With a Name Like Best, You’ve Got to be Good.

It’s no surprise that certain names keep blogging up all the time on the BRANDEMiX BRANDEblog. These are the ones that continue to push both the creative envelope and choice of messaging. So, here we again write about Best Buy.

I’ve been following Best Buy’s internal buzz for a while and continue to be impressed with their efforts- from internal operational ROWE (results-oriented workplace) to hologram mall messages, their internal employee community named “Blue Shirt Nation” (influential in affecting changes to the email policy, improving enrollments in the 401k program and setting up systems for employees to communicate between shifts) and now today’s subject Best Buy Connect, they seem to have it all going on.

Best Buy Connect is an external site – its purpose to showcase the people, behavior and unedited perspectives/ideas of those who power Best Buy– their employees. It personalizes the brand, increases accessibility and affects current and future customer and employee perceptions. No small feat.

“If people outside of this company could really feel the culture and drive that makes this place what it is, we can strengthen our reputation, goodwill, and ultimately grow our talent and grow the company. The beauty of that is that we didn’t need to create anything new, people are doing it and we don’t want to control it, we simply want to make it easier for the rest of the world to find the energy and human-ness”. This from Dawn Bryant, Best Buy PR.

The site aggregates employee blogs, Twitter, YouTube and other sources including Tweets and blog posts from Barry Judge, Best Buy’s CMO. Best Buy employees are already active with the social web, aggregating sources is good for many reasons including creating a central location for employee insights in different media as well as providing additional flavor for the personality of the people that make up the company – at all levels.

A few tips of advice from Best Buy on a social media aggregator:

* A legal team can help with traditional concerns but it can be tricky since most companies aren’t approaching social media with an aggregator mentality. Many are still focused on controlling the message.
* Organizations will lose credibility pretty quickly if they persist in trying to control electronic mediums. ”If you don’t like what you see out there as a company, you need to make changes on the inside”. The truth will manifest outside.
* Don’t mess with the authenticity of the medium (thus, aggregate and don’t try to control)
* This kind of project brings some risk, so think it through and update your PR crisis plan as necessary
* Spread the word grassroots style – promotion via social media using traditional PR tactics doesn’t work
* Revisit with those involved to stay relevant and up to speed with the technology
* Make guidelines public and easy to find – it’s about transparency

During the current economic situation, this kind of transparency is particularly interesting since most companies are probably tempted to control “the message” more now than ever as they deal with lower sales, staff changes & layoffs and inevitable belt tightening. I think by aggregating multiple sources, Best Buy is giving interested readers multiple stories to consider, which gives a broader picture of the organization.

These insights provided by Lee Odden in his Online Marketing Blog were summed up as follows:
“I can say from those interactions and the social participation by corporate and employees, Best Buy really appears to be one of those companies that’s walking the talk both in terms of their public social media projects and the culture of the organization.”

And so I praise Best Buy on the weekend that their former competitor Circuit City is going dark. Coincidence? I think not.

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