April 2, 2012
“Social is the way brands are going to be built. Social is the future.”
Early-April, I had the opportunity to attend the first session of Conversations About the Future of Advertising, a MIMA-sponsored seminar hosted at MCAD. The kickoff speaker was Barry Judge, Chief Marketing Officer of Best Buy.
As you may have seen in the news, Best Buy is in the midst of leadership changes and store closures. While the company is experiencing these transitions, Judge was able to carry on a candid dialogue around another company transition—the switch from traditional to digital and mobile communications. He is a firm believer that digital and search engine optimization is the next big move in the industry. Within the realm of digital, he is confident that mobile is a serious growth player and social media is the communication tool that brands will rely on to reach the new wave of digitally-connected consumers.
Companies like Best Buy are rapidly trying to adjust their strategies, not only to reach the plugged-in consumer, but also to provide better customer experiences. Judge stated, “We can’t rely on the fact that people are too stupid to take out and use their smartphone or mobile device” while shopping in a store. Here are five enlightening points taken from Judge that I believe all companies should acknowledge in this digital age:
The power of the consumer: Social makes companies immediately accountable for what they’re doing. Companies are held accountable to the consumer experience and leadership is accountable to their employees. Mobile empowers consumers to be heard within seconds of a bad experience or encounter. To stay abreast of this, brands must recognize their detractors, influencers, and their power consumers. Great brands need passionate fans. Building effective social communities can harness these fans into communities and create scale.
The power of transparency: Companies must integrate strategies and feedback across marketing, PR, social media, and customer service to create positive sentiment around the brand. Sharing information between the departments internally, as well as within multiple channels externally (blogs, review sites, walls, feeds) ensures consistent brand messaging.
The power of curiosity: Companies should continue to be curious of new ideas. Don’t be afraid to dive in and explore new technologies. Since there are hundreds of ideas waiting to be discovered, companies must create a network of strategic partners to continuously feed the pool of new ideas.
The power of a network: Having a great network opens the door for companies to be exposed to new perspectives. Digital and mobile are changing the way consumers behave, but personal relationships will always be valuable. Companies should leverage their networks to improve their services.
The power of open-mindedness: It is always crucial for companies to be receptive to new ideas. The ability to listen to consumer feedback about brand identity, products, and services will make companies more adaptive to changing behaviors.
Judge claimed Best Buy’s unique value is creating amazing customer experiences. In this technology-driven, ever-evolving digital environment, they must continue to develop differentiated customer experiences through the services they provide—both in-store and though mobile technologies. But most importantly, they must embrace social as the tool to reach the consumer and provide these exceptional experiences. “You don’t spend money on social media. Money isn’t a good way to think about it. You invest resources in the time and effort it takes to create compelling content and provide great customer service.”
Many businesses can learn from Judge’s insights and start to embrace digital technology and social communication tools to produce amazing customer experiences. Here at The Social Lights, we are happy to help you form social strategies that will create engaged online communities and exceptional customer experiences.
Watch the Entire Session on MIMA’s Vimeo
Barry Judge is executive vice president, chief marketing officer for Best Buy Co., Inc., a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services. In this role, Judge provides overall vision and leadership to all areas of marketing for the enterprise, including brand management, customer research and development, trend, promotions, advertising, marketing communications, internal communications and public affairs. Judge also holds a leadership role in Best Buy’s overall strategy and development in the U.S., Asia and Europe. He began his career at The Direct Marketing Group and has held positions ranging from marketing assistant to product group manager with Young & Rubicam, Coca Cola USA, The Quaker Oats Company and the Pillsbury Company. He also served as vice president of marketing for Caribou Coffee Company. Judge has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree in marketing from the J.L. Kellogg School at Northwestern University.