On April 13th the now infamous video got put up on Youtube by the people responsible, it was then removed and re-posted by another user who says that they “re-uploaded because these people deserve to be fired”.
It spread like wildfire through social media like Twitter and other channels and hit the mainstream media shortly after.
Yesterday (15th April) Domino’s put out this statement by the president of the company. Interestingly there is no press release on their website, or link from the homepage, just a response in the same channel it appeared in. The general feeling in the social media space is that whilst it’s good they’ve responded, the response comes across poorly. I think Domino’s choice thus far to keep the response in the social media space is a wise one – not alerting more people than necessary to the situation makes sense in damage limitation terms but the responses in that channel raise the question of how they could have handled it better.
Option 1 Do nothing
Social media commentators have previously said of incidents like the Motrin Moms case, “they should have ignored it” and that it was a “tempest in a teapot”. Back then I think that might have been the right move, the Twittersphere was much smaller then than it is now. I don’t think doing nothing would work in this case – leaving it to get bigger and bigger with no response than apprehending the people responsible.
Option 2 Issue a statement
Domino’s, so far at least, have taken this route – make a statement condemning the actions of those involved, talking up how hard the company works and how sickened the president is by their actions.
Option 3 Make a more meaningful commitment – come out fighting
People are talking about you and to quote Wilde ‘There’s only one thing worse than being talked about’. Seize the opportunity to focus people on what you do right, not what you do wrong. Show video of all the parts of your organisation, working like clockwork, to bring customers reasonably priced freshly prepared and cooked food whilst explaining the situation and what you’re doing to rectify it.
If you’re going to take option 2, learn your lines and look at the camera not off to the side. If you as president of the company can’t manage that, get someone else to do so for you.
Far better to make the sentiments of the statement from the president felt not in empty, insincerely delivered words, but with words AND pictures.
I understand time is of the essence here and a statement of some kind had to be forthcoming pretty quickly but instead of an amateur looking to camera piece in corporate HQ, even some roughly edited footage of things going right, with a voiceover would carry more weight in my opinion. Better still, use that to trail a whole series of videos that you will be putting up to show in detail “How Stuff Works” or “A Day in the life of Domino’s”. I don’t know what the franchisee of the branch in question is doing about it, except dealing with a whole world of hurt, but making a gesture to everyone who patronised that branch in 2009 couldn’t harm his position – come into the store and inspect it for yourself, leave with whatever your last order was for, for free. It’s that or hope your customers don’t watch tv or read newspapers.
Some are vilifying Domino’s for allowing people like this to work for them, just think how it would come across if they changed their hiring policies to exclude anyone with a slightly shady past? There’d be yet more people protesting against Domino’s “refusing to provide jobs to help people get back on their feet”.
No company can predict everything that could go wrong within their organisation but just as companies have ‘Disaster Recovery’ plans for infrastructure related catastrophes it now seems they will need to make public relations disaster recovery plans as well.
Photo credit: Adam Kuban, creative commons, via Flickr