The ‘Dominos’ Effect: Pay Attention to your Customers, A View from the Brand Perspective

This is a story about a brand journey in social media. It is about a highly visible brand whose experience within the social media space had a tremendous impact to consumer perception about their brand, their operations, and ultimately revenue.

Dominos Pizza. This is an interesting social media example because of the strong media coverage that resulted from the events that have preceded Dominos in the last year. Chris Brandon of Dominos Pizza is here today to give us his company’s view and how it has changed the way they do business.

Q: Welcome Chris! Could you please tell us about your role within Dominos?

CB: Hi…appreciate the opportunity to talk with you guys.  My role within Domino’s, among some other event-related responsibilities, is management of our entire PR effort – including consumer PR, media relations, social media, local outreach, etc.  The only facets of PR that I am less involved with are investor relations, and for the most part crisis communications.  We have people on separate teams that are full-time dedicated to that.

Q: Now let’s take you back a few years to 2008! Prior to the boom in social media
What did Dominos do to initiate engagement with its consumers?  Either online or offline?

CB: We have been engaged with customers through social media for about a year and a half now…certainly our new pizza launch has taken things up a notch – as we are using social media more so than ever before – but we have been active in the spectrum for about a year.  We were on Twitter, on Facebook, monitoring blogs, etc.  Much of that led to hearing what customers were saying about our pizza, and realizing there was room for improvements – which is exactly what we eventually did!

Q: In 2008, how would you have rated yourself as a Marketing Company in terms of audience engagement? 1 being poor vs. 5 being strong

CB: A rating like that is difficult to say…but we have always been in tune with what our consumers have had to say – as recently demonstrated by our “thanking” them for inspiring us to continue to improve, and by how we communicated our new pizza launch.  We have only gotten better.  Social media has helped that, as we can communicate with them directly in ways that were not available before.

Q: Let’s take you back to spring 2009 when a video appeared in Youtube: revealing a Domino’s employee in a NC franchise assembling sandwiches and inappropriately handling ingredients before putting these same ingredients on the bread. It didn’t take long for that video to go VIRAL and soon that video was encroaching on one million plus views.

Tell me about what was happening within Dominos at that time? What was the immediate reaction? [Read more…]

DIYSEO – INFOGRAPHIC: Where Will Marketing Be in 3 Years?

I absolutely love infographics and when I saw this post on DIYSEO it was bang on in depicting how marketer mindsets have to change.

DIYSEO – INFOGRAPHIC: Ice Cream Social

The Power of community

This is an old post I had done way back in April 2008. It solidifed why I am where I am today. I sent it to Danny Brown, whose collecting personal social media stories.

Social Networking is a phenonmenon that has gained incredible strength and continues to flourish. It has baffled advertisers and businesses as the next generation of marketing is trying to learn how to tap into users in this space.  A significant shift has resulted where marketers realize that traditional advertising on the web is slowly becoming obsolete and appealing to target groups as an advertiser in this space seems to be less effective than attempting to influence the influencers. We’ve always seemingly put trust in the establishment to give us information on certain historical facts, best products, top destinations, hottest jobs and optimal solutions to problems. But the emergence of Web 2.0 has elevated the power of community and hundreds of social networking sites have erupted to validate its authority. The establishment is slowly feeling the impact of this move.

I never really bought into community until a few years back. Ironically, I managed the launch of Yahoo! Answers in Canada, one of the few social search products in this market.  Its premise was to leverage community to provide valuable information based on experience –> something algorithmic search could not provide. Unlike other social search products, Answers does not rely on expert advice from pundits in their fields but the common person, whose life experiences provides the source of answers to many questions.

The turning point for me came when I was attending a Search Summit in the UK, working with other international product and marketing people who were also launching Answers in their respective regions. I received an email from a friend who informed me that my former VP’s daughter had passed away from Leukemia, something she’d been battling for 6 years. She was only 10 years old.  I wanted to immediately reach out to her and give her some comfort for her loss and was reminded of a poem that my Mom had shown me sometime back. I emailed my Mom and asked her about it but, while she remembered the poem, she didn’t know where to find it. I asked the rest of my family if they knew about it. But the response was same. So, I searched for the poem online not really knowing the author or any of the lines — just the context. I did this for some time with no luck. So I gave Yahoo! Answers a go and I sent my question into the unknown abyss of the Answers Community, skeptical of what I would receive.  It took awhile, as I expected it should since I was looking for a needle in a haystack. The response came 9 days later.  And it made me cry.  I didn’t realize that someone out there had the answer. When I looked to established tools and systems for answers to my questions, they didn’t have any. I’m telling you that social networking is here to stay.  The tools out there are making it easier for users to create their own content, build and engage in community.  Businesses have to figure out how to maneuver themselves in this tightly-knit environment if they are to succeed.

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