Learning From Domino’s: Why Monitoring Your Brand Is More Important Now Than Ever

If you need a frame of reference as to how bad the now infamous Domino’s video has been to the brand, all you need to do is enter “Domino’s” in a Google search query and marvel at the front page.

With the exception of the corporate site taking the first slot in natural search, nearly every other result has a reference to their former employees and what they did to the food.

As a fan of the brand, this is tremendously discouraging, as I believe Domino’s and their agencies clearly understand the digital user experience. Their pizza tracker, I’ll argue, changed the face of purchasing food online with not only a slick ordering system in place but a level of personalization that left people completely satisfied with the experience and competitors scrambling to match it.

Furthermore, Domino’s’ addition of including the names of the employees baking, boxing, and delivering their food to you throughout the pizza tracking experience is such a simple yet brilliant stroke of genius that the irony of how far they fell with their current debacle is almost too painful to discuss.

You see, by personalizing the Pizza tracking experience, Domino’s gave me a further reason to care. This wasn’t about some random blue shirt throwing my pie in the oven. This was Tim! And even though I couldn’t pick Tim out of a line up, it didn’t matter because with Tim’s name appended to the pizza tracker, Domino’s gave me someone to hold accountable if my pizza wasn’t good.

So where was the accountability in the days after the incident broke? Domino’s was quick to release a Youtube video featuring Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s USA apologizing profusely for the disgusting acts of the two former employees but general consensus is he didn’t do enough, opting to read a statement to the camera, losing the emotional connection I’m sure he was hoping for. Additionally, his apology was sans any form of contact information. Is it reasonable to think that the President of a global franchise could respond to thousands of concerned patrons through a personal email account? Probably not, but he could’ve still used his video spot (and still can by the way) to direct them to a person, group or organization to help provide answers.

Finally, I’m still stunned that there has been no online search or display bought via contextual networks to help mitigate the impact of the videos and conversations surrounding them in addition to educating consumers on the steps Domino’s is taking to ensure incidents like this never happen again. While I credit Domino’s for acknowledging the events on their homepage, as well as opening a line to their audience via twitter – the tactic may not be working as they’ve only accrued 840 followers on the microblogging site. One suggestion I would have for Mr. Doyle is to activate those 165,000 employees of yours to take action and not let the 2 who damaged your brand continue to do so.

It is without saying that your employees help define your company. Any agency executive or brand manager who used this incident as water cooler talk should take notice and know that what happened to Domino’s could happen to you if you don’t manage and monitor the conversations surrounding your brand incessantly. Your company and subsequently your agencies may get digital, but social media is a whole new ball game and one that takes dedicated resources to ensure that your company’s reputation stays in tact through times of crisis.

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One comment

  1. Levick · April 21, 2009

    Smart companies absolutely must vigilantly monitor their brand online, and the best place to do so is in the social media space. Doing so can serve as an effective early warning system of developing reputational crises, allowing a company to be prepared to deliver a timely response. When a crisis erupts online, we counsel clients that their response time is measured in minutes, not hours. Your crisis team needs to meet, develop initial – and authentic – response messages, and communicate to stakeholders before the online masses are able to set the tone. The unprecedented speed with which information now travels – in Domino’s case hundreds of thousands of potential customers viewed a devastatingly brand-damaging video before the company was able to respond – means that your communications team must be prepared to respond in real time. Read more at Bulletproof Blog: http://www.bulletproofblog.com/2009/04/17/tylonel-enron-dominos-the-cheese-moves-again/

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