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Selling by Putting Your Faults on Display: A Mini Case Study

Facing CriticismFor most people trying to sell a product, displaying your faults seems counter-intuitive. Maybe even downright scary. If someone criticizes you, why would you want everyone else to see it too?

This may not make sense at first, but your critics are actually one of you best business resources. For two reasons…

  1. You can use their feedback to actually improve on your product and service to leave more customers happy
  2. You can face that criticism head on, and let everyone know how you are facing that criticism.

The latter of the two can be churned into content that converts like crazy. Blog posts, YouTube videos, TV Ads, etc. There is content to be made!

Selling Food Through Stories

I want to share with you two different approaches to “storyselling” in the fast food industry. You may have seen both of these ads on TV at one point or another.

The first is McDonald’s:

The other is Domino’s. This is not an actual TV ad, but rather a bit of a longer YouTube story video. I’m sure you have seen plenty of ads from Domino’s telling the same story though.

The Story of Two Stories

Domino’s and McDonald’s clearly take two different approaches here. And in my opinion one works and one doesn’t.

The story that Domino’s is trying to tell is very clear. They are taking their criticisms and facing them head-on. They admit their faults and problems and show exactly how they are solving them. This is a proactive approach to criticisms and shows that they actually listen to the customers and try to put out a product that the end user will enjoy.

The story here is change. They listened…they changed…they improved.

McDonald’s takes a different approach.

They often face the criticism of selling food that isn’t exactly of the highest quality. I am one of those critics. I couldn’t even begin to estimate how long it’s been since I’ve eaten there.

But instead of facing that criticism head on, McDonald’s puts out a story talking about quality. They give you the sense that they use small-business farmers for their supply – and it is only the highest quality of products.

There is no talk of change. So is their product the same as it has always been?

I’ve eaten at McDonald’s. I’ve also eaten burgers at fancy-shmancy steak houses. There is a difference. And nothing McDonald’s will ever do or say will make me believe that their burgers are of the highest quality.

Unless they tell me they’ve changed.

Learn to Love Your Critics

There will always be people that aren’t happy with what you put out there. There are just plenty of unhappy people. But if you are seeing a trend of negative feedback, chances are you have a serious problem.

Leverage this to your benefit. Facing criticism and actually talking about it can resonate with users (especially the critics), build trust and convince people to give you a second chance.

I was always one of those people that would never order Domino’s. And then their campaign convinced me otherwise.

And you know what? They weren’t lying. Their cheesy break is really cheesy :). And pretty darn tasty too.

They’ve been running this ad campaign for over a year now. Looks like its working.

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4 Responses to Selling by Putting Your Faults on Display: A Mini Case Study

  1. Annie Andre says:

    Eugene,
    I prefer Dominoes approach. I think McDonalds is trying to fool people but you know what, they are only fooling people because they hide the fact that their animals are tortured in the meat packing facilities. They spray dangerous chemicals on their potato crops that make it too dangerous for farmers to go out onto their farm for 5 days after. ooooh it pisses me off. I

    Anyways, i’m with you. i think selling your faults makes it more human. everyone makes mistakes but if you do nothing than take a hike.

    • Eugene says:

      I have to be completely honest here. Domino’s completely got me with their marketing campaign. And their cheesy bread is delicious. :). And I’m with you…the McDonald’s approach just rubs me the wrong way rather getting me into their stores.

  2. AJ Perisho says:

    I’m all about full disclosure selling.
    If there is something I can’t do, I share with my client how I employ outside help with that aspect of the plan.
    Honesty is always best.
    Too many people try and BS their way through situations, and they are usually found out.

    • Eugene says:

      Exactly. I’ve been asked to do things that are out of my scope of expertise…and I was straight up about it. The response I got was “thanks for the honesty…that’s very refreshing.”

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