One of the learning examples of how some businesses go through a baptism of fire in addressing a genuine crisis, and the role social media plays in fuelling discussion, online and offline, is the experience of Domino’s Pizza early in 2009.
That experience revolved around the acts of two employees at a franchise store in the US who videoed themselves doing some disgusting things when preparing customers’ pizzas, and uploaded the videos to YouTube.
Domino’s name was all over the embryonic social web in a rapidly-escalating crisis that assaulted their reputation and shook consumer confidence and trust. All that was compounded by the lack of an official voice of Domino’s in the conversations until a belated entry to participation via Twitter, culminating in an apology by the CEO of their US company published on YouTube (that video is no longer public as Domino’s has marked it as private, for a reason I’m at a real loss to understand).
There was a financial cost from this event as Domino’s attributed a decline in revenues that year partly due to the effects of this crisis.
A trashed reputation and no trust do have a real and negative financial impact.
What a difference three short years makes.
Take a look at this enlightening presentation at LeWeb in Paris this morning by Ramon de Leon, the marketing mind of six Domino’s Pizza stores in Chicago (ie, not representing Domino’s the corporation).
(If you don’t see the video embedded above, watch it at YouTube.)
Ramon is the best example I’ve seen that represents the key to a company genuinely overcoming the obstacles to becoming a social business – the attitude, belief, energy and sheer passion of individuals who will change their worlds.
It’s people like Ramon who can make a company like Domino’s Pizza become a credible example of a social business.