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…]

Social Media Case Study: Even those with integrity can be banned

I’ve been holding off writing this post for some time partly because I because I didn’t want my emotion coming through in the post.  I was truly hurt when I realized I was banned from a Mom site (which will remain nameless to protect the truly innocent), which, by the way, is an amazing site that caters to moms — working from home, professionals, stay-at-home moms –> a truly engaged community that readily contributes and share experiences with each other. It’s only now that I feel comfortable writing this because I want to portray a very pragmatic view of the incident that happened and provide a viewpoint that we all could learn from. It taught me a valuable lesson about the internet and some of the dangers of the social web.

It’s not worth rehashing the incident in detail. Suffice it to say, I feel I conducted myself with the utmost integrity but the situations were misinterpreted, and misconstrued. And although I rationalized and effectively (or so I thought) defended my position, it was apparent that this site  was unwilling to listen to explanation. I even had a friend and manager –> someone of  authority and status, vouch for me and help clarify the situation. But to no avail.

It’s quite defeating when I make repeated attempts to access the site and the following text is  on my screen: “Hessie Jones, you have been banned from (xxx site)”.  To this day I don’t know what went wrong. Anyone that knows me knows that I am someone of integrity and would never do anything purposely to manipulate a situation. My husband says I suffer from “everyone-needs-to-like-me syndrome” and  I will try incessantly to justify why I should be liked.

But now that I have some clarity, and less bitterness towards the situation I have come to realize that if I were in their shoes, I probably have done the same thing.  I’ve also come to realize that a “keyboard” that unites individuals across the social space cannot and will not ever really be substituted for face-to-face contact. Relationships can begin over the net but ultimately every one is a faceless, nameless entity. Who you are is ultimately determined by what do and and what you type onto your keyboard. We do not have the benefit of looking someone in the eye, or conversing with them face-to-face. We are unwilling to totally submit and trust individuals whom we haven’t formally met. In my case, the site was unwilling to give me the benefit of the doubt.

That’s why what you do and what you say can ultimately be held against you if you’re not careful. I would love to be asked back to the fold and start connecting again. Maybe this time I’ll buy lunch:)

Twitter Aggregated: Commands, Best Practices, Strategies and’s all here…hopefully

I am in the midst of providing indepth training for a client on Twitter. This is a “Get Started Version”. I’ve spent the last 4 hours researching blogs and document sites to provide me with this information. Here’s what I’ve come up with. If you have more info that’s relevant to newbies, please let me know and I’ll add it to this blog post.


Getting Started:

1)    Remember to create your profile in Settings:
•    Make sure your profile is complete. People decide to follow you based on the richness of your profile.
•    Make sure you upload a picture. It’s always nice to know who you’re connecting with.
•    Add a website URL  or better yet a blog or destination where you can invite conversation.

2)    Who to follow:
•    Use to target the users. This will depend on the account you created and the objective for the account. If it is to sell your product, then target people talking about your company, or products that your company offers.
•    Follow your friends first. Then look at their string of followers to determine whom you should follow.
•    Use to determine the top tweeps to follow — these are the influential voices in the twittersphere.

3)    What do I tweet?
•    Listen First: figure out what people are saying. Is there anything of value you can add? If so chime in.
•    Always provide value: is there information that you have first hand that you think would benefit others? Provide the link and let others know.
•    Emphasize another person’s tweet: if you think it’s important, then RT (retweet). This not only makes the other person appreciate that you’ve recognized their contribution, it also opens you up to further followers.
•    Promote your programs ONLY once you’ve created credibility: This is OK to do once in a while. If others see you have contributed valuable content, then the more likely they will come to your site.

4)    Tweeting long URLS: Since you’re constrained to only 140 characters, many times you need to use tinyURLS or similar functions to truncate your destination URL.  You can use your client Tweetdeck to shorten URLs before you post. It gives you more room to add some commentary to your post.

The DOs and DON’Ts:



Potential Executions:

  1. Customer Service: Anyone who has customers – B2C, B2B can use Twitter to quickly listen and respond to customer feedback before problems escalate or to activate brand ambassadors…
  2. Crisis Management: Using Twitter for Crisis Communications is much about preventing an isolated issue from becoming a full-blown crisis as it is about communicating to the public once a crisis has hit. Twitter is a fast way to respond and maintain an open channel.
  3. Corporate Reputation Management: Twitter offers an outlet for your brand’s personality and humanity. A Twitter handle is created to share the brand personality from real-live people behind the messages being Tweeted. It’s easy to see what others are saying about your brand and the topics of interest and create a strong presence within those conversations.
  4. Event Activation: The real-time ability to connect with others and share experiences makes Twitter a great platform for individuals, or companies to use during a major event. Live-Tweeting an event can be used to create a completely new channel of conversation and a way to enhance the physical experience of the event. Combining Twitter with blogs, video and other social media efforts provides more ways to interact with the content and experience you’re creating
  5. Product Promotion and Sales – A successful sales and promotion plan is based on identifying your audience, providing useful content, and being prepared to engage in the conversation. When done right, your followers will become loyal, and also advocates for your brand and your promotions.
  6. Issue Advocacy – Twitter’s ability to connect people with similar interests can be harnessed for the greater social good with non-profits and issue advocacy organizations creating a community and providing useful information to those they serve, volunteers, donors and other supporters.


