Archive for January, 2011

Domino’s Wins By Eating a Little Humble Pie

January 13, 2011

Russel WeinerIn September 2008, Russell Weiner began his tenure as CMO of Domino’s Pizza at a tough time—its sales were stagnant and the economy was bottoming out. But, the company was also planning a bold risk-reward initiative that involved the very core of the Domino’s brand: the taste of its pizza.

As Weiner recently told QSR Magazine, “We knew that certainly we were known for our strength of delivery and service but that our pizza could be improved,” he says. “I knew that when I was interviewed. You didn’t have to do the research.” Over a two-year period, Weiner and the company took a holistic approach—conducting multiple taste tests and, most importantly, collecting opinions from all its stakeholders: customers, headquarters employees, and franchisees.

Encouraged by an internal commitment to change its 50-year-old recipe, Weiner then built and launched a marketing strategy in December 2009: the Pizza Turnaround campaign. Video ads showed actual criticisms from consumers (“the crust…is like cardboard”) and the authentic commitment of Domino’s employees to make a better pie. An integrated campaign followed with a PR push, promotions, and an extended use of social media, including a Facebook contest in which customers gained points by getting their friends to commit to try the new recipe.

The effect? A 14.3% increase in Q1 2010 same-store sales over Q1 2009, and a boost that continued throughout last year with sales in Q3 2010 up 11.2% over Q3 2009.

“If you’ve ever read The Art of War, they say the best way to win a war, if the war is fought on an island, is to blow up the bridge,” Weiner told QSR Magazine. “Everyone’s fighting for the death, because there’s no retreat. When we knew the product was so much better than our old one and the competition’s, we felt like we could go for it. So we blew up the bridge.”

Hear Russell Weiner speak at our BRITE ’11 Conference (March 2-3, 2011, NYC). Register now!

Case Study: The Scrap Over Scrabulous

January 12, 2011

Scrabulous on FacebookAs Facebook grew dramatically over 2007-08, there was one dominant gaming application growing with it: Scrabulous. Users were having fun, connecting with their friends around the world, and, well, wasting a little time, playing an adaptation of the Scrabble board game developed by two brother’s in India, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla.

Columbia Professor Rajiv Kohli spoke at BRITE ’10 about his development of a case study on the challenges faced by the major players—Hasbro and Mattel (the rights holders of Scrabble), the Agarwalla brothers, and Facebook—in what was to become a legal, financial and networking battle.

Scrabulous on Facebook details the backstory leading up to the challenge that was about to take place in 2008 over the existence of the Scrabulous application. The case covers Hasbro’s video game strategy, financial details of the online gaming industry, software piracy figures (an estimated $48B lost globally by 2008), and the growth of the Facebook network.

Click here to request copies of the case.

The Network Is Your Customer Book Launch Event (Jan 26)

January 11, 2011

The Network Is Your CustomerWe are very excited that the next event in our “SobelBRITE Event series” features a discussion surrounding the launch of David Rogers‘s latest book, The Network Is Your Customer: Five Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age (Yale University Press), which was released on January 11, 2011.

The Network Is Your Customer: Book Launch & Panel Discussion

7:30-10:00 am, Weds. January 26, 2011

At the Samsung Experience at Time Warner Center (10 Columbus Circle)


  • David Rogers: author, The Network Is Your Customer and Executive Director, Center on Global Brand Leadership
  • Lisa Hsia, Senior VP, Bravo Digital Media
  • Frank Eliason, Senior VP, Social Media, Citi
  • Russell Dubner, President, Edelman/New York
  • Carsten Wierwille, General Manager, frog design

Price: $20 admit / $30 with signed book


(limited number of free seats for Columbia B-School students, faculty, & staff)

Plus, download a free sample chapter of The Network Is Your Customer.

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