Social media-caused crises: Dominos shows the possibilities

April 17, 2009

I’m in LA consulting with clients all week but found the story about Dominos and their social media crisis fascinating. If you haven’t been following it two now former employees pulled a prank, posted a video on YouTube, which went viral generating over a million views. Twitter talk went crazy. The damage to the company’s reputation is significant.

What I also find fascinating is how quickly these events are now wrapped into content for conferences and consulting–guess shouldn’t surprise me given this blog. But Ragan Communications quickly integrated the inside story of Dominos response to their Social Media Boot camp program featuring internet communications guru Shel Holtz.

The pace of marketing quickens along with the pace of crisis and the necessary response. I’m feeling too old for this game.

Later Edit to this Post: As is now becoming increasingly typical, once a social-media crisis reaches critical mass (maybe someone can study to see how many YouTube hits or tweets it takes to reach that point) the mainstream media jumps in as well. Here’s the NYT story on the Dominos problem.

The mainstream media, particularly the big nationals like networks and NYT, LAT, etc. still carry the weight that makes their attention almost the definition of a full blown crisis. So, how to prevent that when it all starts with a couple of immature employees doing something they think is funny? Be fast. Be very fast. Even, then, I certainly am not saying all these kinds of crises can be averted.

I noted a few comments about my post about the Ad Age story that suggests these social media crises may not be as significant as some might think. I certainly did not mean to suggest that there is nothing to worry about (Dominos certainly shows that). But it does show that having someone involved in the crisis response who can reasonably assess what is going on, likely impacts, long term impacts, critical audiences impacted, appropriate messaging, etc., is critically important. You can’t respond to every social media attack or rumor run rampant as if the company’s future is at stake. But every eruption has the potential for being that future-challenging event–so knowing how to respond and how far to go requires the best information, judgment and experience. Other than that, be fast.

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2 Responses to “Social media-caused crises: Dominos shows the possibilities”


  1. […] in the presentations of many of us so-called experts in social media and crisis communication. But in a bad way. It was one of the most vivid examples of how companies can be caught flat-footed in a major […]


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