From the web:

•    D username: sends a private message to a specific individual
•    @username: sends a public message to a specific individual; this message will archive in their replies tab, and be visible on your profile page
•    RT username: retweets content from another username. Use this function to amplify a specific message from someone you’re following.

From your Phone:

•    ON: turns phone notifications on
•    OFF: turns phone notifications off
•    STOP, QUIT: stops all messages to your device immediately
•    FOLLOW username: turns on notifications for a specific individual
•    LEAVE username: turns off notifications for a specific individual
•    D username: sends a private message to a specific individual
•    @username: sends a public message to a specific individual; this message will archive in their replies tab, and be visible on your profile page
•    WHOIS username: returns bio info for a Twitter member
•    GET username: returns the last update from a specific individual
•    FAVE username: marks the last update of a user as a favorite
•    TRACK word: returns updates from the Twitter community containing the tracked word
•    TRACKING: returns a list of words you’re tracking
•    UNTRACK word: stops tracking a word
•    UNTRACK all: stops tracking all words
•    INVITE 4155225678: invites a friend via SMS/text message to join Twitter
•    STATS: returns statistics

Essential Twitter Tools:

1) is the most popular client, using adobe air technology. Leave this on your desktop, instead of going to browser. Also these clients may be more accurate in seeing who’s replying to you. Through Twitdeck, you will be able to see four columns (or less) based on your preference:
–    posts from ALL friends
–    @ replies
–    favourites
–    Twitscoop ie Buzz trends on Twitter
–    Direct messages

2)    Search: Use
to see who’s talking about you, your brand, or a topic you’re interested in. Sign into tweetscan so you can can create searches by keyword and have the ALERTS sent to your email box, similar to Google Alerts. You can dictate frequency as well

searches Twitter by keyword. Initially, this was summize.

**For people who talk about your brand, it’s important to 1) follow them  2) respond to them on a timely basis

3)    Tagging Content: You can start to use the hashag “#” to add metadata around any tweet. This becomes more important as we rate and tag content. You can see the aggregated data on . Here’s an example of #myfirstjob

4)    Alerts: Often, people will blog about the conversations that happen in twitter, the conversation shifts back to blogs. As a result, I setup Google Alerts for the phrase @hessiej or any specific keywords.

5)    Paste the Twitter Badge on your Site: — use a flash or html version of your twitter handle and post it to your website. Use it to aggregate traffic to your twitter page for e.g. dealing customer service issues real-time. Be careful — be ready to handle an inordinate amount of traffic.

6)    To specifically target users and categories, use . Twellow is a site which takes the geographical information and bio information from your Twitter account and uses it to categorize your profile. One of the great things about Twellow is it allows you to find people with similar interests who you can follow and interact with.

Enhanced Services:

1)    To take Twitter UP a NOTCH: Power Twitter :
Download the Firefox version. Here are the features:

-search – not on original twitter
-search scoped to a specific user
-status history peeking on mouseover
-Facebook status updates – as long as you’re logged in, it provides friends’ updates shown as status’ on Twitter
-inline YouTube, Flickr, and TwitPic – instead of URL, shows full pics, video which you can play inline.
-url expansion – allows you to see actual topic as opposed to greeked URL.
-url translation to page titles
-open web update (news feed) mapping

2)    View the latest tweets of upcoming trends on Twitter through Updates fall from the top of the page in near real time. Unlike other Sites, this only tracks trends. The trends are listed on the left hand side of the page. Click on one to view the relevant tweets.

3)    Get the latest stats on the Top “Tweeps”,  Twitter Apps, Top Twitter Topics and Trends from

4)    FAVRD: most favourited tweets on Twitter. Search by keyword and see who else has favoured a particular tweet to identify like-minded contacts.

5)    See what’s hot right now on Twitter: is a trendcasting service that aggregates the top topics on Twitter and presents them in a visually rich tag cloud. You can hover over each cloud to see a pop-up overview of the discussions around the topic or click through to dive deeper into the analytics of the conversation volume and duration and also participate directly. TwitScoop provides the ability to search keywords and usernames to analyze the dialogue and frequency behind them.. See it also on your client: Tweetdeck.

6) FIND TWITTER Influencers and level of activity: Provides an interactive chart that chronicles the quantity of Twitter followers for any given username. The results are viewable by week, month, and quarter and the service will also predict the future volume of followers based on the average growth/loss over time. The chart is embeddable as a widget on any profile, blog, or Web site.

7)    Share your photos on Twitter through

8)    Twitterific A compact client that publishes tweets, shows unread tweets, has easy access to profile pages, shows either public or friend timeline, and more. This is a downloadable widget.

9)    Aggregation: puts all of our RSS content onto one page, making it easy to see from one glance (rather than going to different properties) and you can even reply from friendfeed to different tools. It’s smarter to organize around people, rather than tools. Add your bookmarks, facebook, myspace, and twitterupdates all in one interface.

10)    Measure the power of a user’s profile through . Just type in your username and get graded. The score is calculated as a percentlile of @users that have been graded. This is based on the number of followers you have, the power of the followers, the power of your updates, the completeness of your profile. Also use Grader to find the Twitter Elites — the top in your location and the Top Tweeps overall. Note, having an Elite follow you helps increase your ranking.

Please reference this link for other Twitter tools. It’s from

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