Pizza Nova: Always About Quality

Feb 10, 2014 | Branding Strategies, Sticky Brands

Quality is a brand attribute many companies lay claim to, and hold up as a core value. But from the customers’ vantage point they don’t see the difference. Quality is a hard attribute to market, but when done right it’s powerful.

Pizza Nova defines quality as not only a core differentiator for their brand, but a core value. You can taste the difference in their products, experience it in their service, and observe it in their business model.

Pizza Nova is a regional pizza chain representing over 130 locations in Southern Ontario. Domenic Primucci, President of Pizza Nova explains, “Our success is directly attributed to our commitment to the quality of our products, and to the incredible team of people that represent Pizza Nova. Together, we pride ourselves on the simple fact that we deliver quality and our customers can taste the difference.”

Quality steeped in tradition

Pizza Nova was founded in 1963 by Domenic’s Father, Sam, and uncles, Mike, Joe and Vince. They started out as a single location pizzeria.

In the early 60’s pizza was a relatively new concept. The Primuccis worked hard to introduce their market to pizza, and created an experience that brought customers back again-and-again.

Pizza has grown from a novelty into a commodity. You can buy a pizza virtually anywhere today: pizza chains, grocery stores, restaurants, pubs, you name it. But Pizza Nova’s heritage radiates throughout the brand, and helps differentiate them from the herd. The family’s Italian roots influence their recipes and their approach to pizza, and their commitment to service has carried with them for over fifty years.

Pizza Nova’s heritage shapes their brand in three ways:

  1. Quality. Above all else, they pride themselves on delivering quality products that are premium to other options in their category.
  2. Italian-style. You can get a pizza anywhere, but Pizza Nova’s niche is staying true to an Italian-style pizza and they use ingredients that fit the flavor profile.
  3. Experience. The people are as integral as the product. Customers are loyal to both the product and the people serving them.

Defining “quality”

The problem with the word “quality” is its unfocused. What aspect of quality does your brand focus on?

Domenic explains, “We do not take our product lightly. Let me put it this way. When you construct a building there is a foundation. Our foundation is our product, and the foundation of our product, pizza, is dough, sauce and cheese. Those are the three mainstays of the pizza, and then everyone customizes it with the toppings they want. But our dough, sauce and cheese have to be the strongest they possibly can. And we build a strong base — a strong foundation.”

Domenic is clear on where the quality starts: dough, sauce and cheese. The foundation sets the standard for their brand, and how they approach all other aspects of the business. Domenic continues, “We want to ensure that it’s a good quality product, because our customers are loyal and understand that anything we bring out is going to be a great product.”

But Pizza Nova is also pragmatic. Quality is shaped by a clear understanding of who they are and what they do. When selecting and evaluating new products they look to three criteria:

  • Is it better than what they’re currently using?
  • Is it at the right price point? Pizza Nova has a defined niche and target market with clear price expectations.
  • Is it consistent? With over 130 locations, Pizza Nova works to create a consistent experience across all of their establishments.

Create quality feedback loops

Do your customers value the quality of your products and services?

That’s an important question, and many companies forget to ask it. Pizza Nova continually evaluates and improves their brand by listening to their customers.

Pizza Nova has created a feedback loop to ensure they’re performing at peak potential. Domenic explains, “We have a Customer Courtesy Call program where we try to call a lot of our first time customers. We try to call them back the next night. When we call we don’t get into a big long survey. All we say is, ‘This is Pizza Nova calling, and we’d like to know how your pizza was last night?’ That’s all we ask.”

The call back program is very powerful. Customers are shocked to receive the call, because rarely do companies ever follow up to see how they did. The customers are open, and share their impressions. And it gives Pizza Nova an opportunity to hear directly from their customers, measure their performance, and respond if there are any issues.

The program is also an incredible branding tool. The calls reinforce the brand experience, and demonstrate that Pizza Nova really does care. Quality is not just a marketing pitch. It’s the foundation of their products, and they follow through with their actions.

Live it, breathe it, own it

Quality is a core ingredient in Pizza Nova’s brand. It’s not marketing hype like, “Quality is Job 1.” It’s part of who they are, and how they run their business.

Pizza Nova has grown steadily for over 50 years, and have a very loyal customer base. Their staff and franchisees understand the values of the brand, and their customers understand it and choose them first.

At their core, companies with sticky brands understand what makes them unique. And they live it, breathe and own it, because that’s what makes them remarkable.

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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