As a brand marketing consultancy, people pay us to, “call their baby ugly” and discover profitable ways to make it more attractive. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when the business owners or leaders you’re consulting with happen to be the ones who gave birth to the baby you’re critiquing.
A few months ago, I caught the news and television commercials about how Dominos Pizza executives blatantly called their baby – a pizza pie – ugly. They announced that they had listened to their customers (inside the company and outside the company) and had taken strong, bold steps to clean up their act and improve their product.
I applauded their authentic, open approach and knew if they were true to their words with actions and walked their talk, their honesty would be rewarded in spades.
Here are the steps Dominos took:
1. They first listened to their customers (internal and external) and agreed to take action because they believed what they were hearing – that is, their product was not good. They started to revamp their recipes more than 1.5 years ago following a ton of focus group and social media site criticism. Remember, the first step to transforming (see rehab) a brand or yourself is admitting you have a problem and need help.
2. They “started over” (total transformation) from scratch by revamping their pizza recipe (new sauce and cheese combination and herb-and garlic-flavored crust)
3. They launched an honest documentary style ad campaign (in short, “we’re sorry…we agree with you that our baby tastes like cardboard…we did something remarkable about it…we think you’ll love it…please try us again”)
The result? A ton of curious customers rushed to try the new Dominos pizza and rocked their sales. In fact, Dominos Pizza Q4 2009 profits more than doubled!
Here’s a great Dominos turnaround video explaining how it all went down.
So what are some of the steps you should take when your company or client is performing poorly and you recognize radical change is needed?
Here are 2 suggestions.
1. Be careful and smart with your language. You need to be careful to not to just slam the poor quality of your brand’s systems, products, people, processes etc., because the people you’re trying to influence may be defensive. Have concrete facts.
2. Concentrate all positive energies on transformational business building ideas. Focus on specific business building ideas to help them achieve their KPIs (key performance indicators).achieve their business objectives. Discuss how you’ve experienced similar challenges and relay to them potential outcomes and blue sky possibilities.
Be a marketing ambassador of hope and handle those ugly babies with kid glove because when you do, their brand parents will adopt your way of thinking!
P.S.: I love all babies.