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John Graham John Graham , 4/3/2014
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There might be as many answers to the "What's Denny's?" question as there are locations (1,600): some flattering, others less so.

In a failed branding effort 15 years ago, some locations started using "Denny's Diner" signage. Even so, the chain remained simply "Denny's" to most.
Now, Denny's is dusting itself off using revamped menus, updated merchandising .and a new TV campaign with the tagline - "Welcome to America's Diner!" To enhance the authenticity of the 15-second spots, they were shot in Denny's locations, featuring interactions with customers and employees.

  There are several marketing lessons from this:
  1. Words alone don't change customer behavior. Just saying “We’re America's Diner" falls short. For Denny’s to make these words work required linking them to enjoyable experiences. That's what Denny's TV ads hope to accomplish.
  2. It takes a consistent and unified marketing effort to bring about change. Just adding "Diner" to signage in 1997 was both meaningless and doomed for failure.
  3. Be relentless in the pursuit of customers. One of the best examples is Subway. Five years ago, everyone knew the Subway sign (there were about 25,000 of them in the U.S). Today, Subway isn't just better known. Sales are up and far more customers are eating there. Come to think of it, Denny's might be taking a page out of Subway's marketing book.