Go All In, But Know How to Get Out
There is a classic scene from the original Star Wars trilogy that is instructive for executing marketing strategy. It goes like this: Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke and Chewy are trying to manage their escape from the Death Star. In the corridors of the ship, they happen across a group of storm troopers. Han lets out a primal yell and goes chasing after them, only to turn the corner and find a much larger group of troopers waiting for him. The same speed (and same yell) with which Han led the one-man assault is quickly applied to the retreat.
Marketing campaigns only work when they are executed with the same resolve as Solo’s gallant (if brief) charge. I’m thinking specifically of the ongoing Domino’s Pizza “honesty” campaign. Thom blogged about this in January, when Domino’s launched its strategy of gaining trust by admitting its pizza is lackluster. The campaign has moved on from candid customer feedback to candid customer photos of their product – showcased on a website called showusyourpizza.com.
When the probably predictable happened, and a customer sent in a photo of a pizza that had been mangled in the delivery process, Domino’s was given a chance to put action behind its advertising. The result was this recent video entitled “Making it Right,” in which the customer was awarded two fresh pizzas and $500 in Domino’s gift certificates.
It is laudable for Domino’s to capitalize on such an opportunity, where other brands may have balked. Their commitment to their agreed-upon marketing strategy – which is supporting their “new recipe” pie and new online ordering system – is providing results at the bottom line. Domino’s is showing what can happen when a strong marketing objective is accompanied by equally strong execution of messaging and strategy. Marketing messages that are spoken in a whisper with actions carried out behind the scenes benefit neither the consumer nor the brand.
Which is why it will be interesting to watch how Domino’s pivots from showing itself as a company that is learning to a company that is leading. The predominant messaging in their campaign so far has positioned the company as one “trying to get better.” While that’s commendable and is providing some short-term success, there could be a price to pay if customers internalize this view of the brand, and opt for a pizza place that they perceive has it figured out over one that is constantly admitting to its learning curve.
If Domino’s can sustain its sales success and become an industry leader, the shift in messaging may be easy to achieve. Still, the lesson from Han Solo as it applies to marketing holds true: Charge in with steadfast commitment, but keep mindful of what may be around the corner.
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