Dominos utilises Social Media Outreach campaign to respond to criticism

2010 March 20

Dominos Pizza realised there was a problem when its deliveries reportedly fell by 6% in 2009 based on the previous years figures. According to a Brand Keys survey it ranked highly on delivery and value yet faired poorly in customer taste preferences.

The Pizza Turnaround campaign was the company’s response, which demonstrates how Dominos learned to embrace social networking channels to connect with its customers and harshest critics. The action plan involved a social outreach campaign designed to utilise social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook etc. as well as more traditional methods such as focus groups, customer research and market intelligence reporting. The aim was to listen more closely to the things its customers were saying about the product, whether positive or negative, in order to improve the overall customer experience.

Let’s take a closer look:

DOMINO\’s PIZZA TURNAROUND

By use of social media listening tools the company was able to identify a number of key influencers online (e.g. bloggers, regular forum contributers and social media maverns etc.) and listen to what they were saying about the Dominos product. The aim being to engage with these people in a meaningful and constructive way.

The feedback they received was extremely critical about the product experience, which was basically the same pizza recipe that had been in production for all of Pizza Hut’s 50 year existence. Customer comments were blunt to the extreme e.g. the “pizza crust to me is like cardboard”, “the worst excuse for pizza I’ve ever had!”, “the sauce tastes like ketchup” and “totally void of flavour”.

The solution that Dominos introduced involved an online strategy, including a campaign microsite www.pizzaturnaround.com, featuring a new documentary style video on YouTube. The aim was to get the message out that Dominos Pizza was updating its recipe and encourage customers (particularly those who had previously been critical of its pizzas) to publicly review the new pizza and comment on the taste via the multiple social media channels available. A Twitter stream was included on the microsite to show customer’s reactions to the new recipe by use of the hashtag #newpizza.

Dominos are to be commended on taking such a bold and transparent approach to what was a very sensitive and potentially damaging situation. This is a fine example of how a business can utilise social media networking to develop an outreach campaign and turn negative customer feedback to its own advantage.

Exposing a business’ flaws in such a high profile and public manner is indeed a risky strategy but for Dominos at least, what it actually revealed was that the company is able to listen to its customers and react by improving its product. The campaign also demonstrated the passion of its employees and their eagerness to put things right.

It’s still early days but the Pizza Turnaround campaign appears to be paying off for Dominos, with a recent report showing that its fourth-quarter profits rose to $23.6 million – more than double the previous year. And with PizzaTurnaround.com continuing to boldly display ongoing news coverage and Twitter comments it looks like Dominos will continue to invest in its policy of honesty for some time.

More recently Dominos have demonstrated further commitment to the power of social media by launching ‘Social Affiliate’ tool to ‘drive awareness and encourage downloads’. More to come on this in future updates.

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