April 2009: The management of Domino's discovered to their amazement that there was a video on YouTube made by two employees of one of its stores, where you see them boasting about doing nothing or "enhancing" a pizza to be delivered with pieces of cheese previously stuck into their noses (among other amusements...). The video was viewed by more than one million Internet users.
The Chairman of Domino's Pizza immediately reacted and posted a video himself – apologizing to clients and reiterating that, "There is nothing more sacred to us than our customer's trust ... We work to regain your trust".
The brand could have stopped there and tell itself that it had overcome a crisis. But a public commitment had been made: to regain the confidence of its consumers. It therefore started an effort that goes well beyond hiring procedures, cleanliness of the premises or crisis communication. It thus brought together "focus groups" to understand whether the relationship of trust still existed. Disaster: the consumers surveyed questioned the products, their quality, their taste. The real breach of trust was elsewhere - especially when, in the video in question, the Chairman of Domino's Pizza said: "We take tremendous pride in crafting delicious food".
The brand has decided to rethink its products completely: its ingredients, its formulas, its processes ... and make it known. This has led it to two fundamental ruptures:
- A rupture with regard to communication: it depicts the negative reactions of its consumers and the actions taken to remedy the situation. It therefore shows transparency - one of the core values of the new "Age of Responsibility" in which we have just entered.
- A rupture with the codes of the profession: the brand (exactly as Dove has been doing in its "Campaign for Real Beauty" through the film "Evolution") shows the reverse side of wonderful advertisements for pizza. Mannequin's hands, pizzas screwed on to make the portion shown stand out better, preheating to melt the cheese perfectly, spotlights and lights, 120 people mobilized ... all this to, in the end, say nothing about the taste of the product.
- A real crowdsourcing operation – in order to place consumers at the heart of the brand: "We use YOUR pizza pictures in our advertising...."
- The creation of mini-sites, to accompany all these initiatives: www.pizzaturnaround.com to illustrate the repositioning of the brand / www.pizzaholdouts.com to help develop their taste / www.showusyourpizza.com to persuade clients to participate in brand communication.
The results are out: Domino's Pizza saw its sales and margins increase. Unlike some sceptical analyses (see brandchannel.com "Is The Domino's Rebrand Too Honest?"), I see in this example a superb example of strategic success: the brand adopted two core values of the Age of Responsibility - Commitment and Transparency (Note: contact me if you want more information). It has truly reinvented itself and its consumers are really thankful.