Fight viral with viral: A case study of Domino’s Pizza’s crisis communication strategies. Case Studies in Strategic Communication, 1, article 6. A Case Study of Domino’s Pizza’s Crisis Social media corporate case studies Strategies Cory L.
What makes this story so compelling is the social media aspect of both the crisis itself and the strategy for managing the crisis. Public relations practitioners and other communication executives are struggling to craft messages and maintain control of the flow of messages within this dynamic landscape. Ad Age Blogs, recounts in an online article how this incident began. Page Society is a professional organization for executives in the public relations and communication industries. Given the nature of crises, these practices will unfold and evolve differently within each situation. Situational Crisis Communication Theory as an explanation for how organizations select a crisis response strategy. Ideally, the strategy chosen will be aligned with the best practices and principles articulated above and will follow the four step process.
This first Page principle—Tell the truth—begs a series of questions about whose truth needs to be told and about what in particular. Where in cyber and virtual spaces does an organization tell the truth and with what social medium or platform? Domino’s has been lambasted for a lack of social media presence. Companies that fail to integrate their marketing efforts with their online crisis response plans before a crisis hits are letting their antagonists have free reign. The first message acknowledging the crisis was uploaded onto the corporate website on the day after the offending videos had been posted, but the message hardly yielded any hits.
Domino’s did not reach its most popular audience through this social medium. We didn’t want to just jump in without a strategy. We wanted to do it right. So the irony for us was that we have a plan and we were going to implement it only a week later, so we ended up having to jump in a crisis, which was the opposite of how we wanted to do it. He thanked the online community for bringing the issue to his attention. He separated the company from wrongdoers and announced their prosecution.
Page advocated for public relations practitioners to tell the truth, a laudable goal to aspire to, but nonetheless one that is increasingly challenging in today’s digital era. These attributions, in turn, influence the strategy that an organization will use to lessen the damaging effects. The reality of crisis communication today is complex and contradictory. The speed at which consumers generate information about organizations is surpassing the speed by which public relations practitioners can monitor and verify the validity of such content, in order to respond before, during, and after a crisis incident.
How new principles and best practices need to be developed to determine what messages or images from which stakeholder groups will tip towards a crisis. As organizations grapple with these new directions, employees and consumers will need to learn how to accept uncertainty and ambiguity, and remain calm, patient and good humored. What impact does social media have on public relations practices, particularly crisis communications and reputation management? How significant is it for organizations today to monitor content on social media sites, including hash tags and other signs of internal and external dialogue? How should crisis communications preparedness plans address the proliferation of social media outlets? From the perspective of crisis communicators concerned with social media, what else could Domino’s have done or said to prove with action that its key messages are sincere? What other messages could Domino’s have delivered?
What other types of traditional media and social media could Domino’s have used to reach its stakeholders? What other challenges do you think that PR practitioners, marketers, or corporate communicators could have in telling the truth in the digital age? How important is speed of response rate in a digital world, particularly when an organization is facing a crisis situation? Are there any other conclusions that you can draw from this incident?