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The Importance of 'Brand Humanity' for Customer Loyalty

Domino’s Pizza CEO Doyle at the Domino's headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Domino’s Pizza CEO Doyle at the Domino's headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich.Photograph by Mark Bialek/ZUMA Press via Corbis

When Domino’s Pizza introduced a new pizza recipe in late 2009, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Doyle took the unusual step of appearing in TV commercials to offer customers his humble apologies that Domino’s old recipe hadn’t been very good. In the first quarter of 2010, Doyle’s heartfelt requests for a second chance earned Domino’s the largest single-quarter revenue boost in the history of the fast-food industry. The pizza chain has enjoyed industry-leading growth ever since.

The appeal of Domino’s “Pizza Turnaround” campaign offers some insights into the essence of being human. Research tells us that, thanks to the struggle for survival among our early ancestors, we all rely on a primal, unconscious ability to quickly size up others according to two specific categories of perception: warmth and competence.