Domino’s Turns to their Customers as “Pizza Paparazzi”

267,000 YouTube views and counting – customer’s photos now sell Domino’s pizza for them!

“If we’re going to be real and honest about the taste of our product, we want to be as authentic as possible about how it looks,” says Russell Weiner, Domino’s CMO.

In late June, Domino’s began reaching out to consumers in a photo contest where they gave $6,000 to 12 people ($500 each) who submit the best unretouched photos of Domino’s pizzas. The winning shots are also “likely” to end up in ads, says the chain. The site they set up, called “Show Us Your Pizza,” has thousands of pictures of pizzas—often accompanied by dogs, babies or kittens.

On that site Russell Wiener, Chief Marketing Officer, makes this set of promises:

“Here at Domino’s, we don’t think our inspired Domino’s pizza needs the ‘extra’ things typically done to food at photo shoots to look mouth watering. Our pizza is good enough to stand on its own. That’s why we’re making the following promises about how we photograph our pizzas from this day forward.”

  • We will only photograph real honest to goodness pizzas.

That means fresh from our own ovens, with exactly the same ingredients we deliver to your doorstep. Nothing else added.

  • Our employees will make the pizza we shoot.

Not an art director or model maker or food stylist. A Domino’s employee trained to make pizzas the only way they know how: by hand.

  • We will not artificially manipulate the food we shoot.

No tweezers, no steam guns, no model knives cutting perfect perforations in the cheese. The only thing that will touch the pizzas we shoot is the pizza-maker’s hands and a standard Domino’s pizza cutter.

Traditionally, just to get a shot of pizza to sell you, a food stylist (now that’s a job I want!) would spend at least a half-hour of preparation, and require up to 129 other people’s involvement on a photo shoot to make your mouth water for a $6 buck piece of pizza!

But no more. Domino’s is taking it to the people and the people are responding enthusiastically.

This connects directly back to one of the core ways that Beloved Companies decide to grow. They decide to “Be there” – by providing products and services from their customer’s point of view.

These companies connect with customers by being bold enough to get out from behind the corporate packaging (literally, in this case) and connect human to human with their customers. This often leads to new and unexpected methods of product development, as customers have a hand in product design and feedback, because they feel a real connection with the organization, and believe it’s worth their time to invest their time.

Take Threadless T-shirts as another example of a company that thrives because of customer involvement. sells out of every product they sell because their T-shirts are designed voted on, and bought by their customer community of over 700,000 members. Beloved companies tap the passionate energy of their customers to grow and prosper.

In the beginning, the “Threadless” community was created to give artists and designers a place to submit their design ideas and give those designs a home—on the unexpected canvas of a T-shirt. This idea exploded into a fast-growing community. Customers embraced the idea of being involved in the design, selection, and the purchasing of the products they had a hand in creating. As a result, the community exploded.

Domino’s Pizza and are two companies striving to involve their customers, and because they encourage this active participation these companies continue to grow and prosper.

Here’s your challenge question from my book, “I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions for Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.”

Go try this –  To blur your line between your customers and your company:

1. Review your product development cycle. Where does it begin? With your customers, or with your own internal priorities? Make sure research and development doesn’t start until you’ve talked to customers.

2. Ask your customers to contribute. Find your version of Domino’s asking customers to send in pizza pictures or Threadless asking customers to submit designs.

3. If you are subscribe and use the Net Promoter© methodology, reach out to your “Promoters.” Ask them to come in quarterly and participate with you in product design, improvement and brainstorming. These folks already have an affinity for you and will likely jump at the chance to participate in improving a company they love.

Want to learn about other tools to help you earn customers who drive the success and growth of your business? Pick up a copy of: “I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.”

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