Domino’s Response Offers Lessons in Crisis Management
The online hubbub and furor caused by two Domino’s employees in Conover, N.C., last week reached stratospheric levels, as the use of social media has become both the source of evil and good. It started when the two employees posted YouTube videos of themselves engaging in a number of public health law violations: putting cheese in the nose, blowing mucous on a sandwich and putting a sponge, used to wash dishes, between the buttocks. The videos went viral online, viewed by millions of people. They were identified by YouTube viewers, who alerted Domino’s officials. The pranksters were promptly arrested. Domino’s, a pizza chain based in Ann Arbor, Mich., faced a crisis not of its own making, but its response was telling of how to manage such crises today. Already, a new national study conducted by HCD Research using its Media Curves Web site found 65% of respondents who would previously visit or order Domino’s Pizza were less likely to do so after viewing the offending video. Domino’s responded too late, about 48 hours, according to AdAge, a trade publication. The videos were posted on Monday night; a response didn’t come from the company until Wednesday. While its internal team worked quickly to form a strategy on Tuesday, its initial response was trying not to, since it didn’t want to alert more people to the story. It didn’t issue a formal press release to mainstream press. The company decided against hiring an external crisis team or to bring in its creative agency. It did eventually open a Twitter account to deal with consumer inquiries. Then, it was decided that making a YouTube apology would have to be necessary to quell the intensifying public relations nightmare that played out in various social media sites. In the video, Patrick Doyle, president of Domino’s Pizza, says the store where the videos were shot has been closed and sanitized, and that the company will be conducting a review of hiring...
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