Monday, May 4, 2009 Usability Testing usability testing is now under way through May 8th. We are conducting usability in an open and transparent way, tapping into the social network of our brand. I invite you to join. Click the link to take the usability survey.

Thanks in advance for helping out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Open Principles and Insignia update

So, I have been incredibly lame over the last couple months not having posted anything to my blog. It has been a long time recovering from the workforce reduction here at Best Buy, but I feel like today is a new beginning. We’ve finally turned the corner and are moving forward again. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I finally filed my taxes last night.

Today, I want to focus on the Insignia Open Principles experiment. We are getting close to usability testing and plan a soft launch of the new site by the end of April. For those of you who I have engaged on usability testing, I promise that it will be coming soon. I appreciate your patience.

I think the best thing about this experiment is that the community of passionate and engaged supporters is growing with each day. And, each new member brings with them a unique and valued perspective that will make our web experience even better. The list of iterations I have in mind for this site is growing faster than we can get our current site up and running. I cannot wait for launch day!

I am also starting to get a lot of questions within the four walls of Best Buy on “how we did it”. That is, how did we break the mold and deliver a web experience that is materially different from what preceded it. How did we incorporate social media in a meaningful and sustainable way? Here are some of the lessons I learned along the way:

  • Successful adoption of social media is about how you approach your business rather than how you apply the tools. If you believe in openness and transparency, and model the behavior, then all else will follow.
  • This is about leading. Have a clear vision for the future and rally others around it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the hype. That’s about following.
  • Don’t let the media part fool you. This is not about advertising.
  • Let go. We spend a lot of time as successful business people learning how to manage outcomes and take control of situations. Unlearn this quickly. Learn how to facilitate outcomes and focus resources.
  • Focus outward rather than inward. Find your “brand champions”, engage them and reward them. They will reward you over time.
  • Just do it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Profound Thought

Ideas are starting to roll in on social media. Thank you!

A question that is consistent among my friends and colleagues in the social media space is, "why is it so hard to convince others (non-users) of the value of social media?" While I do not have an answer for this yet, one reader likened the current adoption stage of social media to the Internet circa 1993. Here is what he had to say:

"My father's business doesn't allow people to go on Facebook during work hours. That's an example of not 'getting it.'

It also sounds a bit like 1993 or so, Mosaic and the birth of e-commerce. Employees were not allowed to browse the Internet while at work. Funny to consider that now."

Will we look back one day and consider it funny that not every company had Twitter?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Social Networking and Media Companies

So the last couple of months have been rough in terms of getting new content up on my blog, but I am recommitting to it now that we've come out of the Holiday season (and birthday season in my household). One of the things that I am currently thinking about is how media companies and producers of content can best use social networking tools to engage their audiences and strengthen their brand. This could be anyone from NBC to Disney to specific shows or movies to individuals (actors, musicians, on-air personalities, etc). My premise is that Twitter is the ultimate star gazing tool, allowing you to follow your favorite celebrities, shows, etc. with up to the minute detail. What are the opportunities and pitfalls media companies should engage in or avoid? Please leave your ideas in the comment section here and I'll summarize in a future post along with my own thoughts.

Some food for thought:

1. A Wired blog post that highlights how enterprising individuals and brands are harnessing the power of social media to manage their lives and business, interact with their customers/communities or even create new businesses.

2. A blog posting that highlights the benefits of a tool that Best Buy is using to aggregate the social media activities of its employees and openly share that with its customers and other interested community members. This is a powerful tool to create brand transparency and humanize the organization.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Bad Has it Gotten in the Auto Industry?

Last night while watching the AFC Championship Game, I saw an ad for Hyundai Assurance, a new program offering loan forgiveness if you buy a Hyundai car and then subsequently lose your job. I nearly fell out of my seat. Here is a company that is attempting to financially de-risk the auto purchase if you decide to buy with them. The implication of this promotion is that the cost of bad loans is far less than the cost of idle plants and rotting inventory. From a consumer perspective, this offer may cause switching among those consumers already in the market for a new automobile, but I still have a hard time seeing any promotion stimulating incremental demand.

From a brand perspective, the Hyundai Assurance promotion makes a lot of sense because it reinforces Hyundai's equity around service and support. They are already known for having the best warranty in the industry. Now, with the financing offer, they've taken that message one step further. As one of my peers said, "it is compelling because it says that we're all in this together." I also get the feeling that Hyundai is interested in a relationship with me rather than just selling me a car.

The only question remaining is, how long will it be before Hyundai applies for a Federal bailout?

For details on the program, go to: