Canadian Retailer - November/December 2011 - (Page 12)

| STOREFRONT leadership series Effective leadership has never been so critical to the success of a retail business. To help address many of the top-of-mind leadership issues affecting the industry today, Canadian Retailer features the 2011 Leadership Series — six columns, written by six top retail leaders, exploring such issues as building a strong corporate culture, leadership assessment strategies, leadership development, coaching and mentoring and leading amid adversity. We are pleased to present the sixth and final installment in this series – the importance of implementing a social media strategy to lead teams and engage with consumers. The Social Media Shift: Leaders step up to the plate with new digital strategies By Michael Medline, President, FGL Sports (Forzani Group) C onsider this: more than 1 billion people – that’s 70 per cent of online users – utilize some sort of social network. There are more than 400 million people who use Facebook daily, with the average session lasting 37 minutes. Twitter sees more than 250 million tweets generated each day – a number that’s jumped by 150 per cent since the start of 2011. YouTube is the world’s second-most popular search engine, with 35 hours of video footage going up every minute. All of this represents an opportunity for today’s retail business leaders: social media can no longer be pointed to as the way of the future; it’s safe to say that it is now embedded in the fabric of our everyday lives. Traditional marketing is in no way dead, but the shift towards digital must be just as embedded in our business planning as it is in our consumers’ day-to-day living. At Sport Chek, we believe social media is a game changer. Simply put, it represents an opportunity to go where our customers are – and to be part of the organic conversations that are taking place. With half of Sport Chek’s customer base under the age of 35, we know that we need to do more than just exist in the space. Our new digital strategy sees social media play an essential role in consumer engagement – one that will allow us to connect, interact and share with our customers in new and exciting ways. And, I believe our approach will drive greater frequency and increase sales at stores. Mobile will continue to play an important role in bringing social media into the physical store experience. More than 350 million active users currently access Facebook through their mobile devices, optimizing their path to purchase. I believe that transfer applies internally, too. In fact, Sport Chek has introduced an internal social media channel – Yammer - to connect corporate employees. Since launching as a pilot project about a year ago, the uptake has been impressive and the site has been tearing down departmental walls, building a better, more efficient way for a national company to communicate and engage in our business. As with traditional social media channels, Yammer allows our employ- ees to “live the brand” as they connect on like-minded activities or business needs. Common groups are focused on exercise and sport, though employees also connect to track down things like cross-functional project input. We’re aware that social media is not just about retweets on Twitter, likes on Facebook, check-ins on FourSquare, or sharing with friends in Google+; it’s about leveraging the opportunity to reach new audiences, build better relationships with your employees and customers and to stay relevant in the constantly changing retail landscape. 12 | canadian retailer | holiday 2011 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - November/December 2011


Canadian Retailer - November/December 2011