Dennis Maloney, vice president multimedia marketing at Domino's, told the Association of National Advertisers' social media conference in New York Thursday about how the pizza chain reinvented itself.
Maloney said that while the fix included fixing the crust, sauce and cheese, the company had to alter -- fundamentally -- how it presented itself to the public. In short, it had to integrate with social media; the company based its reinvention on transparency.
The PR was great, including one mention by Stephen Colbert, where he tries the new pizza and says: "Is that pizza or did an angel just give birth in my mouth?"
Part of that complementary digital/social effort involved a pledge that Domino's would stop using aesthetic doctoring of marketing photos of its food. The company then encouraged consumers to take photos of their pizzas when they arrived, and upload the shots to a Domino's social hub. The goal was to promulgate the new transparency position and prove that Domino's pizza looks good as is.
The fact that some of the photos were critical and showed how the pizzas arrived in various states of disarray led to a national TV spot in which Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle, displaying one of the photos, apologized -- saying it would not happen again.
"For the first time, we had a digital national campaign, and then had the digital turn around and drive a national campaign," said Maloney. "That was the second-best-scoring ad we have ever had. Consumers responded to the fact that we were holding ourselves accountable."
More recently the company, based on consumer concerns about sourcing of pizza ingredients, launched a digital ingredients game. "For the entire year every national campaign has had a digital complement that extends it online."
Domino's, which competes in a $34 billion category, has 5,000 stores, 1,200 of which are franchisees. It has focused on Web ordering because, per Maloney, it brings higher customer satisfaction, revenue and profit. "Online ordering is changing how we do business."
Domino's online ordering platform is a single point-of-sales system, he notes. "It is the same system interconnected to every store across the country. That allows us to to do things others can't."
One notable difference is a pizza tracker, an online guide that allows consumers to track their pie from store to door with a color-coded visual analog. It also tells the customer who made the pizza where it is in the process and when the pizza has left the store.