimes, instead of trying to make everything amazing, making sure it’s ‘good enough’ is sometimes the best approach. I still have to work on this every day!

10. What’s the next world changing move for OzHarvest? And is there a big ambitious someday goal that you and the team have in your sights?
We genuinely do want to change the world, especially when it comes to tackling food waste and food insecurity. The nation’s goal to halve food waste by 2030 is also fast approaching. It’s a target we have in sight every day, and we are always thinking about ways we can achieve it. We’re constantly looking for new ideas to create social impact and help solve these national and global issues.

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