Have you ever considered how you and your brand define corporate social responsibility? Since the idea is new, and not easy to quantify, some companies create nebulous definitions with predictably so-so results. But for real, lasting change to take place, companies have to step up and define corporate social responsibility through their actions. Domino’s pizza did exactly that in 2009. Yes, you may remember this as the Great Booger Scandal. If you google “dominos booger,” you can still see videos of employees boogering it up in the kitchen, picking their noses and rubbing it in the food. The video went viral in less than a day, causing an enormous PR problem for Dominos.
Nobody wants to see that, but there it was. Instead of running from the problem, Domino’s took full responsibility. In a video of his own, CEO Patrick Doyle publicly apologized for the offending employees’ behavior. He also thanked the people who made the video go viral, for bringing attention to a systemic problem. He reiterated that Domino’s took the video very seriously, going so far as to shut down and sanitize the store where the misbehavior took place. Finally, Doyle announced a complete overhaul of Domino’s hiring practices, “to make sure that people like this don’t make it into our stores.”
Domino’s attempts to rehab its image did not stop there. The company hired a social media expert and built a presence on Twitter and Facebook. Customers responded well to the increased outreach. The company shared its new products and began answering customer questions through social media. The new efforts created buzz and led to growth for Domino’s.
The video was a huge hit for Domino’s brand and reputation. But by taking quick action and showing its commitment to transparency, the scandal came to define corporate social responsibility. The public now knows that it takes its commitment to customer satisfaction and well-being seriously.