That Branding Thing reader Sean Grace asked a great question in the “comments” section of my previous post. He wrote:
“Matthew, what kinds of things do you think Domino’s can do in the near future to begin to win back the trust of customers? What would work in your opinion?”
I won’t claim to be a PR expert, but I’ll offer a few ideas.
First, I’ll say I like Domino’s response to date. They’ve maintained a tone of customer gratitude and care throughout. The YouTube video featuring CEO David Boyle hits all the right notes. (Though they might have coached him to look a little less shell-shocked and a little more conversational.)
They’ve also been very active on Twitter: visit http://www.Twitter.com/dpzinfo. Most related tweets are very supportive of Domino’s brand and response to this crisis.
As Mr. Boyle notes in the video, the employees in question were fired. (And they’ve since been arrested.) Further, he says, the store in question was shut down and sanitized from top to bottom. He claims Domino’s will re-evaluate its hiring practices, and he notes that auditors are in Domino’s stores as a regular practice.
So, to answer Sean’s question: What else can they do?
For me, the first step is assessment. Domino’s should assess the impact this has had on consumer perceptions. That will help them to measure their response. (I’d guess they’ve already done some form of assessment.) The conservative approach would be to assume significant brand damage, but that could also lead you to an “over-response” that has negative consequences of its own.
The next two steps should happen simultaneously: Consumer outreach and employee outreach. Let’s take consumer outreach first. Domino’s might create a series of videos, enlisting their team members to tell a story of both food safety and pride. They also need to articulate food safety standards and policies. Some certification of their cleanliness, food safety, etc., by an independent, recognized third party also couldn’t hurt.
As far as employee outreach, an internal messaging program should keep all team members informed of the response to this crisis. If Domino’s throws a ton of new policy at this problem, it could have the unintended consequence of creating an air of distrust. If Domino’s truly believes that its policies were strong before this crisis, and they believe in their people, there’s no need to overdo it on knee-jerk policy changes.
What else do you think Domino’s should do? Please add your thoughts to the “comments” section.
About Matthew Fenton: Matthew helps challenger brands to focus, grow and win. Since founding his consultancy, Three Deuce Branding, in 1997, he’s helped hundreds of brands to achieve “brand clarity.” His consulting services and speaking engagements help brands to focus on what matters through positioning, strategy and ideation. Contact Matthew here. He calls Chicago home.
Copyright 2009 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the About Matthew Fenton section.