Remember the old commercial imploring parents to ask: “It’s 11 o’clock, do you know where your children are?” Fast forward to the age of social media and the new question is: “It’s on YouTube, do you know what your employees just did?” Such is the pickle that Domino’s is in after two employees earlier this week posted a video online showing an employee preparing a sandwich in less than sanitary conditions, telling the camera that the cheese had just resided in his nose.
The video was pulled from YouTube and Domino’s “eventually” responded to the crisis via Twitter, blog, Web sites, etc. Domino’s President Patrick Doyle posted an apology video on YouTube. Some media outlets criticized the company’s late response — meaning it didn’t respond instantly to the situation. All businesses are now held to a Herculean standard when it comes to response time in the new media space: get word out right away, control the message, make the bad news go away. It appeared that Domino’s did take a wait-and-see attitude at first (meaning in the first few hours). But we’ve all ordered in from restaurants like Domino’s so this particular video hit a nerve and Domino’s should have realized this with a quicker response. It is now on top of the situation, the employees were fired, and when the next social media story hits (any minute now), this story will creep under the radar.
I may be a PR traditionalist, but the video prank story raises for me a more important question that Domino’s needs to address. Employees at nearly every company in the world are the front-line brand ambassadors. If they don’t believe in the company they work for, then the company has a serious problem. These employees have tools at their disposal to ruin a brand or at least temporarily wound it. These two (ex)- Domino’s employees clearly didn’t care about their jobs since they were willing to risk them for a silly prank to get attention online. Why didn’t they care? That’s the question Domino’s needs to address next. In the YouTube video, Domino’s president said it’d be looking into its hiring practices. That’s a good start.
What would you do in Domino’s situation?
– Diane Schwartz