One of the biggest changes in western society in recent years has been a move away from unhealthy food to nutritious, locally produced food. And with McDonald’s on the brink of closing hundreds of restaurants across the globe, where does that leave other well-known fast food brands?
Well, in the case of Domino’s, not very effected. Business is booming and social media is aflutter – egged on by the company’s clever branding and marketing strategies, along with its successful and innovative adaptability to modern technology. The fast food industry in 2016 is heavily reliant on mobile technology, and Domino’s is very much at the forefront of that.
The branding and marketing experts at 2020 Brand + Marketing Visionaries unearth how a brave online marketing campaign and innovative technological advances within the company have led to an increase in sales, with 75 per cent of all orders being placed online, and 50 per cent of all orders coming through its mobile app…
The Beginning of Domino’s Brand
As with so many corporations and fast food giants, Domino’s Pizza’s story begins with a US$500 down payment in a small American city when brothers Tom and James Monaghan purchased a small pizza store called DomiNick’s, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1960. Less than a year later, James swapped his half of the business with Tom for a VW Beetle that had been used for pizza deliveries. Within the next five years, Tom purchased two more pizzerias in the state and changed their names to Domino’s Pizza – the household name we know today – so that they could all have the same branding. (The original owner prohibited him from using the name DomiNick’s).
By the end of the 1960s, Domino’s opened its first franchise, and by the late 1970s, there were a total of 200 stores across the United States. In 1983, the first international Domino’s restaurant was opened in Canada, and that same year, it opened its 1,000th store. From there, the company expanded into more than 70 countries, with over 6,000 international restaurants by 2014. The company was sold to global alternative investment firm, Bain Capital, in 1998 and went public in 2004.
Branding Innovation from Domino’s
It’s always interesting to dissect the branding success of a company like Domino’s. After all, it’s just a pizza business, and, by its own admission in recent times, the food was considered by many to be quite plain. So, why did it become such a global success? The answer here is image, service, marketing and clever campaigns, all under the umbrella of stellar branding. The image the brand has created for itself is innovative and brave – both with its food production and with technology.
Perhaps the most interesting marketing campaign Domino’s ran was its ‘Oh Yes We Did’ campaign, where employees quoted their critics on a marketing video, saying their pizza crusts tasted like cardboard and their sauce tasted like ketchup. Domino’s had always won points for quality service and customer loyalty, but taste had become its downfall. So, the company made a decision to mend its ways and totally revamp its recipes in a very public rebranding initiative, which resulted in a 14 per cent growth in sales in just one quarter.
Lesson: Don’t hide behind emails, websites and advertising campaigns that talk about how great your product is if the feedback you are getting tells a different story. Social media has given customers and critics a powerful public voice that they didn’t have before, and Domino’s embraced that in a positive way during its ‘Oh Yes We Did’ campaign, which was launched in the early days of social media. And once you decide to hear your customers, it’s important to respond to them, and this brand did that successfully, completely changing its recipes to reflect the feedback.
Technological Innovation from Domino’s Brand
This is where Domino’s has really been able to jump ahead in its field. The brand’s ability to adapt to rapid changes in consumerism and technology over time has really paid off. About 75 per cent of all orders from customers are now being placed online, and 50 per cent of all orders coming through their mobile app, which has been downloaded a whopping 10 million times. And, thanks to the introduction of its extremely well-designed app, sales were up by 19 per cent in September last year compared to the period time in 2014.
The digital age created a world in which Domino’s could either flop or flourish, and thanks to its social media engagement, online rebranding strategies and ‘Oh Yes We Did’ campaign, it achieved the latter. And the smartest thing the company did was focus on moving to mobile, making the simple process of ordering takeaway food, instead of having to cook, even simpler.
The Domino’s app was born out of its rebranding campaign, which allowed the company to provide an unbeatable ordering and delivery service. Its features are ground breaking, with a pizza slot machine that allows customers who can’t decide what to order to shake their phone for the app to decide for them, and a pizza tracking feature so customers know exactly how far from their door their deliver is. The app has an extremely easy ordering system, along with games and a GPS system to find the closest store to the user’s location.
One of its latest additions in this ongoing rebranding campaign is a physical ‘push for pizza’ button, which the company began releasing to a number of social media competition winners in the UK from last December. The physical button, which sits inside what looks like a miniature pizza box, is paired with the Domino’s app via Bluetooth, powered by technology company FLIC. Customers register their details, including their name, address and favourite pizza, and voila! Press the button and the pizza is on its way.
Lesson: Aspiration, risk, confidence and adaptability are the key lessons to be learnt from Domino’s, a brand that has truly earned its, “Greatness from Dominos”, slogan. As the company moves to a purely digital ordering environment, following a total revamp of its recipes and flavours, there is no sign of the brand dwindling away like some other fast food names. By building unbeatable apps, innovative features, games and giveaways, and offering customer rewards and prizes, Domino’s is dominating the field of new technology in the food sector worldwide.
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