As most of you are aware my time is now officially up at Best Buy. After over two years at the US company (I can’t believe it is that long either) it is time to move on. A lot has been achieved over my time there, some of which I will account for below and I have met a number of very good people. Above all I joined Best Buy for two reasons. One reason was to launch a brand from scratch, something most marketing professionals in th UK have yet to do, and fewer digital marketers have had that responsibility. Secondly was because of the great people-based culture Best Buy had.
The second part of that has changed during my time in lovely North Acton and I suppose it had to change to a degree as the organisation comes to terms from being a start-up to becoming a dominant player in the UK CE space, something they should be well-equipped to become.
So what was achieved?
Launch of a Brand
We had a lot to do on this. Rather than just transmitting the US brand to the UK, we had to establish what the UK consumer wanted and needed and deliver propositions against that. In the early days I was one of the key stakeholders in the process and we had some great debates on how to shape the brand and in turn the plans accordingly. As the Marcomms team grow and we went from launch and branding to BAU this moved to the more traditional team. We won an award for one of the service propositions we created ‘Walk Out Working’
I may have been lucky in joining a brand that embraces Social Media more than some, at a time when social media was going from infancy to adolescence. But, I feel this was one of our main success stories – recognised by being voted number 5 in the UK’s Top 100 Social Brands. We did more than just build buzz around driving Facebook page numbers or Twitter followers. We tracked behaviour and listened to conversations and reacted accordingly.
In addition we created content calendars to drive Social Media currency and providing worthwhile content for people to visit and engage with us on our platforms. This included attending Trade and Consumer shows in addition to covering Entertainment events.
One of my brainchilds TechXpert did very well and given the right backing by the business will help differentiate Best Buy in both Social Media and through site usability.
Watch out for others on the horizon that have already been developed including TwelpForce and IdeaX.
Our affiliate programme grew from absolutely nothing to a roaring success over night. We built very strong relationships with key affiliates including Quidco, MyVoucherCodes, Nectar and CoolKitchen as well as with some of the others you may not know. We created a programme that was far more competitive than anybody in our sector and listened to affiliates and their needs. This was recognised at this years A4U Forum where the Best Buy programme won ‘Best Newcomer’
Although not launched officially as yet, the work already put in means Best Buy is well-placed in terms of apps and m-Commerce.
The site in my opinion is the cleanest and most customer-centric of all core-CE competitors. It was built using a combination of best-practice and usability studies with our customers. We also used Exit Surveys post-launch to see where we could change further.
We were the first retailer in the UK to launch a Facebook store-front, allowing users to access the entire catalogue within Facebook, share or like with friends and go off and buy. Other work in this area has been done, but it would be unfair to reveal what that is.
We produced a great viral to link Best Buy and our people with the World Cup. That despite no link with the World Cup and no online presence. The video which also featured a competition element, pitted two of our brilliant blueshirts from Merry Hill setting up the ultimate mancave featuring great tech but also a kebab oven, slush puppy machine and man nappies. The video got c. 250k views and loads of comments within just two weeks.
There was a lot covered in the two years and it was a great learning experience, not only for me but for all involved. There is a lot more that we managed to do that is not in here, but I didn’t want to bore you all too much. I joined Best Buy for a challenge and it certainly delivered in that respect. It was a great time with its fair share of ups and downs but overall good.
I couldn’t write this post without acknowledging perhaps one of the best leaders I have ever worked with. Now I don’t normally go for the cheesy American stuff or Raa Raa as most of you know. But one of our original leaders at Best Buy was absolutely inspirational. He believed in what we were doing and was absolutely passionate about Best Buy. He treated every employee as a member of his family an he genuinely had the best interests of everybody at heart. Paul Antoniadis sadly left Best Buy and in my humble opinion I still don’t think they have replaced his passion or enthusiasm.
I know Paul is off doing his own thing now and doing very well for himself (I imagine with much shorter days as well). There were many other people within Best Buy who were good and helped make it a great place and they know who they are.
Now I move on to new things, which will be revealed very shortly. Needless to say everything I have learned over the past two years will be utilised and built upon. So watch my LinkedIn profile to see what’s next.