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Dunkin' Donuts brews up strong social response to Boston bombings

Sharon Gaudin | May 2, 2013
When Dunkin' Donuts executives were deciding how to respond on Twitter and Facebook to the Boston Marathon bombings, they acted like what they are - members of a grieving Boston community.

And a crisis management plan is exactly what Dunkin' Donuts relied on.

"Our policies are detailed and situation-focused, but the key theme is that you must have a cross-functional task force of subject matter experts," said Gioglio. "Have it outlined in your plan who needs to be involved and approve the appropriate course of action during a sensitive situation."

She added that the company's crisis management team includes workers from different departments. During a major crisis, an even wider group is gathered to offer counsel.

"It's important to hear different opinions and determine if and what type of response is appropriate," said Gioglio. "This is important because all external-facing communications should be consistent, yet personalized for the channels they're going out on."

She noted that no employees or restaurants were physically harmed by the bombings.

"We put a considerable amount of thought into our Facebook post and tweet, and are proud that it came from the heart, as we were experiencing these tragic events with the Boston community," said Gioglio. "We felt that it was important to keep our post simple and heartfelt out of respect for our community."

She also pointed out that immediately after the bombings, the company immediately stopped all planned social media communications.

With people focused on sharing stories and their support for those impacted by the bombings, Dunkin' wanted to put all national campaigns on hold and show their respect with social media silence.

Gioglio said there's nothing she wishes they had done differently.

"When posting, we expected to see a range of responses to our posts," she said.

"We reviewed all of the responses carefully and took it as a learning opportunity to see how our consumers wanted our brand to act and offer support in these situations. Overall, we believe the recommendations and responses from our social media community were in line with the actions we took."

 

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