Domino’s Risked it All – You Don’t Have To!

At the end of last year, I posted a blog entry about a huge risk being undertaken by Domino’s Pizza. Responding to declining sales and customer satisfaction scores, in late 2009 Domino’s decided to completely revamp its core pizza recipe. The last time a major brand so drastically changed its identity, Coca-Cola released “New Coke” in the mid-1980s, with disastrous results.

So far, Domino’s seems to be avoiding the New Coke curse and is winning its huge brand reinvention bet. During the fourth quarter of 2009, when Domino’s introduced its new recipe, net income more than doubled and same-store sales (one of the retail industry’s most important health indicators) went up. In addition, Domino’s is now beating the competition in customer satisfaction surveys.

So Domino’s took what amounted to a multibillion dollar risk to reinvent its brand and appears to have made it work. Fortunately for you, brand reinvention is possible without risking everything you own! If your brand needs a “refreshening,” there are several key steps you can take that are affordable and allow you to modify your efforts if they don’t succeed at first effort.

First and foremost, establish a trustworthy and honest Branding Board of Advisors. This board should consist of knowledgeable, successful people who like you enough to be genuinely interested in your brand’s success and are also honest enough to tell you point blank when you’re doing something wrong. Your board will be a crucial tool in framing any reinvention strategy.

Secondly, keep yourself and your brand fresh. This means attending professional networking events, taking classes and seminars, and engaging in real conversations with your customers and clients to keep abreast of their changing needs and desires. Effort and expense will be required, but not nearly as much effort and expense that will be required to save a brand developed in a stale bubble.

Finally, make sure that everything about you communicates and exudes freshness. Your mother may have told you never to judge a book by its cover, but you know you didn’t listen to her! Neither did anyone else. Appearance counts and image matters. Unless you look and act the role of fresh, nobody will believe in your brand. Invest some money in quality tailored clothing, high-quality shoes, eye catching business cards, a leather attaché case, and personal grooming. Not taking this important final step is like executing a perfect golf swing and failing to follow through. You’ll miss the green (be it tightly manicured grass or money) every time.

Have you ever attempted to significantly reinvent your brand? Let us know what you did and how well it worked out!