CMO50 2020 #24: Allan Collins

  • Name Allan Collins
  • Title Chief marketing officer A/NZ
  • Company Domino’s
  • Commenced role January 2007
  • Reporting Line ANZ CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 7 direct reports; 46 staff
  • Industry Sector Quick Service Restaurant
  • 2019 ranking 14
  • Related

    Brand Post

    This year, there were two key changes in Domino’s marketing it has never needed to do before - demonstrate the safety of its food preparation and delivery, including developing new operational methods like Zero Contact Delivery, and demonstrating why Domino’s should be trusted to continue operations when communities are in lockdown.

    “I’m pleased that, working hand-in-hand with our operations teams and our stores, we have met this challenge and been able to demonstrate (and communicate) our high levels of safety and focus on protecting our people and our customers,” Collins explained.

    Yet, despite all the change, the need to demonstrate value has remained. So has the constant drive for more impactful screen creative. “The brand’s most recent TVC for car park delivery is the perfect example of these different drivers all coming together into a memorable piece of marketing,” he said.

    Marketing effectiveness

    “When I think back over my 13 years at Domino’s, there are some amazing campaigns that come to mind. But by far, this year has been one of the most challenging and rewarding. During a time where hundreds of businesses closed their doors and thousands of people lost their jobs, Domino’s had the privilege of continuing to delivering safe, hot meals to customers self-isolating at home. While I’m incredibly proud of how quickly the team rallied together to launch Zero Contact Pick-Up and Delivery, and adjust our messaging to ensure customers knew we were open and safe, what I’m most proud of (and what has contributed exponentially to our brand equity) is our Feeding the Frontline initiative,” Collins said.

    In times of crisis, Domino’s is renowned for being the last kitchen to close and the first to open – whether it be fire, flood or cyclone. And a pandemic is no different. In partnership with Domino’s registered charity Give for Good, Domino’s gave away more than 25,000 pizzas to over 44,000 frontline workers during the pandemic.
    From emergency services and medical centres, to grocery store staff and supply chain workers, these donations were our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those working tirelessly to keep us safe and our society moving. In addition to supporting communities, this campaign had a very real impact on our brand.

    “With more than 360 media articles about the initiative, an organic reach of over 50.33 million and a sharp increase in Buzz (people talking positively about the brand), we saw more consumers talking about and considering Domino’s as a result. Pizza may not be a medical cure, but its ability to surprise and delight is universal. This activation really brought our purpose – to bring people closer through pizza – to life and created brand evangelists in the process,” he said.

    Influencing change

    Over the past twelve months, Collins has championed a new way of operating in the marketing team. Previously, because print materials needed to be designed so far in advance, the creative in each campaign didn’t match that of other channels, like the TVC. “I worked to build the marketing calendar out one to two years in advance to allow the team more time to collaborate on fully integrated campaigns,” he said.

    “And the results speak for themselves, with Domino’s growing 3.5x in spend and 3x in traffic compared to our competitor in the last financial year. Additionally, during the same period Domino’s Brand Saliency Growth was the second largest in the fast food category, significantly contributing to brand equity,” he said.

    “When it comes to more recent times, I have played an instrumental role in steering Domino’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Domino’s has always focused on listening to our customers and during COVID-19 our customers’ voice – through social media, focus groups and online and third-party surveys – helped guide our response. I regularly shared these insights back to the business, influencing the changes made by other departments to ensure our team members and customers were not only safe, but felt safe.”

    Data-led marketing

    Collins knows it’s crucial to make data-driven decisions when investing millions of dollars in marketing campaigns. “You want to know you’re going to get the best ROI for dollars spent. That’s why we have a dedicated, in-house Insights team who monitor the success of different products, campaigns and methodologies; allowing us to deliver some outstanding results,” he said.

    The primary focus is on identifying the right consumer tension, solution and messaging. “We do this by ‘concept testing’ all campaign ideas prior to launch. Only those that resonate the highest with consumers make the cut. This commitment has seen multiple Domino’s advertisements score in the top 5 per cent of all ads in Australia for cut-through, including Domino’s recent ‘Deep Pan’ TVC, which ranked in the top 3 per cent of all ads nationally aired ever in Australia,” he said.

    Additionally, Domino’s recent ‘New Yorker’ TVC performed in the top 11 per cent of ads. This TVC, which aired during the first phase of COVID-19 lockdown, was created in response to research that found consumers were experiencing safety messaging fatigue, and were looking for entertainment as a mode of escapism. Consumer research put the success of the TVC down to the ad’s overarching positivity and humour, with safety messaging supplementary. The popularity of the TVC translated into almost double the number of New Yorker pizza sales.
    “Under my leadership, Domino’s marketing team continues to test, review and adapt creative and messaging to ensure it has the highest possible cut through, likelihood of sales and overall brand impact,” he said.

