A visit to the Zappos office

My husband and I wanted to escape the Windy City for a few days, so we decided to plan a trip to Las Vegas. Since we’d both read Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and are intrigued by the company’s great culture, one of the stops on our trip was a visit to the Zappos office.ZapposTour

The Zappos office is nestled in downtown Vegas, a few miles away from the glitz and glamour of the Strip, in the former City Hall building. After checking in at the front desk, we were invited to help ourselves to popcorn and bottled water.

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Are you ready for this jelly?

I was at a social media conference a couple weeks ago and one of the speakers asked the audience members to raise their hands if they’d heard of Jelly. In a room of 200 or so, about five people raised their hands…which I have to admit made me feel better, since the only Jelly I was familiar with is the kind you spread on your toast.

After the day’s sessions were over, I did my research and learned that Jelly is a social media app — launched at the beginning of this year — that basically acts as a visual, social search engine. So, let’s say I’m walking around my neighborhood and see some exotic bird. I take a photo of the bird and post it to Jelly along with a question – “Anyone know what kind of bird this is?”  Then, I wait for answers to roll in. It’s kind of like Yahoo Answers, but more visual.

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Virgin America announces the first in-flight social network

Call me a grouch, but I don’t enjoy sitting next to a Chatty Cathy when I’m on a plane. After I find my seat, I non-verbally let the people around me know I’m not interested in making small talk by burying my nose in a book or a magazine. Sometimes I’ll put in my ear buds if I’m feeling particularly antisocial. I see plenty of other people doing this too, so I know I’m not the only grouch out there. I’m not the only grouch out there, right?!

Virgin America however, has found that not all travelers are like me. In fact, according to Luanne Calvert, Chief Marketing Officer at Virgin America, “When we surveyed our business travelers, we were surprised to learn that the ability to connect with other Virgin America travelers in-flight or en route to a destination was a frequent request.”

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Zappos loves me

Today, I was cleaning up some of my paperwork at home and came across this card from Zappos. Yup, Zappos the online retailer. Zappos loves me so much, they sent me a card to let me know that I’m beautiful. And this was AFTER I returned a pair of shoes. It made my day today as much as it did the day I got it.

Zappos_Card

There are so many lessons businesses can learn from Zappos, but I think one of the most important is:

Your employees are a key component of your brand.

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Babysitting? There’s an app for that.

I don’t consider myself old by any means, but things are so much different these days than when I was a kid in the eighties and nineties. If I needed my parents to pick me up from somewhere, I had to find a pay phone to call them on their landline phone. I didn’t think twice about waiting five minutes for my AOL dial-up internet to connect. And my parents actually hung out with me instead of parking me in front of a variety of electronic devices.

Childhood is so different now. Some kids have smartphones before they’re in school. Heck, my toddler nephew is more adept at navigating a tablet than I am. But is there a point when enough is enough?

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Chanel gets a new spokesperson

Over the years, many high profile celebrities have lent their faces to ads for Chanel. Brad Pitt. Blake Lively. Keira Knightley. That’s just to name a few. And now, the fashion house has a new spokesperson. But it’s not a star of that smash hit movie that’s now in theaters. Nope, instead it’s someone who’s been dead for more than 50 years. It’s none other than Marilyn Monroe.

The highlight of Chanel’s new campaign is a TV spot featuring video footage of Monroe, as well as audio from an interview between Monroe and the editor of Marie Claire. In the interview, Monroe revealed that the only thing she wore to bed was Chanel No. 5 perfume.

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A bold move for Black Friday

It seems like the chaos of Black Friday gets crazier every year. Every year, the evening’s news includes at least one story about a shooting, trampling or fight of some sort as consumers rush to get that “great deal.” When is enough, enough?

Apparently, not yet. This year, opening at 5am on Friday morning wasn’t enough for some retailers. Instead, many stores decided to stay open on Thanksgiving day, forcing employees to be away from their families on the holiday.

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Feel good about what you wear with Everlane

A couple weeks ago, I was out for a beer with one of my girlfriends and found myself complaining about how hard it is to find nice, affordable t-shirts. They’re either too thin, uncomfortable or they fall apart after a few washings…or all of the above. So, my stylish gal pal told me to check out Everlane.com, promising that they have the softest shirts (and other great basics) for a good price.

When I first visited the site, I liked what I saw. For one, the site is really simple. They focus on a few key categories, so their site isn’t overwhelming to navigate. Plus, they don’t try to be everything to everyone like some stores, but instead focus on what they’re good at.

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It’s not us. It’s you (and your thighs).

A brand is more than a logo, a tagline or an advertisement. A brand’s value and reputation are built on every interaction a customer has with that brand.

It’s about words and actions. And words can hurt a brand. If a friend complains about an experience they’ve had with a cell phone company, you’re probably less likely to purchase from that company in the future. And if an executive from a clothing brand says something in an interview that doesn’t quite sit right, you’ll probably bypass that store during your next visit to the mall.

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