I was sitting at home, watching TV, and the Domino’s commercial came on where they announced their pizza sucked. They had customers telling them it tasted like cardboard, with actual footage of customers sharing their feedback, and Domino’s agreed.
I knew I had to go to Michigan to visit the HQ of Domino’s in Ann Arbor to find out why. Why would a company’s leadership team agree to that marketing campaign? Why would it want to take a product of 50+ years and say it’s horrible? Why?
I was eager to visit with CEO Patrick Doyle and his team to find out why they made the decision to shift the brand focus. The original slogan of ‘Domino’s in 30 minutes or less,’ ensured pizza got to customers fast regardless of quality. So why now were they switching the brand promise? What direction were they heading with this campaign?
They’ve re-made and re-baked the pizza to fit palates of today because the research had shown tastes had changed. I wanted to find out, as they shift to this honest feedback using social media and direct advertising, if the old adage was true: Does honesty pay?
What I learned at Domino’s is that c-suite leadership works best when it’s genuine. Being honest and real gets us to the best decisions and faster. It works really well in boardrooms because that’s how high performance teams work.
I’ve been saying for a long time you can look at a great sports team and immediately see the connection between the players and their chemistry. Everything is out in the open. They know and can sense who is the strongest, fastest, smartest, and most dependable and who’s not. Sometimes those are the elephants in the room that management teams try to hide. When you’re open and honest about those things, whether good or bad, it’s crucial.
When you take it out of the boardroom and directly to the customer, it pays off on the bottom line. Domino’s saw an immediate shift in their sales overnight. To the point where they weren’t handling complaints, they were literally running out of pepperoni. Corporate was worried about getting ingredients to their franchisees and quickly. That’s how well it worked. Domino’s shows the c-suite leaders what I’m calling an age of radical transparency.
For years we’ve hidden behind 800 numbers, forcing customers to comply with our own policies and procedures, rather than making them for the customers. Through social media, the voice of the customer has become more critical than ever. Social media provides a genuine two-way dialogue with costumers – and it works. The key question that Domino’s helps c-suite leaders raise is whether they will choose to take Domino’s lead and engage in real, honest communication.
Watch the episode here
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a global business celebrity and speaker, bestselling author, Contributing Editor and Host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett on Bloomberg Television. He is the CEO of The Hayzlett Group, an international strategic business consulting company focused on leading change and developing high growth companies.
This is a repost from a guest blog post for eMarketing Association. To view the original blog post, visit here.