Admark’s Weblog

Brand promise in changing times

Posted on: January 23, 2009

Until recently I thought that brand promise is just a function of what you want to do with your product. But I am sure I don’t think so anymore. Consider the case of Domino’s (about my travails with them ). They position themselves as the Pizza delivery experts. That means their clear focus is on delivering pizzas lightning fast. They have been pretty good at that, except that their call handlers are a little short on training.

What really drove me to this post is a comment from my friend who said – in certain parts of a city in India Domino’s refuse to serve/deliver pizzas in 30 minutes to customers citing that the traffic in the approach roads hinders prompt delivery. Think about this (this is largely India specific) –

  1. As a city in which Domino’s operates adds more and more vehicles to its roads which don’t expand to match the gap between the demand of better road spaces and the actual physical supply of roads, what happens to Domino’s brand promise. Such a brand promise becomes highly dependent upon the city’s infrastructure.
  2. If the city’s infrastructure fails / is under great pressure, then due to this dependency your brand promise is in jeopardy.
  3. If you were in Domino’s what would you do – the only feasible solution seems to be open more stores serving smaller areas in order to combat this dependency.

To me, Domino’s brand promise consists of two elements, internal and external. Internal – Process for making pizzas, External – Delivery mechanism. Now we can see the issue in their positioning. The external element is the real pain point (and going forward in India it could become a real problem, with denial of service already happening).

Isn’t it better to architect your brand promise on elements internal – like a Pizza Hut (Taste) or a Volvo (Safety)?

Therefore it’s not just about your product but also the overall environment which also affects what you set out to do with your brand. It’s upto the company to decide the extent of dependency on the external environment.

Let me conclude with a question – Are brand promise and positioning the same? What do you think?

Let us know in the comments.

-Egghead

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4 Responses to "Brand promise in changing times"

Some points i differ in. The problem according to me is not their positioning. It is the service expectation that they’ve communicated. Take this – if they had mentioned in their communication that the 30 mins delivery is applicable only if you are within a distance x from the shop, you wouldn’t have been disappointed.
They are still riding on the glory that Indians don’t mind minor deviations in service levels. But guess with people like us around, they’ll change soon!

If 30 minute delivery is the service expectation then I am really wondering what is the brand promise of Domino’s after all.
IMHO their service level agreement is their brand promise.
Again to reiterate what is the difference between brand promise and positioning, I am lost.

First of all really nice blog ! I would like to contribute too….

My two cents on Dominos

The positioning signifies what the company would like customers to think when they think of Dominos…For eg. Good pizzas, or inexpensive pizzas

Brand promise is seldom restricted to a service level entity like on time delivery. Of course companies like Fedex pride on it, but they also make sure they press on other factors as well which are “internal”. For eg. They ensure safe delivery & trust which is paramount.

Similarly Dominos brand promise inherently signals good tasty italian “piping hot” pizzas and oven baked sandwiches in addition to external elements like on time delivery.

To me, the 30 min delivery promise is just a POD.

A brand identity should include factors like extendability. In other words your brand identity should be designed in such a way to allow brand extensions easily in the future.

And if their brand promise focusses solely on on time delivery, they can probably only look at courier services as possible new business ventures 🙂

noop – Point taken. I did not know that Domino’s also signifies for PIPING HOT Italian pizzas, but isn’t that promised by all including Pizza Hut. Bang – on relating Fedex though.
Funniest line about courier businesses, though. Awaiting posts from your end now.

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