Belk partners with HelloWorld on social campaign
Charlotte, N.C. – Belk has partnered with HelloWorld, Inc. (formerly ePrize) to create a campaign that allows consumers to submit a photo and brief description of a couple’s love story for a chance to win a $20,000 event, like a wedding, and a private concert with singer Edwin McCain.
Live until Feb. 28, the Share Your Love Story campaign is located on a microsite that can be accessed via mobile, Facebook or desktop web, all with an identical site experience. Participants register on the microsite and then are asked to submit a photo and short description of their love story depicted in it for Belk’s online photo gallery. Photos can be selected from Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, or a mobile camera roll for easy uploading. Once submitted, participants are incentivized to share their entry on Twitter or via email to receive an additional entry into the sweepstakes.
In addition, seven participants will be chosen to win a $100 Belk gift card. Along with Share Your Love Story, Belk plans to launch other multichannel programs to promote its yearlong “Modern. Southern. Music.” campaign.
"Music is central to the southern lifestyle, and has a strong influence on fashion," said Jon Pollack, Belk’s executive VP of marketing, sales promotion and e-commerce. "This campaign allows us to celebrate these moments with our customers and provide exclusive access to music partners that will create lasting memories."
Executive changes at Overstock.com
Overstock.com SVP Stephen Tryon has resigned from his position to pursue interests related to his book, "Accountability Citizenship."
Tryon joined Overstock.com in 2004, assuming executive responsibility for the company’s logistics operations. In that role, he implemented leadership training and workforce restructuring initiatives to reduce cost per package and improve shipping quality, along with improving satisfaction among warehouse associates. Tryon later spearheaded an initiative to consolidate billing with major carriers as fulfillment partners assumed a larger role.
"The initiatives Steve implemented reduced costs by millions of dollars and have been a key element in the growth of Overstock.com’s partner network," said Overstock.com chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne. "Being a valuable asset to the company and a good friend of mine, Steve will be sorely missed."
Tryon assumed responsibility for the company’s human resource function in 2007, where he led implementation of Overstock’s first automated performance appraisal system, and in 2008 and 2009, he restructured the compensation system.
In 2012, Tryon earned his Senior Professional of Human Resource certification. In recent years, while retaining his role in HR, Tryon also managed the company facilities portfolio and the international business unit.
In 2013, Tryon published "Accountability Citizenship," which he describes as a toolkit for applying performance management principles to elected officials.
"My passion for the many initiatives associated with ‘Accountability Citizenship’ makes it difficult to devote enough time to my duties at Overstock.com," Tryon said. "The past nine years have been an exciting chapter of the company’s growth from start-up to mature, profitable internet business. I am grateful for the opportunities Overstock.com has given me, and am proud to have been part of Dr. Byrne’s quest to build a business with enduring value. Overstock.com is a terrific business and a terrific community of great people. I look forward to watching it grow."
The company also promoted Mark Griffin to SVP and general counsel and promoted four other executives to VP.
Formerly a VP and general counsel, Griffin has been responsible for the strategic direction and operational effectiveness of the legal team. Under his direction, the legal department has repeatedly seen success in fighting high-profile patent troll suits, and in working with the U.S. Congress, regulatory agencies and state legislatures on key legislation and regulatory matters, affecting the retail sector and public companies. Griffin’s new position will expand his responsibilities in these and other areas.
"A superb attorney, Mark has been a wise adviser to and a tenacious and able advocate for the company," said Overstock.com executive vice chairman Jonathan Johnson. "His unique ability to be both counselor and gladiator fit him well to join the senior executive team."
As a private attorney, Griffin represented the company when it started its campaign to end a form of stock market manipulation — abusive naked short-selling. In the middle of that fight, Griffin joined the company in 2006 as its general counsel. Prior to Overstock.com, Griffin was a partner in the Salt Lake City law firm, Woodbury & Kesler. Griffin also served 14 years in various roles in state government: as director of the Utah Securities Division, previously as deputy secretary of state for the State of Nevada and as an assistant Utah attorney general, handling civil securities, antitrust cases and white collar fraud prosecutions.
