GM Plunks New Call Center in Heart of Product-Development Complex

Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 06:30 PM

General Motors is opening a new customer-service center in the heart of its engineering and product-development operations in suburban Detroit to underscore its commitment to making its customers experiences stand out from the industry’s typical subpar performance. In the process, it’s drawing lessons from iconic handholding brands ranging from Amazon to Apple to Nordstrom to Zappos.

GM’s call-center operation on the campus of its sprawling GM Technical Center will employ about 300 “advisors” and 35 managers by year’s end. The company also has doubled the number of its own and dealers’ employees, to about 50, that are being deployed at dealers to help explain the latest in-vehicle technology and infotainment features to customers.

Both measures are part of a broader attempt by the company to follow up on recently improved valuations of product quality and customer perceptions, and to turn that area into a relative strength for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC instead of a traditional vulnerability. Dropping the ball in that area certainly has hurt cross-town rival Ford lately. Continue reading...

Williams-Sonoma Combats Showrooming Issue with Private Labels, Customer Experiences

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2013 05:38 PM

It was one thing for Best Buy and other big box, commodity chains to suffer from “showrooming,” but the practice now appears to be afflicting haute cuisine enabler Williams-Sonoma. And its new CEO Janet Hayes, who was named in March, is trying to do something about it.

The chain—a sibling brand to the Pottery Barn and West Elm housewares chains—has posted same-store sales declines for five of the last seven quarters as Williams-Sonoma copes with the growing scourge of showrooming—an action that the high-end retailer once didn't have to worry about because of its exclusive inventory. But now a host of brick-and-mortar and online rivals are presenting much of the same stuff, including upstarts Cutlery & More and Sur Le Table as well as Macy’s and Amazon, according to Bloomberg.Continue reading...

brand faces

New CEO Mary Dillon Promises to Make Ulta Beauty Brand Look Even Better

Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2013 03:39 PM

Ulta Beauty is looking better to investors, customers, employees and retailers after the first three months of the reign of new CEO Mary Dillon. And with her plans to open more stores and introduce new products and brands to extend the Ulta franchise, Dillon hopes to keep all those constituencies smiling for some time to come.

The Bolinbrook, Ill.-based chain boosted second-quarter net sales by 25 percent, covering a period that overlapped Dillon's July 1 start at Ulta after leaving US Cellular, where she had been CEO since 2010. Dillon also previously was global chief marketing officer for McDonald's and president of PepsiCo's Quaker Foods unit.

"There's a big opportunity to drive overall awareness of Ulta as a brand," Dillon told brandchannel. "I don't plan any radical changes; I want to build on our foundation and strengthen it.Continue reading...

chew on this

Catching Up With McDonald's Cross-America Listening Tour

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 2, 2012 07:54 PM

As part of McDonald's cross-USA "listening tour" to discuss nutrition, health, sustainability and its menu and marketing (especially to kids), the fast-food brand recently sent Julia Braun, Director of Nutrition, and Jessica Droste-Yagan, Director of Sustainable Supply, to meet with Duke University students and professors to discuss nutrition and sustainable food practices. Listen in above, and check out earlier discussions on the tour that were held in March and August.

social marketing

With Facebook Timeline Looming, Brands Need to Be More Responsive

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 29, 2012 05:04 PM

One of the beautiful things about social media is that suddenly there is a way for everyday consumers can reach out and actually communicate with a brand without having to sit on hold waiting for a customer-service agent who might have no idea what you’re talking about.

Some companies have a team of people who keep busy all day monitoring and responding to the posts that flood in from Twitter and Facebook. We’re all just looking for human contact, right? And if a brand can give that to a consumer, that can’t hurt the brand loyalty.

Of course, plenty of brands don’t have a team of people doing that, either, so it’s not shocking that a new study has found that the responsiveness of 20 top U.S. retailers on Facebook is, well, “uneven, at best,” according to CNN.

As brands rush to meet Friday's deadline to curate their Facebook Timeline, it's sobering food for thought — but there's good news for brands that have already made the Timeline switch.Continue reading...


Can Domino’s Continue Pizza Turnaround with Crowdsourcing - or Are Fans Crowdsourced Out?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 9, 2012 10:58 AM

Domino’s has gone public — not in the IPO sense, but by crowdsourcing ideas to improve the brand via a Facebook-based customer feedback intiatives it's calling Think Oven.

It's all part of the brand's two-year-old initiative to become more relevant and increase loyalty (and business) by engaging consumers (customers and non-customers) in its reinvention.Continue reading...

mom's the word

Listen In on McDonald's First Ever Listening Tour

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 16, 2011 10:00 AM

McDonald's USA President Jan Fields has kicked off the brand's first ever "listening tour," at the BlogHer conference in San Diego.

The Hillary Clinton-style move to engage parents (particularly moms — ideally, those who blog with vast Twitter and Facebook networks) was promised as part of its new nutrition commitment that was announced on July 25th. That's when the company announced its menu overhaul a "series of town hall style meetings (that) will connect us directly with parents and nutrition experts for important dialogue about how McDonald’s can continue to play a role in children’s well being."

McDonald's executives also talked up its new Family Arches online community, signing up members of the private community at a boot at the conference. Above, listen to Fields field questions — and, well, listen.

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