I’ve heard kids say all sorts of things about what they want to be when they grow up, a doctor, a fireman, a dog walker, even a judge on American Idol, but the owner of a Dairy Queen franchise? In its recent foray into digital marketing, the folks of DQ have launched an online video game, DQ Tycoon, which lets players see what it feels like to beat the clock preparing tasty treats like the Peanut-Buster Parfait. While this might be amusing for a minute or two, as a player in the branding world, I can’t say this digital gig does anything to promote the benefits of a cold and creamy ice cream cone on a hot and dusty day. The purpose of any branding initiative, digital or otherwise, is to support the brand promise.
Digital is cool. Digital is now. Digital can be nifty. But if your digital branding application doesn’t reinforce what it is you want people to think about your brand (DQ ice cream is cold and creamy and just perfect on a hot and dusty day) it’s not going to come across as cool, now, or nifty. It’s just going to sit there like a melting Peanut-Buster Parfait. I like DQ, as do my kids. But, if it wants to use digital tactics in its branding mix, I’d advise Dairy Queen to come up with something in keeping with its brand promise - the customer’s ice cream experience, not the experience of the folks behind the counter.