Brand Promises – Getting it right

Pizza - Delivering on brand promises

In the USA, Domino’s Pizza has recently started a new marketing campaign based around the tagline "You Got 30 Minutes" – On the face of it, this appears to be a straightforward guarantee that your pizza would arrive within half an hour of ordering.

In fact, it’s a promise that the company used to make during the 1980s and early 1990s. This practice stopped in 1993, however, after a St. Louis woman was involved in a car accident with a Domino’s delivery van and subsequently sued the company on the grounds that the 30-minute pledge led to accidents.

The impetus for re-introducing the slogan appears to be market research that found that up to 30% of customers still remembered Domino’s as the 30-minute delivery chain.

All of which is well and good – On first blush, Domino’s strategy appears to be one based upon returning to core brand values and delivering upon customers’ principal expectations. And to hell with the possibility of lawsuits.

Except there’s a big “butâ€? – the “You Got 30 Minutesâ€? promise isn’t a promise at all. According to a disclaimer on their web site:

Because safety is a priority "You Got 30 Minutes™" is not a guarantee but an estimate.

What’s left, therefore, is a brand promise which actually promises nothing. Which is nice spin if you can get away with it – except as Seth Godin points out, this tends to only result in one thing: disgruntled customers:

Some organizations work very hard to weasel in the promises they make. They imply great customer service or amazing results or spectacular quality, but don’t deliver. No, they didn’t actually lie, but they came awfully close. The result: angry customers and negative word of mouth.

The lesson to take away from all of this is that returning to established brand strengths is always a good idea, but don’t ever get into the business of over-promising and under-delivering.

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