Domino’s Fires Up The Think Oven To Tap Consumer Creativity

Domino’s Think Oven is looking to customers for innovative ideas on and off brief.

When Domino’s set out to find fresh ideas on improving its business, the company didn’t limit idea generation to consultants and internal meetings, but opened the floor for suggestions to those who know their brand the best: their customers.

Domino’s recently launched Think Oven, a Facebook platform where customers and fans can submit their suggestions in two categories: the Idea Box (for general ideas, e.g. new menu items, tips for going green, etc.) and Current Project (for specific things Domino’s needs help with, e.g. this month’s topic of "New Domino’s Uniforms"). The best idea under Current Project is handpicked after the deadline for submissions and will be rewarded with $500.

Tony Calcao, VP/Executive Creative Director at Domino’s agency CP+B, says the concept behind Think Oven has always been a part of Domino’s core values. "Domino’s is a brand that’s all about listening," he says. "When we launched 'Pizza Turnaround,' we listened to our customers about how they felt about the pizza, and we changed the pizza. We’ve tried to maintain that with every campaign."

In an effort to truly drive home the mindset of not only listening to their customers but valuing them as well, Think Oven’s $500 prize for the best Current Project idea wasn’t solely about providing an incentive or guaranteeing engagement. "At the end of the day, you’re asking someone to help your business. This isn’t just [a contest] for a funny picture—this is give me an idea to make our company better," Calcao says. "We would sleep better knowing that we were giving some sort of reward [because] what you don’t want in a comment is someone saying, "Thanks, Domino’s…I guess you’re using your Facebook fans to do your work!"

Having two outlets for suggestions, Idea Box and Current Project, creates the necessary latitude for Think Oven to succeed in its mission for customer-generated concepts for change. And as it turns out, customers aren’t the only ones voicing their ideas: Domino’s store managers and employees have taken to Think Oven with genuine suggestions. The idea for one of Domino’s new products, Parmesan Bread Bites, came from Brian Edler, a Domino’s store owner in Ohio instead of from product dev types at HQ.

"It’s not common that the employees of any brand engage that much in an ad idea," Calcao says. "They could just be cynical [and use] this idea as a sounding board, but they’re not—they’re joining the conversation, and they have some really great ideas."

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