Video: How Best Buy Uses Social Technologies To Change Internal Culture

Best Buy has innovated social beyond most traditional retailers. We’re quickly learning that social media success is often hinged on having an internal culture that’s ready to accept and learn.

Yesterday, I had the chance to visit the Best Buy HQ in friendly Minneapolis and met with Barry Judge (twitter, blog) the CMO, and several members of the social media team including Steve Bendt, Gary Koelling, and Ben Hedrington and the web teams.

They know that many of their Gen Y employees, known as Blue Shirts, are active in social technologies, in fact, this data tools shows that 18-24 year olds in US are joiners at 74% adoption rate, nearly twice the adoption of the US average. As I strolled through the amazingly large college-like campus, it became clear that social was a part of the corporate culture as folks milled about, meeting, collaborated and talking –it’s clear that social technologies will be needed to keep over 155,000 employees in sync.

Later, I’ll do a deeper dive into the various projects that they’re working on in a follow-up post, but first wanted to focus on the internal aspects of how they’re using technology to change the internal culture –social success derives from within.

My parting words to Barry were that I’ve started to notice that top marketing executives that use social tools in their daily life tend to foster cultures that allow for innovation and acceptance to ‘fail fast‘. I referenced VP Paula Drum at H&R Block, VP Sandy Carter at IBM SOA, and VP Ed Terpening at Wells Fargo.

  • A good example of a company that listens his employees to improve his customers experience.

    Moreover, she creates a feeling of interest to her employees. Thus, they decrease the level of giving up and self-indulgence.

  • I look forward to your deep dive Jeremiah. Best Buy is doing some great stuff with social technology and bringing some positive attention to the Minneapolis area. I think it comes naturally for people in our community to bring “Minnesota Nice” online.

  • how can i apply that to my co. – signsden…??

    i think the concept is invaluable.

    thanks jeremiah!

  • Thanks for sharing this Jeremiah. As a professional working in Marketing and Culture Change this topic is very close to my heart.
    It is great to see a large business like Best Buy taking advantage of the tools in a way that increases the focus on customers and innovation around the services and products that Best Buy can offer. Ultimately this will enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction which will help Best Buy grow profitably and beat its competitors… I wonder what walmart are doing? I am inspired to post on this topic as well and look forward to your deep dive…. maybe something to explore in an SVAMA panel.

  • This is a great example of taking social media in house and using it to explode the power of employees. What Best Buy is doing is empowering its employees to take ownership in what goes on in the company.

    All companies can learn from Best Buy’s example.
    Retailer in particular should take note!

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  • Thanks for the comments.

  • Hey Jeremiah-
    Posted a similar blog this morning after our conversation yesterday. Great to have you in- look forward to talking soon.

    http://www.stevebendt.com/?p=164

  • Steve, good one, I agree, culture is a big changer. I’m certainly going to look at what you guys are doing beyond BSN.

  • Ben

    Getting everyone involved in the company like this is one of the best ways I’ve seen to try to inspire interest for all levels of a retail environment. It’s too easy to lose good employees if the only thing you have to inspire them with is a paycheck.

    Thanks. Looking forward to the deeper dive.

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  • Here’s a nice related article/interview on Best Buy’s development of their own internal Twitter with Headmix’s tools. Seems like it’s another project from the same team.

    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/best_buy_enterprise_twitter.php

  • Wow, I never knew that Best Buy was that involved in making a real change in their company and for their employees. And in the end, happy employees treat customers better which means more sales. This is a really good strategy by Best Buy. Thanks for the video.

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  • I’d like to believe that, on the whole, Best Buy has improved customer experience through their social media practices. However, my own personal experience with them recently gives me cause to pause before cracking open the Dom Perignon and whipping out the Cohibas.

    Last month, I purchased what was represented to me as a Sprint 3G broadband mobile Aircard, but it turned out to be an EVDO instead. Then when I asked for an exchange, the rep told me that the EVDO was better than the 3G, so I accepted his advice and went away. Several days later I met a person who showed me their Sprint 3G broadband mobile Aircard, which we tested against my Sprint EVDO broadband mobile Aircard. His card was vastly superior. I returned again to Best Buy to ask for the exchange, and the rep finally admitted that they don’t actually carry the Sprint 3G broadband mobile Aircard. How difficult would it have been to tell a customer this on an upfront-basis instead of selling them something else, misrepresenting it as 3G, and later compensating by trying to fool the customer into believing that their best interests were being served?

    On the 30th day, I returned the device in question. Where the Best Buy staff finally did the right thing was in their being persistent with SprintPCS in obtaining the RMA without letting launch the unfortunate travesty that SprintPCS was fully prepared to perpetrate. Thank heavens for the little blessings, but I am still left with a sickening feeling in my gut about being a “Black Tie” Geek Squad service subscriber for my new laptop, as that too has its’ own horror story.

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