RAZOR BRANDING BLOG: The Domino's Effect

The Domino's Effect

Domino's Pizza is facing a communications crisis of the highest priority.

The quick version of events is as follows:

Two employees made a video in the kitchen of a North Carolina franchise doing really gross things to the food. Then they posted the video on YouTube and it was viewed over one million times before the company found out.

Sales have now been impacted. Domino's has had to spend quite a bit of time and money in damage control. The two employees are being threatened with the prospect of arrest and possibly a lawsuit.

The company demanded that YouTube pull down the offending video. The CEO created a response video. Domino's has created a twitter account to battle the story within the social media space.

Domino's Pizza defends reputation on Twitter after YouTube video shows employees abusing food. by Jessica Shankleman www.Telegraph.co.uk

Domino's Pizza has defended its reputation on Twitter after an employee posted a video on YouTube showing a staff member abusing food at the fast food restaurant.

To read more and see the CEO response video, click here

Could this have all been avoided?

Sure. When we work with brands whether they are regional or national, the first thing we encourage is the creation of a social media policy.

Some of the policies are as simple as "Be Nice." When you think about it, that really covers most issues. Another has been "Don't do anything you wouldn't want to tell your mom about." Unfortunately, these days that doesn't really cover everything.

Most companies, however, have a document that is drafted by legal and very clearly defines exactly what is and is not allowed. All the way down to some subjects that require corporate approval before posting a reply.

No company today can afford to not have a social media section included in their employee handbook. Even if your company isn't online, you can guarantee your employees are.

We learned this lesson a few years ago and in a very painful way. One of our team members at the time had a picture on her My Space page engaged in activity that I am quite certain she would not do in front of her mother (body shots). With a number of churches as clients there was a potential for a very large problem.

Our policy is very simple:

1 - No discussion of clients at all
2 - No trash talking about co-workers
3 - No nudity or blatant profanity

It might be simple but it pretty much covers most circumstances.

How to handle Social Media in the workplace:

1 - Participation Policy - Set up a social media policy and educate everyone on the importance of social media and maintaining an appropriate reputation.

2 - Usage Policy - When can employees go online? Is it considered a work exercise or personal time?

3 - Reputation Monitoring - Who is watching online for mentions of the company and employees in each of these spaces? Domino's problem would have been non-existent if they had noticed the video before one million people viewed it.

If Domino's had followed these simple steps, they could have avoided most of the headache that they have had to face for the past week.

Is your company ready? Do you have a social media policy in place? If not, you need one, today.

Jaci Russo
Sr. Partner
The Russo Group


Steve Hartley said...

While I agree wholeheartedly with your post - in principle - we have to realize that stupid people simply won't abide by the rules. Even the best, most carefully worded Social Media Policies are worthless if an employee "forgets" about them, or simply chooses to ignore them.

That's why #3 in your list is so crucial. And in addition to automated monitoring 24/7, the person getting the monitoring updates must be empowered and required by the company to take immediate steps to address any problems.

Oftentimes, we can't wait while the problem is kicked upstairs or run through legal.

Jaci Russo said...

Coudn't agree more. People will always do things out of either malice or stupidity. At least having the rules prevents the - "I didn't know" defense.

And then the reputation monitoring catches it as soon as it happens.

Still can't figure out how the video was viewed over ONE MILLION times before Domino's found out about. That is dumber than what the employees did.

Joe Paris said...

ANY raising of awareness can be turned to an advantage. Dominoes can ultimately benefit from this unexpected exposure and raised awareness of their brand.

Ok, it may have started off negative, but it doesn't have to end up that way.

Remember the Tylenol ordeal ? The final result there was that all medicines began being packaged more responsibly.

While it is "prudent" to have all manner of rules drawn up and blood-oathed to, that in and of itself guarantees nothing, as has been made all too obvious over and over and yet over again.

And it's going to get worse, not better.

THAT'S WHY # 3 is really the #1 thing companies can do to minimize damage. But with one addition.

The one matter was left out, Jaci, is something I learned from politics : a quick-response team.

If Dominoes had had a QRT already formed, it could have acted quickly and powerfully to this ( or any ) threat to its reputation.

EXAMPLE: Dominoes QRT decides to hold a special nationwide "Quality Pizza" Day ( or some other name ) where they give away, between 2 and 4pm say, slices of their quality Pizza to show folks they are not afraid to put themsleves out there and be judged, not by a couple of kooky employees, but by what they do best : MAKE PIZZA.

The point is: QRTs are WORTH EVERY PENNY. Like fire drills, or any drills, practicing for an eventuality better prepares you to perform !

We love you Jaci ! Thanks and KEEP HAVING FUN OVER THERE !

Post a Comment