Wednesday, July 8, 2009

USA feed: Thinking digitally - Online PR Crisis Management. The case of Domino's Pizza

How and why is it important for businesses to engage with the media during a crisis?

Today, when consumer's voice is becoming louder than ever, companies are struggling on the new platform of a so-called "2-way communication". Some of them disregard consumers, remaining silent and therefore generating even more questions. Innevitably, question marks are pushing harder and an answer becomes a "must-do".

Domino's Pizza witnessed earlier this spring a case of communication crisis nobody was ever expecting of. It started online - Youtube and it spread in no time, just because it was an issue of public concern, so that solidarity became one of main drivers.

When you see on the web a video file featuring Domino's Pizza's employees deliberately damaging the food that was presumably going to be sold to a waiting customer, you just become part of it. And guess what? Public reaction was instantaneous, as nobody would like to be in the shoes of that customer. Issues such as: employment procedures at Domino's, quality of served food and delivered service became hot topics on Youtube platform, generating 663 157 views and 6800 comments in just a week-time!

Company reacted within 48 hours from the first video upload. Domino's initial reasoning was that it didn't want to act too hastily and alert more consumers to the situation it was attempting to contain ( It is interesting to mention the fact that the offending video was first posted on, were it was spotted by 2 graduate students at Georgetown University who have identified the location of the offenders using Google map applications. Due to them, Domino’s were alerted about the incident prior to its further viral spread on Youtube.

The story eventually was carried by such outlets as NBC and The New York Times. After 48 hours have passed since Youtube posting, Domino’s decided to take attitude, by posting an official response on same viral channel – Youtube. A 2 minutes speech was offered by Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s USA.

Thus, the drawing line to this story would be: company's reaction posted exclusively on the same platform where the crisis started, in this case: YouTube. Also, the issues of customer service were always hot topics to consumers, furthemore when today companies are becomming more then ever attentive to what consumers are saying about brands. 'Cause remember? It is consumers who shape the brands and not the "company-mother".
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Icesoft on July 9, 2009 at 3:26 PM said...

Great choice by Domino's to publish an official response. If they didn't, I agree with the fact that more questions would have been raised amongst the consumers.

Anonymous said...

A reaction after 48 hours is good,
But one video of a CEO is not enough to avoid a sale disaster.
They had to do a video in the same manner Domino's Pizza's stupid employees did.
An effective contra reaction would help.

Anonymous said...

Domino' Pizza did suffer indeed a sales disaster..I suppose a quicker answer would be even more welcome and would prevent a lot of speculations in advance, as 2 days term in a real-time online communication may mean a lot.
Also, as the CEO mentioned : even though they keep investing a lot in the brand and its corporate policies, a single video can damage considerably something they were working for years!! amazing what effect a public tool can have nowadays on brands..

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