Domino’s Part II: “We Still Don’t Get Social Media”

Posted: April 29, 2009 in #dominos, Business, PR, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve talked too much about Pizza Hut & Domino’s and their various Social Media Exploits, I know. But after the Domino’s Debacle and the initial Aftermath, I couldn’t help but gauge how they’ve since handled their digital ventures. We all saw the apology videos…ok not bad, a bit late, but not bad. @dpzinfo was created after the public practically dictated they invoke a legitimate presence…again, not bad, but waaay too late.


So how has dpzinfo handled the pressure? Until yesterday, I would have given him/her a B+. He/she has been fairly responsive to my inquiries and seems to be a viable customer service channel, though, as expected, most responses are as ‘safe’ as they can be, only a few details away from being a ‘no comment.’ Either way, you can see that they’re trying, and for that, I must admit, they were moving in the right direction. The only negative was the endless promotion of the new “breadbowl.” Again, however, a certain amount of shameless product plugging is expected, maybe even warranted, when you’re a brand.

But here’s where they went wrong, in my opinion. In a move that reeks of desperation; in a sour attempt to negate their social media ineptness, as made public by the Domino’s PR Social Media Crisis, Domino’s now allows you to integrate your online order status, or “Pizza Tracker” (which has always seemed a bit…um, shady, perhaps automated & meaningless…at least to me anyway) with your Facebook profile.

Is This Really Neccessary?

My Question – Does ANYONE really give a proclaim to their Facebook ‘Friends’ – half of which they’ve never even met or interacted with – their pizza’s estimated time of arrival, per an automated, poorly constructed, and probably inaccurate, widget? Yes, Facebook is known for offering individuals the ability to broadcast the inane, mundane & TMI to the world, even in that light, this move seems a bit much.

This move practically screams “We Still Don’t Get Social Media.” In fact, all it does is acknowledge that there’s a demographic overlap in those who use Facebook and those who eat pizza and pretty much banks on the hope that some of those individuals will be bored enough to use this app.

And while we’re on the subject…in the words of Julian Matthews “Dear Domino’s Pizza @dpzinfo One wonders why you haven’t claimed @dominos and @dominospizza yet after the fiasco.”

Julian…Spot on!

But what do I know? I’m not an expert, just an observer, an experimenter, a pontificator (man I hate that word). So PLEASE, let me know what you think about this!

  1. I’ll agree with you there. It does smack of people trying to find gold…there’s juts something that looks like it’s been slapped together to make it look like, “See…!…We had this all planned before…!”

    Big problem wiht this ‘feature’ is that if it WAS something that had been concocted before this whole thing began, then I’d be a little wary of the creativity of the team.

    I’m just sayin’…

  2. I completely agree. Dominoes would be better served doing some form of TXT messaging opt in that would allow them to update them the time of arrival and allow them to txt message monthly special offers with a clear opt out. Nobody cares how long until your friends pizza arrives. Dominoes has missed the boat.

    Letting the customers create a fantastic next pizza for their menu would be great. I think sardines and caviar with blue cheese would sell great. 😉

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Domino’s would have been better served if it had done its homework to understand what its customers want/need regarding social media. How much did they invest in this widget when it’s likely few customers will use it? It’s looking like Domino’s will begin throwing anything social media at the wall to cover up their failures.

  4. amymengel says:

    Yes, maybe these moves show that Domino’s doesn’t “get” social media yet, but the reality is that most companies don’t. It’s still early and there are still only a few companies (Dell, Comcast, SouthwestAir) who really are ahead of the curve.

    I think there’s much more that Domino’s could be doing and could have done in response to their crisis, but I think each brand needs to struggle through and figure out social media and how it can work for them.

    Obviously if Domino’s is monitoring they’ll come across blog posts like this (and many others) and maybe realize that using Twitter for outright sales isn’t the best approach. But part of me has to commend them for at least being willing to go out there and experiment with this space.


