Best Buy’s Best Practices

bestbuyBarry Judge, the Chief Marketing Officer for Best Buy, has a really smart idea for any communications team to consider employing.

Judge, who’s responsible for Best Buy’s marketing,  internal communication and public affairs, is hiring a “Senior Manager, Emerging Media Marketing” for his team. He’s decided to seek input from social media circles on what kind of person to hire.

But that wasn’t Judge’s initial idea.

At first, Joshua Kahn, a recruiter for Best Buy, posted the job description for the position on Twitter — a smart move in my book. (HR folks, take note.)

One aspect of that that initial job description caught the eye of some in social media circles was that Best Buy wanted someone with at least 250 followers on Twitter. After receiving a great deal of criticism for the Twitter requirement from several self-styled “social media experts” — and gosh I hate that term — Judge and Kahn decided to hold a contest of sorts. From his blog, Judge decided to ask people he interacts with in social media to help “crowdsource” the job description and revise it.

Judge writes:

In following the conversation around this job posting we discovered that many people had other ideas for how this job description should look, and what the qualifications should be.  We realized that perhaps we hadn’t thought of everything.  Beyond that we thought perhaps we could find a way to enable a more pointed discussion about this relatively new job category of Emerging Media.

The deadline to enter was this past Tuesday. Judge asked people to post suggestions on BestBuyIdeaX, a site where Best Buy asks employees, customers and potential customers how they can improve. Although Judge’s team describes BestBuyIdeaX as “an ongoing experiment”, I’d wager they’ve harvested several ideas which have helped streamline their business, so perhaps it’s no longer an experiment.

I’ll be interested to see whom Judge ends up hiring and how much he changes the job description based on the “crowdsourcing” he and Kahn did.

Something good is going on at Best Buy. (Watch these four videos of Best Buy’s SVP of Public Affairs, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, Paula Prahl, to learn more about their strategy to manage the company’s reputation in the what they call “an open era”. The videos are long, but will give you a good idea of what Best Buy is up to. Prahl has a lot to say about the role of employees in that regard.) 

In my view, Best Buy has come up with some authentic television advertising which conveys what kind of customer experience a Best Buy shopper would have. They’ve begun offering products — like musical instruments and green vehicles  — which you wouldn’t expect to find at an electronics big box retailer. And they’re not afraid to try to shake up an industry — look at what they’ve done with their limited-time offer of 99 cents netbooks with wireless service from my employer Sprint.

In this tough economy, it’s important to focus on customers and to try new ideas in order to stay competitive. I think Best Buy is on the right track.


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