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May 05, 2009

The 10-10-10 Consequences Model

NOTE: crossposted on the ALL THINGS WOM blog

Suzy Welch, business writer, has an intriguing way to quickly analyze the consequences of decisions. When faced with making difficult choices, Suzy will 10-10-10 it. Meaning, she will take a few moments to consider the consequences of a decision that may occur in the next 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years.

Suzy’s 10-10-10 model is a simple (and smart) way to analyze immediate, short-term, and long-term consequences of a decision. Plus, it’s so applicable to making important marketing decisions, especially in today’s online social world.

Except, we need to amp up Suzy’s 10-10-10 thinking to account for how quickly information spreads online. 10 minutes. 10 hours. 10 days. That’s a more workable 10-10-10 consequences model for marketers dealing with issues worthy of explosive online conversation, such as the marketing disaster recently faced by Dominos Pizza.

Because it took Dominos more than 24-hours to respond, the company was singled-out as being uncommunicative and unresponsive to the groundswell of online commentary on twitter and various blogs. Similar slow-reacting critiques have been hurled at Motrin (#motrinmoms) and Amazon (#amazonfail).

Dominos, Motrin, and Amazon all suffered immediate consequences of not making a decision on how to respond within 10 hours of the incidents they faced. The online chatter spiked and to an extent, took on a life of its own. However, these three brands did ultimately respond and the twitter storm receded within 10 days. For Motrin and Amazon, sales haven’t suffered from these missteps. Time will tell if the gross-out video will hurt Dominos sales this quarter.

We are still learning that responding quickly to marketing matters discussed online is vital. Using the10-10-10 rule should be helpful for companies in similar situations faced by Dominos, Motrin, and Amazon.

For example, within the first 10-minutes, a company should acknowledge what is happening. No answers. No explanations. Just an immediate acknowledgement using whatever social media tool a company feels most comfortable using will work. However, within 10-hours, a company should go beyond acknowledging to responding by explaining what happened and what specific actions the company is taking to address the issue in order to reassure people they can trust the company again. If done right and timely, negative consequences will be minimized 10-days after the initial flare up.

Is responding within 10-minutes realistic? Probably not. However, a response within 10-hours is realistic and expected in today’s always-on information cycle.

We keep learning the faster the response, the less damage done. If a company fails to respond quickly to these flare-ups, the consequences can last 10-years and not 10-days.


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Great post and I am going to start using the 10-10-10 rule as well. I agree, responding in 10 minutes may not be possible, but 10 hours certainly is in this age of constantly being connected. More consumer brands especially need to be part of the conversation so they know what is happening and how to respond.


Have you read/scanned her "10-10-10" book? I saw it at the bookstore this weekend, but didn't purchase it.



Paul ... not sure we need to read 200+ pages to learn all the nitty-gritty about Suzy's 10-10-10 model. The core idea is simple enough to grasp and we all are smart enough to figure out how to best apply it.

I absolutely love the 10-10-10 model. And, I feel I know enough about the concept to start using it without having to read the book.

"Paul ... not sure we need to read 200+ pages to learn all the nitty-gritty about Suzy's 10-10-10 model."

So you are not really thrilled with Suzy's brand, only her thoughts. It was nice you gave her recognition though.

I suppose it's not really that strange way of thinking for someone whose blog is titled Brand Autopsy.

Yes Larry, I think strangely.

smart stuff, john -- as usual!

I like your suggestion that a company should acknowledge a negative event within a short time. It will have to anyway so might as well do so early.
For an individual it means acknowledging a negative event as early as possible.

It probably depends on the situation, but for me 3-3-3 seems practical. 3 days, 3 months, 3 years.

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