While we're on the subject of food marketing mattering more than food quality, there was an interesting story in yesterday's Tribune about a guy who won the Chicago Social Media Person of the Year award some months back for... being an unauthorized spokesman for corporate pizza. Ramon DeLeon started as a delivery driver for a Chicago-area Domino's franchisee with six stores, Jim Fisher. Somewhere along the way, he started using Twitter and other social media to project an outsize personality of Domino's pizza-loving and customer service, as when he once responded to a complaint by grabbing the delivery guy who blew it and recording a video on his phone of the two of them, apologizing to the customer personally. (The video is said to have had over a million views.) As you might expect, being an innovator in moving Domino's customer relations into the modern age has had two effects: one, his boss's stores are very successful. And two, Domino's is pretty ticked at both of them for displaying entrepreneurial spirit instead of waiting for directives to come down from on high about how to use social media, sometime in the mid 2020's.
As reporter Kristin Samuelson puts it:
The company's response to inquiries about him is frosty.
"(De Leon) is a creative, colorful, energetic individual," said Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for corporate Domino's. "He is not, however, an employee of Domino's Pizza Inc., and he does not represent the company or our global brand."
Yeah, you don't want somebody muddying your brand by actually appearing to like your pizza and care about making your customers happy. In any case, though typically unappreciated in the corporate drone-hives, DeLeon is something of a hot ticket in social media circles, doing around eight speaking engagements a year at places like Harvard and the Blogworld conference. It's a nice story about a guy in a small business running circles around the big guys and empowering himself; now he needs to take his act and do it for himself... and a better pizza.
Pizza guy who gets it whets appetites on the Internet [Chicago Tribune]