Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sonic are you out there?

Sonic #5826 on Bandera N of 1604. Tax on med Coca-Cola is 12c... on TwitpicAs my Twitter followers and Facebook friends know, over the last few weeks I have been posting photos and updates about the taxes charged on soft drinks at Sonic, my favorite source of Coca-Cola. Since they make the best in town, I frequent different locations when I'm out and about. One day, I noticed a difference in the taxes I was being charged. And not a little difference. In some locations, the tax on a medium drink is one cent. In other locations, it's a whopping 12 cents.

I have two theories about why this may be the case. One was suggested by one of my Twitter followers that the difference is due to the various tax rates of the municipalities in the San Antonio area. And the one-cent tax was not technically located in San Antonio.

My other theory is that managers of local Sonics may be confused about which specific tax codes apply to certain foods and other products. I don't know that. I'm not a tax expert. But 12 cents for a $1.49 coke is a heck of a lot.

Strangely, with all my tweets and posts and Twitpics, I haven't heard anything from Sonic. I have mentioned their name quite frequently, and others have responded to my tweets and we've had dialogues online about it. But Sonic isn't there.

At a professional development session over a year ago, I happened to meet a couple of the PR folk from Sonic. They seemed to be on top of things. But if they were monitoring online conversations at all over the last two months, they would have noticed San Antonio.

Granted, I have not created any kind of crisis for Sonic. In fact, if anybody deserves criticism, it could be the taxing entities of San Antonio and area towns. But Sonic has certainly missed an opportunity.

One of the best pay-offs to companies who use social media is the chance to engage with their fans and to support their fans to be brand ambassadors. But Sonic missed the boat. They missed an opportunity to engage with fans here and to build their customer base. So this leaves me with the question: Sonic are you out there?

Now about your broken straw supplier…