Pizza Hut’s Delicious & Disruptive Campaign

If you’ve been anywhere near a computer these past weeks, you’ve probably noticed a promoted tweet or article teasing Pizza Hut’s largely anticipated makeover. This Wednesday, the Hut unveiled their new branding and declared #PizzaHasChanged backed by their “biggest advertising and marketing initiative”, according to their CMO, Carrie Walsh. As fans of anything and everything pizza here at Sparxoo, we decided to weigh in and give our own opinion on the pizza’s new persona.

Pizza Hut Before After

The Taste-testers

Casey Wilcox, Chief of Staff

Brian Swanick, Sr. Manager of Digital Marketing

Ryan Krail, Art Director

Lauren Dooman, Graphic Designer

Connor Storch, Social Marketing Associate


What’s Delicious

Casey: “It looks and sounds good. It makes me curious to try it.”

Brian: “Honey Sriracha crust sounds amazing and their creative is on par.”

Ryan:  “It certainly keeps with the trends of minimal, flat and scalable.”

Lauren: “The color palette fits the overall brand better than the old logo, although the red should be slightly darker. I especially enjoy how the shape is not a geometrically perfect circle, but rather a shape representing that of a pizza, with the red looking like splattered sauce.”

Connor:  “It’s bold and most importantly, it’s modern! This new Pizza Hut is sophisticated without taking itself too seriously. I love seeing fast-food places polish up their act: the interior of McDonald’s looks more and more like a Starbucks lounge each day, Burger King and Wendy’s are all being transformed, etc. We’re moving away from the days of uncomfortable, cheap experiences and goofy branding.”


What’s Disruptive

Brian: “I bet they could be a little more clever with their campaign. Their Facebook post for the big release, for instance, links directly to a nicely designed page that asks me to order now. Is that all they have to offer? I clicked on something that said the face of pizza is going to change forever…I want more to do after I read through the page. I want to explore pizza through this new lens. Even the picture they used on social was a little meh.”

Ryan: “I think a rebrand was desperately needed in order for Pizza Hut to stay relevant.”

Lauren: “There is a sense of wholeness and that Pizza Hut is the place to choose & customize as you please, which adds value to their current brand.”

Connor: “Their personality on social is really entertaining, but the whole look and feel is giving me @Tacobell dejavu. The same agency behind Taco Bell’s clever campaigns is leading this Pizza Hut effort, and it’s all a little too familiar.”


Time to Digest

Whether you love the movement or not, Pizza Hut’s new pie is getting attention. People are talking about the campaign and we felt compelled to comment. The messaging says it all — they are not the classic, cutesy Pizza Hut you remember back in the day, #PizzaHasChanged. Even more, the video campaign highlights disruption on traditional Italian pizza. This is not your mom and pop’s brand. This is the Flavor of Now.

How To Measure Brand Awareness Online

Quantifying the impact of your marketing efforts is paramount when you need to show your team results and encourage buy-in on future projects. Awareness has historically been a black box for digital marketers, but there are some clever ways to measure brand awareness online without having to purchase expensive tools.

The best part? It’s likely you have access to this data already.

Direct Traffic to Your Homepage

Before you measure this, make sure that you have cleaned up your data and are properly attributing your marketing efforts. If you feel like Google Analytics is in pristine condition, then direct traffic is a great barometer of brand awareness.

We know that many people hardly spend a waking moment without their beloved phone within arm’s reach (slide 37). Our team is the same way. How do we react to hearing about new brands and products? Naturally, we look them up! For most people, if they know the brand or see the URL of a new brand, they will go directly to the site. Understanding this behavior lets us get a decent measure of brand awareness through direct traffic to the homepage.

Measure Brand Awareness in Google Analytics

Advanced Tip: For businesses that only sell their services locally, use geographic segments to filter out the places where you aren’t doing business. This will remove any rogue traffic that comes to your site. For businesses that advertise on TV, segment mobile traffic as well to see who is using their second screen when you have commercials running.

Be Careful: If you are advertising to a target market that frequently travels, you may filter out real customers by limiting your data geographically.

Search Visibility in Google Webmaster Tools

Search visibility is something that I don’t hear enough digital marketers talk about, but I think it is critical to bring up to our clients. Unlike impressions in the advertising world and reach in the social world, increased impressions through search is a real key performance indicator.

I wish SEO was as simple as publishing something and seeing it rank on the first page, but most of the time it’s slow, tiered growth that gets you the results that you want. Everyone can agree, ranking on page 2 or 3 won’t get you the search market share that you want, but it will start to generate impressions in Google Webmaster Tools. When I see a landing page start to generate impressions, my spidey-sense starts tingling. I know I’m onto something. Through some on-site optimization or some effective outreach, I should be able to improve our position. Then those impressions will start to turn into the clicks I want.

To find the visibility of your brand, go into the Search Queries section of Google Webmaster Tools or the Search Engine Optimization section of Google Analytics, if they are linked. Are your impressions rising or falling over the last 3 months? What about the last 12 months?

Measure Brand Awareness with Google Webmaster Tools

Advanced Tip: Filter search queries by your brand’s name or URL in the Queries section. If you’re seeing good results on your content initiatives, then leaving all of the traffic bundled together may look great, but it may be deeper pages that are receiving all of the increased visibility.

But Be Careful: If you’re bidding on your company’s brand terms through Google PPC, you may be disappointed with the click through rate or click volume of your brand terms. That’s ok! If you aggregate these two data sets, you should get the full picture.

Trends in…Google Trends

I have to admit…I rarely pop into Google Trends. There is value in it for digital marketers, especially those working for established brands and companies that have heavy seasonal fluctuations in sales, but I think it leaves a little to be desired for. That said, it does give you the high level view for search terms and entities.

(Red Bull had someone dive from space in October 2012, hence the crazy data.)

Advanced Tip: Use this when you run a competitive analysis. If you know that you have half of the search volume over the last 12 months of your competitor, you can use the real search volume in Google Analytics to project what their volume is (2x).

Be Careful: If you or your competitors have someone dive from space, it may skew the data and your idea of brand awareness. And while Red Bull looks like they dominated Monster Energy because of that, we can’t take into account the cost of their marketing efforts. For all we know, having a smaller share of search and spending less than Red Bull is exactly where they want to be.

Final Thoughts

Measuring brand awareness online doesn’t have to be a black box anymore. While we’re not building a system to take market share from Nielsen and ComScore, we are using real data to accurately measure brand awareness. It takes us one step closer towards understanding just how effective our marketing can be and helps us let our clients know that we’re achieving our goals.