The force is strong today
How Domino’s became a brand we root for
Before Domino’s became “a tech company that sells pizza,” it had a piping hot problem to fix: the pizza.
Because while pizza delivery had always been at the heart of the brand, if the crust tasted like cardboard and the sauce tasted like ketchup, it didn’t matter how quickly it came to your door. And although a lot people had nostalgic feelings toward Domino’s, good feeling was no substitute for good food.
They needed to reinvigorate the brand FAST — and make customers believe in them again. So they did something that was both very risky and truly groundbreaking at the time: publicly admitted their pizza was bad and said that they were changing it.
Domino’s showed real customer feedback about the pizza: boring, plain, mass produced, processed, worse than microwave pizza. They didn’t feel the love or the special sauce—and Domino’s took these comments to heart.
Domino’s said it was time to not only make a change, but to get excited about turning these negatives into positives. Then Domino’s took customers on the journey with them. You saw the faces of the Domino’s team members and heard their voices. You went behind the scenes to see how much the people cared and what they were doing to make the pizza great.
And when the right recipe was found, Domino’s exclaimed, “Oh Yes We Did”—because it had been a collective effort that their team and their customers had been a part of.
The campaign was both honest and self deprecating in a way that immediately appealed to people in 2009. And it would still play perfectly to today’s millennial and Gen X audiences, both of whose tolerance for marketing and branding B.S. gets lower with every passing year.
By taking this radical messaging approach, Domino’s was able to accomplish what would make any established brand struggle — it completely changed its brand perception.
Suddenly, Domino’s was the transparent pizza company. A company that had no face before, instantly felt like your friend. They were the underdog with a goal everyone could root for. And everyone loves an underdog. Or an undercrust, in this case.
As of last month, the once struggling brand is #1 in the world based on global retail sales — a result of their investments in digital innovation, ecommerce and social engagement.
But none of this would have been possible without the change in brand perception that kicked it all off.
They started by looking at what mattered most to their customers and focused on it, tackling the first thing first: cooking up good food. Then they perfected and pushed their recipes for making it fast and easy to order.
The more socially connected the world gets, the more important brand perception becomes.
What people say about your brand matters more than what you tell them. And having customers on your side who will feel passionate about your product AND become adovcates for your business is more critical than ever.
Whether you’re improving your product, creating a better customer service experience or trying to get more sustainable with your packaging and ingredients, being honest about (1) where you are now and (2) what your goals for the future are is a VERY good thing.
It humanizes your brand in way that today’s customers can connect with. Because just like your company, your customers are also trying to do better things and be better people.
They’re not perfect yet either—so they can relate to your journey, follow your progress and offer advice. This creates not only a sense of connection but a sort of pride in a brand, as if your company is a candidate they’ve chosen to back.
And when you deliver on your promises🍕, these customers will eat it right up. Then they’ll come back for seconds… and bring all of their friends. That’s how one pizza becomes a party.
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