Business Life

Adults behave strangely indeed. It is enough to just add meaning to whatever you do. #makehappybehappy

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I read the “Little Prince” again. Adults behave strangely indeed. However, you don’t need fairy tales to be happy (*)



murat ulker

Since 2014, we have been celebrating the “Make Happy, Be Happy” day every year, on the third Thursday of November, which crowns the basic mission that guides us throughout the year at Yıldız Holding. Our mission derives from my beloved father’s saying, “We believe that every child, no matter where they live, has the right to have a beautiful childhood.’ In the early days when we took steps towards globalization by realizing pladis, Godiva, and Demet operations, I summed up my father’s words from my point of view, “We do not only produce biscuits and chocolate; with every bite, we promise happiness to the world.” For some time, these two expressions have been used to describe our core mission. Later, I came to realize that Yildiz Holding, in the four corners of the world, Turkey, Middle East, North Africa, Turkic Republics, the Americas, Japan, UK, Continental Europe, Africa, China, Russia, South East Asia, with more than 4 billion consumers for us and more than 65thousand employees of various religions, languages, races are all concerned providing products/services to create “benefit” every day. And while doing this, they are making examples of spearheading social affairs in many parts of the world, helping social assistance projects, and participating in competitions,. They are committed to their work. This is what is called “Beneficial Work” (righteous deeds) – we do the work that produces benefits and works that benefit people. That’s how my thoughts turned into a slogan and it has made everything meaningful. There is a quote by Victor Hugo, “No force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come”. Exactly, the #makehappybehappy time has arrived, and this motto leads all of us in our work. Looking back, Ulker began its journey as a family business. We have always continued on our way by absorbing our family values (customs) into our corporate values. We have combined all of our companies and brands with this essence of a family business.

In the last six years, #makehappybehappy has turned into a voluntary movement in all of our management units and companies; Throughout the year, our employees strive to make our consumers happy while fulfilling their duties with new products and innovations, while observing the reputation of our iconic brands, and on the other hand, almost compete with each other to generate social benefits in their environment, especially when it comes to children. The Sabri Ulker Foundation has reached just over 7 million students, parents, and tutors with the Balanced Nutrition Education Project in Turkey; the children’s books published have been a remedy for 700thousand families during Covid-19. I feel that our core mission, which we summarize as #makehappybehappy, and which is a guide for all of us at the moment, includes a good understanding and is a philosophy that is a remedy for people whose search for meaning which has accelerated during the crisis we are currently living. Most of the happiness studies to date say that. For example, helping others instead of spending money on oneself has been proven to make people happier. The action that makes people happiest is to help others, in other words, our human nature (1).

Looking back, Ulker began its journey as a family business. No matter how we have large we have grown and become global, we have never given up on our family values. Being a family business for us means:

• honesty;

• dignity;

• setting goals and working towards them;

• leaving a good legacy to the future;

• producing benefit through righteous deeds;

• In short, #makehappybehappy !

These spiritual values are the most precious legacy of Sabri Bey. If we were able to build a successful global Yıldız Holding today, it is because we guided our customs and still protect them in our institutions.

The interesting thing is that although the companies that makeup pladis are established in different geographies, different times, and cultures, they grow and develop with the same company values, similar to Ulker. This means that such values are universal in families. While bringing together Ulker, Godiva Chocolatier, United Biscuits, Jacobs, Carrs, Crawfords, BN, Verkade, and DeMet’s Candy Company under the same roof, pladis creates a story that includes 350 years of history. In all this history, we bring together values. In other words, when we acquired these companies, we inherited not only material values but also moral ones. When we look at the stories of all these companies, I see that the founders, just like my father and uncle, have created and developed their companies and brands in great struggles.

As Yildiz Holding, we are a global company that includes pladis and Godiva as a result of 75 years of experience, why?

1- We are agile, flexible, and entrepreneurial.

2- We operate in an area where a consumer group of 4 billion population lives.

3- We are consumer-oriented.

4- We have innovative products and services that make a difference.

5- Our G0AL 21 target (G: G.O.Y.A., 0: zero defect, A: alignment, L: Leader in the field).

6- Our way of life, #makehappybehappy, by adding our hearts to our work.

There is a quote attributed to Mark Twain: One of the two most important days of your life is the day you were born and the other is the day you learn why. Most of us spend our days in such a search. Sometimes people are disappointed that they cannot find what they are looking for. However, by being aware of our main purpose in business life, let’s make our work meaningful and make #makehappybehappy be our focus. (2)

There should be no significant difference between a company’s mission and the company’s reason for existence. In our opinion, the happiness of everything that is created alive and non-living is important. Why worry about nature while making our customers happy? Our world is so generous and so fertile to us! Why should we consume our source of life? Sustainability means respecting and protecting people and the environment while doing your job.

One’s Happiness Depends on Making Others Happy” published in Vefa magazine by Prof. Mim Kemal Oke. He states that the source of our foundation culture was the philosophy of “making someone else happy”(3). In that article I quote: “…while presenting products/services, I remembered once more how deeply encompassing our corporation mission is, summarized as ‘Make Happy, Be Happy’ and how it gives such great inner peace to work with a philosophy which serves the solidarity cycle to contribute to the ‘good handover’ of the world. If you want, you can find a supportive and directing source of guidance from the civilization we all came from.”

So if I may repeat, a summary, fairytales are not required to be happy, it is enough to just add meaning to whatever you do.

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(*)Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de. The Little Prince.

(1)  Lowenstein, K., Nine Ways To Feel More Joy, inside: Time The Science of Happiness, 2019 p. 18-21.

(2)  Coleman J., A purpose is not found, it is built, inside: HBR, 2018, Purpose, Meaning, Passion, Optimist, p.31-37.

(3)  Oke M. K. (2020), One’s Happiness Depends on Making Others Happy (Reportage Bayram Yalcın), Vefa Yaz 2020, p.14-15.