In Pursuit of the Perfect Pizza

During our 20 or so years of working with Domino’s Pizza we frequently brought up the fact that their product consistently was rated lower than their competitor’s pizza by customers. Interestingly, in blind taste tests it did quite well. Over the years they tinkered with various aspects of the product, the cheese blend, the dough, the ovens that it was baked in. Regardless, it was difficult to change the perception that the pizza itself was not as good as that of their competitors. And at that time, it was difficult to convince the Domino’s Pizza leadership that they needed to seriously address the problem.

The new Domino’s Pizza campaign finally addresses the issue head on. It’s open and transparent strategy resonates well with today’s internet savvy consumers. Tim McIntyre, VP Communication, spoke at the Detroit PRSA Convention yesterday and shared insights into the current campaign along with their successful management of their recent social media crisis. While he could not comment specifically on sales, he did suggest that their recent stock price climb reflected the overall success they were enjoying.

It is interesting to note that a market segment that would appear to be totally saturated and commoditized can still add new competitors who can find ways to differentiate themselves. Marco’s Pizza based in Toledo is experiencing considerable franchise growth. Several of our former Domino’s Pizza clients are helping drive that effort and they are positioning the brand as a superior pizza product. We were recently approached by another young, but rapidly growing franchise whose product is totally organic and very upscale. Like our Ben & Jerry’s client, they have the opportunity to become a “passion brand,” building their position and attracting customers on the basis of their core values as well as the quality of their product.

Our current favorite pizza is right next door, Pizza Pino. They have a distinct advantage in that it takes us about two minutes to pick it up. It doesn’t take years of experience in the category to know that the best pizza is piping hot from the oven. (The premise behind 30 minute delivery.) Pizza Pino actually has a really good pizza product, with probably the best crust I have had in a long time. So for now, until we have another pizza client that commands our loyalty, they are our first choice. I guess that proves that there is indeed room for another great pizza purveyor in the marketplace.

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