I am one of the last folks you will find crying crocodile tears over PR crises in big corporations; that’s because usually it seems to be a result of something dangerous or unethical they’ve been hiding. But I do acknowledge the difference between sabotage and corruption. A very big difference.
The YouTube video of Domino’s employees tampering with the sanitation of the food went viral this week, and my first reaction was simply to think, “Whoa, Domino’s is screwed.”
In this day and age anyone can use social media for good or for ill. Ill is exemplified by the recent Domino’s incident, when two immature – that’s the right word -- employees (they are in their 30s) manufactured an image of the food chain knowingly serving contaminated food. Once a visual image of something is out there, it is very hard to correct or change.
I keep thinking about the movie “Doubt” where Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character used the idea of letting feathers out of a pillow, and then being asked to put them all back in once they have been scattered by the wind. All the intention in the world to undo the deed is challenged severely by the reality of the consequential damage.
But then here comes Domino’s. Heck if they didn’t turn it all on its head by “responding at the flashpoint” and, my favorite analysis, “reinstituting the trust where it was lost.” The company went to YouTube themselves and outlined its response to the crisis and its expectations about change going forward.
The directness and swift action of the company was impressive. And their refusal to let a couple of goofballs have the upper hand is pretty cool. After firing the employees, the company even issued warrants for their arrests on food tampering charges. Going on the Internet, speaking directly to the consumer about what the problem was and how the company is addressing it both now and in the future – that’s about as straightforward as it gets.
I may still not be in the mood for delivery pizza for a while. Just sayin’.