  5. I have a slightly different response.

    There is still so much that all of us who work in social media, or who work for companies who are trying to gain traction with social media, are trying to get our arms around, that everyone’s stumbling around a bit. There are no shortcuts with social media. When I consult for a company, I have the experience of 7 years of using social media to grow my own brand, and promote my writing career, so I know a lot of the traps and pitfalls and can steer a company fairly well, but I am betting a lot of companies don’t have anyone with true social media experience on board, helping them avoid the mines. So they have to fumble and stumble in a very public way as they get their footing.

    Their reputation was damaged via a social virus, and it shows they take social media seriously enough to jump in and try to navigate the waters. So it’s kind of hard for me to fault them too much.

    I think a lot of companies are flummoxed and are just throwing a bunch of stuff out there to see what’s going to stick. I’m coming from more of a viewpoint that we’re all in this together, and the finer points of best practices are still being sorted out.

    My .02.

  6. I think you’re totally on point & I do give them credit for trying…they’re definitely a step ahead of many other brands. However, at this point, now that there social media presence has been established, they have to realize that it opens the door for more ‘social viruses.’ To just throw ideas out into online media without seriously contemplating consequences just invites more criticism (like this blog post). It’s one thing to demand instantaneous responsiveness on social platforms when the Blogosphere and Twitterverse are up in arms, if only to negate or at least mitigate some of the fall out. But when being proactive…like this Facebook/Domino’s Integration…it doesn’t call for immediacy. Due diligence is just as important with Social/Digital Media endeavors as it is with any proactive marketing strategy. And when that thought process is lacking…and brands are just trying as many things as possible to see “What Sticks” – it just rings of desperation and is kind of insulting to people like you and me who put time, energy, thought, and research into social media tactics. I have no doubt that they’re trying, and I do appreciate that as a consumer. But moves like this one just tell me they’re not trying very hard.

    I see your 2 Cents & Raise You 2 More!

    • Wow…I’m truly honored by the rapid response. And the helpfulness and responsiveness of @dpzinfo is something I commended. My only reccomendation is that, if there’s anything to be learned by the unfortunate videos, it’s that the potential for backlash and negativity in the social and digital realms should be more apparent Launching services while in Beta or devising quick and simple social media applications like the Facebook Pizza Tracker integration do demonstrate that, while you are trying to embrace the medium, the hastiness almost trumps the actual value provided to your consumer base. The focus should be on how you can utilize social media…twitter, facebook, youtube…etc to A) Build your brand’s image & B) Improve Quality or Add Value to your existing services. I’ve been on Facebook since its heyday, and I’m just not sure what the app adds to your brand…that’s all.

      Thanks for your response!

  7. Sarah says:

    While I agree that I already tell my friends enough obnoxious things about myself on Facebook, and that they need a notification about what pizza I ordered as much as I need that 3rd slice, I do applaud Domios for their efforts.

    It’s not easy for traditional brands to commit to social media, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It’s more of a “crawl, walk, run” process, and frankly, it all boils down to who is in charge of their strategy, if they have one at all. The people who strategize the creation of a more aggressive digital footprint are a rare breed. It’s all fine and good for people who use Twitter and Facebook to call themselves “social media experts” and think it’s as easy as flipping a switch to make everyone else as adept as they are. But the people who are actually working these jobs and are responsible for shepherding new initiatives that involve huge profit/loss endeavors have to have a huge variety of skills – both business and creative, traditional and cutting edge – just to be able to be affective trainers and evangelists.

    Having said all this, I COMPLETELY share your frustration over the fact that it does seem like there are some simple and not-scary solutions that companies could employ (especially in this case where it was a reactionary effort), and it is annoying when there seems to be such a disconnect from their audiences/consumers.

    I think, though, given the insane rate of adoption social media has produced over the last year, by this time next year, the landscape will be very different.

    P.S. Your blog is the bomb!

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