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Monday, August 31, 2009

Retail Outward: Check Out Puma!

Puma home pageI just came across this fascinating article titled Puma Employees Become Ambassadors. It immediately had me appreciating what an interesting example of Retail Outward Not Inward: Time To Refocus this represented.

Don't believe me?

According to the article, Puma wants to 'inject some personality into its brand by enlisting its employees to share their thoughts in a retail marketing campaign."

More specifically, the campaign will features pictures and thoughts of 14 employees who will also be involved in in-store and other events.

For those not able to participate and get to know these star Puma employees in select markets [i.e., Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco], follow along via the Puma Facebook page which already numbers 1,234, 128 fans [as of 8/30/09].

According to the Puma chief marketing officer, "Puma employees around the world are some of the most colorful and dynamic people."

I love that this program engages Puma employees so intensely. The only way it can truly work as a tool of customer engagement is if Puma employees are fiercely passionate about the Puma brand. And, from what I can see, they are. Per Got Something to Say? PUMA® Lets You Speak Your Mind!, thousands of employees have taken part with videos uploaded to the Puma YouTube channel.

The Puma Employees Only campaign launched on August 15th through September 30th featuring seven local employees in each city. PUMA will return for the holiday season with seven new executions and seven new employees featured in the campaign beginning November 15th through December 31st.

In terms of retail outward concepts, I find Puma's campaign fascinating: by showcasing and celebrating its employees, who are the first and most powerful brand voices that a consumer encounters, the company creates a strong point of connection and engagement with its customers. And, in those select cities, consumers are invited to share their opinions, too.

I'm intrigued and curious. This campaign has the potential to transform the Puma brand into one that truly connects with customers... in which case I see this no longer being a campaign, but rather a new way of being.

Now, as it relates to your retail experience, how might you implement your own 'Employees Only' program? How might you so intensely engage your employees that they become your most passionate brand ambassadors imaginable?

Intriguing, don't you think?

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