At a recent NEMOA conference, I heard a great presentation from Eoin Comerford, CEO of Moosejaw. Moosejaw was a new name to me. They were founded by Robert Wolf in 1992. They have a staff of 50 at their headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. They are early adaptors – with 11 retail stores, a website that started in 1995, customer reviews which started in 2004, and a mobile presence that started in 2006.
You may not agree with everything here – but there is lots of food for thought and innovation! Here are a few things that Eoin believe are KEYS TO THEIR SUCCESS:
- Conference rooms were decorated by employees to illustrate their mission statement.
- They have a weekly “spinning wheel of fortune” with the CEO as MC. Employees can win things like “Go home now”, as well as prizes. This is 5-10 minutes of dedicated fun each week.
- When hiring, selected employees are chosen by how fun their cover letter is, and how much they know about Moosejaw.
- At retail, employees get 2 weeks of training plus team building. If they don’t fit in, they are let go.
- Their tagline is “The most fun retail on the planet”.
- Their goal is to be a hip, young brand, even though their average shopper is 30-50 years old.
- They have a cult-like following of customers who send notes saying things like “Your emails are the best part of my week.
- They have free Moosejaw flags to take around the world – customers photos are posted on the website.
- A brand is about who you are – and who you are not. Define the negative space around you.
- Be notable.
- Do the unexpected. Make people step back, and tell a friend, 10 friends.
- Be engagingly engaged – form relationships; have conversations with customers.
- Make your customer love you.
- Only do cool stuff.
- Don’t sell based on price
- Don’t sell stuff you would not buy yourself.
- Have fun at work.
- Don’t hire for skills over culture.
- Don’t treat customers like checkbooks or idiots – treat them like a smart friend who you love and enjoy.
- One video they included in a press release increased sales 37% and got 100s of media mentions (It showed an app they created that gave you “Xray eyes” to see models in underwear in their catalog!)
- 40% of traffic comes in from mobile – which they have to harness and convert.
- Catalogs are not for prospecting – they are a way to connect with retail customers who are not on the email list but are really good customers.
- Social is not about likes – it’s about engagement or else it’s a shell.
To build a brand
- Be consistent – including mobile, phone voice, signage, packaging with a love note, trucks.
- Engage at a personal level – Twitter responses, packaging, and voice.
- Take a long-term view – send no more than 2 emails a week, max (except at holiday) – some emails are not sales related (Moosejaw has a breakup service, and a digital lunch meat throw game, along with the X-ray app to see their models undressed.)
- Be willing to piss people off – Try new things. Be irreverent. Take chances. It’s okay to make some people mad, just not sad.
- Expect misses when you take risks. No one gets fired for a bad idea – you have to be willing to fail.
Who do they consider to be their competition?
- Their #1 competitor is REI. REI is so cause-based, Moosejaw does not have that as part of their mission. Moosejaw is involved with local causes but that doesn’t define them.
- Eoin also follows Urban Outfitters for fun ideas.
- And White Stuff from the UK – with fashion with a 50s vibe, and 50s cocktails.
It’s always great to hear from others in our industry – especially those who are trying to shake things up a bit. Oh, wait. That’s what we are trying to do, too.
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