Monday, January 4, 2010

Why Domino's Doesn't Get It

In April of 2009 Domino's was forced to go into it's all-hands-on-deck nightmare scenario after two Domino's employee's posted a video of them tampering with food quality to Youtube. In a 36 hour period the video was seen 760,000 on Youtube alone.

Eventually, their PR team pulled the plug on the video but it undoubtibly left a huge hole in the brand. Then Domino's quickly began picking up the pieces and going on the offensive- firing the offending employees, assuring food safety and releasing a viral video of their own.

Fast forward to December 2009 and the crumbs have settled a bit. Customers have moved on and Domino's took time to evaluate it's strategy.

Better Pizza. Crispier crust. Fresher ingredients. Everything that is wonderful about pizza. They listened to their critics and are fixing what's wrong. How can anyone oppose that. It makes perfect sense and is just good business.

Except, it's not.

A lot of companies make this classic mistake. They market to the physical world and not the mind. They believe that if you can just change the product then customers' perceptions will automatically follow. A major marketing fallacy.

Altering a customer's perceptions is an extremely difficult task because brands occupy spaces in our head...and they rarely move. Domino's has owned the cheap, I'll-only-eat-it-in-an-altered-state-after-midnight-pizza tag for way too long. They can advertise and blind taste test us all day but we still won't believe Domino's tastes as good as the local place on the corner (or wherever).

And this problem didn't start with two idiotic employees taping and tampering. It's years of losing focus on their core product. That product?


Domino's delivers. Thirty minutes or less or your pizza is free. Always. A simple, hard-line brand guarantee. It changed the game and they dominated it. So, of course they changed that. (P.S.: The turnaround video even says Domino's pioneered delivery in the eighties and it's the reason for the explosive growth of the franchise). Straight from their mouth and they still don't get it.

How should they reposition themselves? Focus on what made Domino's great; it's speed and service. It was never it's pizza.
When you just gotta have a cheap pie now; it's gotta be Domino's.

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