November 3rd, 2009

Pizza Hut Gets It

Admittedly, I am an iPhone “worshiper,” but this latest news proves its capabilities can benefit brands, too.  In mid-September, Pizza Hut released a kick-ass iPhone app that allowed customers to place orders through the app.  As an added bonus, customers that placed orders through the app received 20% off the total price.  To date, Pizza Hut has generated $1 million in sales through the app (according to Mashable).  I have no idea how much Pizza Hut paid for the development of the app, but they seem to have gotten a return on their investment in both sales and cool points.

In a presentation that we gave on social media last week, someone asked, “what is the biggest mistake companies are making in the space right now?”  Our response: “Not being in it.”  Social media and mobile communications really go hand-in-hand as social media gets more social with constant improvements to mobile devices.  Mobile applications–like those available for the iPhone–are the perfect channel for getting in front of customers.  So many brands are just dipping their toe in social/mobile media, timidly trying it out.  Brands should take a dive in and consider an investment in an iPhone app.  Yes, there are 100,000 apps available in the app store, but many consumer brands aren’t there yet.  Just being there will put you ahead of the competition in this social/mobile space (and don’t forget to put a little promotional support behind it; just putting it there will not guarantee it will be found by your customers).  This is not a complete list, but some things to consider when developing an app for a brand, it should: (1) do something cool that others haven’t done yet (or do it in a different way; improve on what is already out there), (2) provide a clear benefit to the customer, not just benefit the brand (example: Pizza Hut offered 20% off orders placed through iPhone app), (3) be free (example: not like CNN), and (4) give the customer a reason to use the app over and over (hint: constantly update/improve the capabilities).

Check out a demonstration of the Pizza Hut iPhone app here:

What pizza brand doesn’t get it?  Domino’s.  Everyone remembers the embarrassing “food defiling” video post by Domino’s employees.  It took Domino’s several days to respond, they signed up for a Twitter account to deal with the consumer response (note that they didn’t ALREADY have a Twitter account), and produced a stiff teleprompter-read video from their corporate office.  In those same days, Pizza Hut put out an ad for a Twitern.  Pizza Hut definitely gets both the digital and social space.

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