Lessons From the Domino’s Pizza Fiasco

Like the majority of the more than half-million people who have viewed the Domino’s Pizza video that’s been circulating the web, I was totally grossed out during and after I watched this showcase of employee misconduct at its worst. My fears about what could happen behind the scenes at restaurants had been realized, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

However, consumer gross-out and probably a few felony charges for the employees in the video aren’t the only thing at stake here. Also on the line is a brand, Domino’s, which thus far has enjoyed a solid reputation among consumers. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a Domino’s commercial on TV or a Domino’s delivery car rolling though my neighborhood.

Overall, I’ve been impressed by how Domino’s has tackled this catastrophic issue. They’ve spent the last few days wrestling their brand from destruction by issuing stern statements and press releases, fielding interview requests, posting video responses on YouTube, and establishing an account on Twitter that speaks directly to this crisis (among other things). I think this response and the incident in general has within it several worthwhile examples that small and mid-sized businesses can learn from as we all get used to navigating the world of social media. Here are a few thoughts:

* Recognize the power of social media : The Groundswell is real. Hundreds of millions of people across the globe are engaged in social media every second of the day, and this interaction will only continue. It’s important that everyone recognize the power of social media, and the people who participate in it. After all, it was the online community that brought the Domino’s employee video to the forefront. And, if you aren’t already engaged in social media in some way, now might be a good time for you to jump in.

* Monitor the web : Do you know your Webutation? If not, now’s the time to find out. Monitor what’s being said about you and your brand in the social media realm through vehicles like Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and online in general. The best part about online monitoring is that you don’t need a large budget to begin your monitoring efforts. Start off using free tools like Google or Yahoo! alerts and checking vehicles like search.twitter.com for key words connected to you or your company.

* Be Responsive : If you do find inaccuracies about your company online, swiftly respond using the appropriate channels. Like Domino’s, your response mechanisms can range from media and public relations, to posting on social media sites, to using your Poker QQ Online website, or using an integrated strategy. Your response mechanisms will depend on the severity of the issue. All-in-all, it’s best to get a grasp on the situation before it spreads like wildfire.

* Education is key : If you haven’t already done so, invest in social media education for you and your employees. In today’s environment, even having basic knowledge of this new landscape can be beneficial to your organization’s growth and vitality. If you don’t have a budget to confer with an expert, follow blogs on the subject, find online presentations/websites/articles, or take a trip to your local library and check out a few books on the subject. It also might be beneficial to establish social media procedures for your organization that speak to how the medium will be used, employee participation, crisis response, etc.

These are just a few basic takeaways from the Domino’s case. As this story continues to play out, I’m sure that there will be more lessons that we all can and will benefit from.

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