Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I tend to think of Pizza Hut as, oh, what am I saying?
I tend not to think of Pizza Hut.
When I do think of Pizza Hut, I think of fat crusts and somewhere I used to eat 20 years ago.
This may, indeed, be the impression of others, as the chain has rather struggled of late.
Pizza Hut promised it would catch up. It launched a mobile app. It started to ramp up delivery.
But, as the pizza chain's U.S. president Artie Starrs admitted this week -- at the YUM! Brands Investors Day -- Pizza Hut has failed to do a simple, core thing.
It's failed to tell customers that it's changed.
"When you drive by the location, it doesn't scream 'we deliver," he said.
In essence, people take one look at its often dowdy stores and somehow have no clue that this place has drifted toward the times.
Of course it would be helpful if all the Pizza Huts in America screamed vital emotions such as Millennial! and Apps Rule The World!
But some of the dowdiest places are still capable of communicating to their customers very well.
Have you been in a Jack In The Box? Have you seen its often wonderful ads?
I'm sure that Jack In The Box would love it if every one of its locations reflected Jack's ribald style. They don't. They're just any other burger joints.
I have a feeling, however, that Jack's ads drive a lot of people in the right direction.
Conversely, Pizza Hut says it's increased its advertising spend, launched itself as the NFL's official pizza and still people have little idea it now delivers?
That's not because some of its stores might be lifeless. It's because the communication has been.
I'm trying to think of a single Pizza Hut ad I might have seen over the last year. What comes to mind is a very large hole.
The problem with communication is that everyone thinks they know how to do it.
I just wandered to Pizza Hut's YouTube page to see what its recent ads were like. Please take a look at the latest one.
Football, a large, cheap price and delivery is mentioned in passing. That should do it, right?
This is supposed to change perceptions?
And as for No One Out-Pizzas the Hut, I confess it brought a chuckle. Pizza Hut's management is currently admitting it's been out-pizza'd for years.
It's been Dominoted.
Change the message and people might get that your offering is different. Keep the same message and people will think nothing's changed.
It's like dating. It's not just about your looks. It's about the way you talk, the things you say and the way go about things.
Sometimes, the largest companies struggle with this the most.