    CX capability

    “At Domino’s, we pride ourselves on our customer-centric approach. We are constantly listening to our customers and removing tensions to make their experience more seamless and enjoyable. For example, we noticed that as the COVID-19 situation escalated in Victoria, less customers were picking up their pizzas. We know from our data that pick-up customers and Delivery customers are different, so these customers were not converting to delivery but leaving the brand all together. So, we developed a solution to make them feel as safe as possible when picking up their favourite pizza – car park delivery,” Collins said.

    To address this, the marketing team rallied together to ensure the branding and messaging was consistent across all channels and that those in Victoria knew car park delivery was available. “As a result, we saw good uptake in its first week, with an overall increase in ticket and pick-up orders (something that was previously declining due to COVID-19). Additionally, we have received some really positive feedback from customers about the experience. As a result of this success, Domino’s car park delivery will be rolled out nationally later this year.

    Commercial acumen

    The past six months has been an extraordinary period in Domino’s history in which it has made significant investments in its people, franchisees and local communities, while still delivering commercial outcomes. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw it as a time to do good, not well. This free Zero Contact Pick-Up service allows customers to wait inside their vehicle while a team members delivers their order to them – it’s pick up, delivered. So, if you’ve got kids or pets in the car, don’t want to get out of your comfy pyjamas, or would simply feel more comfortable staying inside in these uncertain times – Domino’s Car Park Delivery is now an option,” Collins explained. 
    Providing safe hot meals to isolating Australians and those on the frontline is another commercial initiative. “After the pick up innovation, we shifted our focus to doing both good and well. As offices closed, universities cancelled classes and holiday plans for families were postponed in favour of communities staying home, food delivery soared,” he said.

    “And with six decades of experience in food delivery, we were well placed to meet this demand. The marketing function contributed exponentially to this, ensuring customers knew that Domino’s was a tasty, safe and affordable option, and considered us a choice when deciding where and what to eat. As pizza was one of the few treats available during lockdown, we saw an increase in customers ordering Zero Contact Delivery.”

    COVID-19 innovation

    "We are always listening to our customers and frequently update our marketing to speak directly to their experiences,” Collins said. When COVID-19 first hit in Australia, customers made it clear they expected safety messages to be at the forefront of all communications, covering everything from the ordering and payment process, through to meal preparation and delivery to the customer’s door.

    "So we communicated extensively with customers about our new health and safety procedures, including Zero Contact Pick-Up and Delivery, hourly sanitation of stores, thermometer testing of team members, social distancing requirements and our preference for cashless payments. We ran education campaigns via television showcasing how Zero Contact Delivery works and highlighting the safety of our products, in particular, that our pizzas are cooked in ovens that exceed 260 degrees Celsius and that the only hands that touch them, are yours,” he said.
    “Then our customers told us they were fatigued from the overwhelming changes COVID-19 had brought to their lives. They said they expected safety-focused initiatives such as Zero Contact Delivery to continue, and for food safety to be an ongoing priority, but they also wanted to return to normalcy,” he added.

    “They gave us permission to be ‘fun’ again and our marketing approach was updated once more to reflect Domino’s indulgence and escapism. In response, we launched a range of activities on our social channels centred around connecting virtually while in lockdown, such as virtual pizza parties, movie nights and trivia events.”

    Domino’s held competitions focused on connection and community, including giving free pizza to those who had to postpone their wedding and paying bills in response to widespread economic hardship. It was unable to forecast what form the COVID-19 pandemic would take next, but remains focused on listening to its customers and serving them whenever, and however, they choose to order from us. “We cannot forecast how long this pandemic will last, nor how it will impact sales or costs in the short term – but we do know our ongoing success relies on offering customers market-leading service and value and we will continue to deliver,” he said.

    Cross-functional collaboration

    When COVID-19 first hit in Australia, Domino’s needed to act quickly if it was to continue operating during the crisis. Domino’s Zero Contact Delivery was launched in less than a week, and is an incredible demonstration of the way the marketing team efficiently collaborated with other departments within the company to ensure Domino’s not only continued to operate, but remained a trustworthy source of food (and joy) during the crisis. To help put it into perspective, this was a significant change to a 60-year-old delivery model with the end goal of keeping both our team members and customers safe.

    To limit unnecessary physical contact during COVID-19, Zero Contact Delivery sees the Delivery Expert place a customer’s order on a safe surface at the delivery location and move back a safe distance before advising the customer via phone that their order has arrived. “This initiative required a mammoth team effort behind-the-scenes, transforming our entire pizza delivery model for some 800 stores, 20,000 staff and hundreds of thousands of customers in just days, and setting the standard for other delivery services to follow,” Collins said.

    The procedure kept both the team members and customers safe, and ensured that at the height of the pandemic, the customers could still access their favourite products as they had always done and get them safely delivered. “The marketing team worked closely with multiple areas of the business, particularly operations and digital, providing analytics from website user and in-person experience to inform the initiative, and pivoting the company’s entire marketing strategy to ensure customers were aware, and could easily understand, the steps Domino’s was taking to prioritise their safety,” he said.

    “The marketing team played an instrumental role in delivering this customer-focused solution quickly and without disruption to the customer ordering experience.”

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