Griffin served in the leadership of the North American Securities Administrators Association, with offices in Washington, D.C., completing his NASAA work as its president in 1997. Griffin has conducted senior White House Staff briefings, and testified five times before U.S. Congressional Committees on litigation reform, investor protection and securities market practices.
Griffin is a member of the Utah State Bar and holds J.D. and B.A. degrees from Brigham Young University.
Overstock.com also promoted the following executives to the position of VP:
- Seth Moore was promoted from senior director of analytics, search and personalization VP, website and mobile. A graduate of Brigham Young University, Moore joined Overstock.com in 2006.
- Terry Jensen was promoted from senior director of training and quality to VP, customer service and training. Having graduated from the University of Utah and Westminster College, Jensen joined Overstock.com in 2006.
- Michael Skirucha was promoted from controller to VP, finance and controller. Skirucha graduated from DePaul University and the University of Utah and is a licensed CPA. He joined Overstock.com in 2010.
- Alec Wilkins was promoted to vice president, application development. Wilkins joined Overstock.com in 2011 as a consultant, joined full time in 2013 as acting VP, application development.
Staying Social With Millennials
It’s no secret that today’s teens and twenty-somethings have grown up on social media and see it as an extension of their everyday lives. But retailers who think they can just display a bunch of wares on a social media page and attract Millennial shoppers are sadly mistaken. A panel of five exceptionally bright and well-spoken Millennial consumers ages 16-21 (all offspring of prominent retail IT figures) at the recent Retail ROI “Super Saturday” event in New York gave some frank insight into how Millennials view social media. Retailers can ignore the following nuggets pulled from that commentary at their own risk of social irrelevance with the younger generation.
In a column published last year, I exhorted retailers to follow the example of The Kinks and “Think Visual” when it comes to digital retailing efforts. Old Kinks albums probably don’t mean much to Millennial consumers and their social habits, but video definitely does. All five Millennial panelists agreed that Instagram is their favorite social media network, and several also mentioned Snapchat.
Interestingly, all five agreed Facebook is not relevant to their generation (more on that momentarily), and only the two college-aged panelists even still have Facebook accounts, just to keep in touch with their parents. There was also mixed opinion on the relevance of Twitter to young consumers. If you want to reach Millennials through social media, do it on video-friendly platforms and through visual campaigns.
The number one reason all five Millennial panelists gave for their generation’s general lack of interest in Facebook is an excess of spam. Young consumers are incredibly media-savvy and have been bombarded with marketing messaging their entire lives, starting with all the toys and games that tied into the TV shows and movies geared toward them as young children. They are not opposed to receiving marketing messages via social media, but they are opposed to generic messages for products they don’t want or need.
Retailers targeting Millennials with social media efforts need to take extra care they are targeting those efforts correctly. Investments in intelligent marketing solutions that track consumer behavior and preferences, preferably across multiple channels, are essential to avoid turning off potential Millennial customers. Older consumers screen out noise, younger consumers shut it off altogether.
The other reason all Millennial panelists agreed Facebook is not their generation’s choice social network is that it is seen as the social network for their parents. This is not to say retailers should abandon all efforts to reach Millennials through Facebook, but it does mean that retailers must keep a young mindset and be aware of trends among young consumers when designing social marketing campaigns.
Having Millennials as part of your social marketing team is essential, and processes and systems supporting social engagement of Millennials must be lean and agile to allow quick pivots in response to the fickle preferences of teens and twenty-somethings.
Younger generations are always a bit of a mystery to older generations, but mysteries can be solved. And when it comes to social engagement of young consumers, retailers need to apply leading-edge strategies and technologies to become a 21st century version of Sherlock Holmes.