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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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4 comments:

Andrea said...

If narrowing your focus, and narrowing some more, is a key step in reaching your customers, then - narrowing so far that customers aren't "in" the segment any more is especially interesting (but counter-intuitive?). Here's the thing, the key customers a brand already has will be the first to notice this cool campaign by "insiders" and - the heat generated from within will ignite already so-inclined evangelists even more. Presenting/pitching the fun/engagement that exists from within the brand can be a very wise route to take - and I agree, C.B., Puma should find success with this campaign.

Andre Yap said...

Started a series called 100 Ways to Ripple (i.e., start word of mouth campaigns) __________, and just wrote up 100 ways for Retail. Midway through my list, I said Ripple "your people". Your post on Puma was exactly what I needed to amplify on that. http://bit.ly/n0SGc and will keep following you thoughts.

Andre Yap
Founder & CEO Ripple100
Social software and metrocentric media for word of mouth
www.ripple100.com

C. B. Whittemore said...

Andre, I love your series and that this post added to yours about retail. Thanks for connecting and commenting.

C. B. Whittemore said...

Andrea, I just love how you describe heat, ignition and evangelism. Having the right people and engaging them completely is a powerful way to transform a business and the nature of customer relations. This will be fun to watch. Thanks for contributing your perspective.

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Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

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