“Dom, I’d like to order a rebranding, completely rebuilt products and, while you’re at it, over 1,900% growth within 6 years.”
Wanting to be more than just pizza, in early 2009, Domino’s embarked on an ambitious journey to break-free of its traditional cardboard flavoring and leave behind a brand that was boxed in by mediocrity. While there have been many ingredients to Domino’s recent success, three of the core pillars built in succession were: a laser-focus on the products, the encompassing brand, and the mobile customer experience.
Admitting to the Problem
About six years ago, Domino’s pizza was ranked last among its rival pizza chains and in dire straits. The pizza was one step above its microwaved counterparts, and if drastic changes weren’t made, the entire company would have been in serious trouble.
Recognizing the need for a brand overhaul, in the now famous Crispin Porter & Bogusky “Pizza Turnaround” campaign, CEO Patrick Doyle fell on the sword, essentially admitting that Domino’s had failed. What happened afterwards, was nothing short of transformational, starting with the video below.
Domino’s 2009 Pizza Turnaround Campaign
Capitalizing on the momentum of such an honest and unparalleled corporate “mea culpa,” Domino’s knew the time was right to reinvent not just the products, but the brand itself.
A Brand Overhaul
In 2012, Domino’s Pizza then CMO Russell Weiner, saw it was time to expand beyond the comfort zone of pies and align the brand with the wider menu opportunities. Seeking the benefits of diversification, he dropped the traditional box-shaped logo and pizza from the brand suffix, going in lean as just Domino’s.
That year, Weiner was quoted in Ad Age saying, “So much of our menu is beyond pizza right now that we feel like we’re more than just a pizza place,” and the new logo was meant to convey just that.
Domino’s 2012 Logo Change
It was a bold move for the company that just redesigned their pizza, but it seems to have paid off. As of March this year, Domino’s stock was up a remarkable 1,980% since early 2009, compared to a respective 560% and 155% for Papa John’s and Yum Brands (owners of Pizza Hut).
Domino’s (DPZ- Blue), Papa John’s (PZZA- Red) and Pizza Hut’s (YUM- Green: owners of Pizza Hut) Stock Since January 2009
Image via http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=DPZ
With such monumental success, the logical question arises- could it all happen from just a better pizza and stronger brand? I venture to say no. Like a three-legged stool, the last piece of the puzzle involves a device that’s within three feet of you right now- the smartphone.
A Winning Mobile Customer Experience
Far from having just a mobile site, Domino’s is able to deliver convenience and tap into vast amounts of customer data for optimization through their responsive site, digital app suite and personalized mobile customer experience. .
Observe below how in each independent medium, the experience is customized to the device, connecting the personalized components with the hungry user’s intent of easily ordering food. The application designers clearly took the time to consider screen sizes, customer paths and brand messaging from desktops down to smartwatches- and the results are resonating with consumers, leaving the competition to play catch-up.
Domino’s Fully Responsive Website
Image via Dominos.com
Domino’s Personalized Mobile App
Domino’s Tablet-based Pizza Builder
Smartwatch version of the Domino’s Tracker
Complementing the design work, one of the most important and convenient mobile features is voice ordering on all of their apps, including smart TVs and even smart watches. Yes, you can finally order and track a pizza from your bed with your eyes closed, all without having to make a phone call (“Dom” will take care of it for you). The digital gauntlet has been thrown down.
Proof In Numbers
While their recent success is undeniable, First, let’s look at Domino’s same store sales compared to Pizza Hut, a core competitor. , Domino’s consistently outpaced Pizza Hut in same store sales from 2011 through 2014.
This data suggests that the stock success had more to do with customer satisfaction and spending, instead of industry growth, store location growth and top-down efficiencies and changes.
And though the new pizza recipe and wider brand may have kicked-off that increase in customer satisfaction and spending, there is also a final data series that proves mobile really brought home the bacon. According to Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle, 45% of Domino’s sales are coming through digital channels, which in and of itself is over $850 million dollars and up from 35% percent in 2013. Mobile Commerce Daily even reports that half of the aforementioned sales are directly from smartphones and tablets– a truly revolutionary changes for a pizza company founded nearly 65 years ago.
That degree of market disruption can only come from being an industry leader with good products, a strong brand and an exceptional customer experience, both on and offline.
Boxing It All Together
When a good product meets convenience, you get greatness. With its focus on providing a remarkable customer experience, Domino’s has been extremely successful in soliciting and responding to customer feedback, adapting to change, and anticipating customer needs.
Like Domino’s, for many brands today, the customer needs are digital, and mobile has to be a core element to achieve similar success. It’s up to companies to decide how important the customer experience is to them, and it’s up to agencies and in-house teams to deliver value. The dividends are promising, because when your products, brand, and customer experience align, you might just end up with happy customers and stakeholders, and maybe even 1,980% growth in a six year period.
Full Disclosure: Domino’s had nothing to do with the writing of this article, but I would accept pizza bribes for future articles.