Stephen had a horrible poker face. I couldn’t read his mind but as I examined his eyes I was sure of one thing: he was dreaming up something that would make me uncomfortable.
It was October 9, 2009 and I was sitting across from RadioShack’s VP of Marketing at the time. We swapped philosophies on retail management, leadership styles, life passions and perspectives on why Redbox was destined to kick Blockbuster’s butt from the beginning.
Funny thing is, I don’t recall what I actually said but I do remember what I thought. Instantly, I remembered launching an online TV network and forum in 2003 for Footaction USA, 2 years before YouTube. It failed.
I reminisced about Locker Freakz, the online sneakerhead community we built for Foot Locker that was accessed via a secret 3D lenticular code. Not many people bothered in 2005.
Aside from my personal use of social networks and some freelance stuff for non-profits, my social media journey was littered with digital skeletons. For pride’s sake I’d like to think I was a man ahead of my time. A digital Da Vinci of sorts. Dreaming up helicopters and solar power before we ever realized the Earth was actually not the center of the universe. Or not.
Whatever the case, the conversation that day planted a seed worth watering. Two years later and the RadioShack social practice has blossomed beyond my greatest expectations. This time around, the team can look back and see thriving programs that raised the bar and built a blueprint for an iconic brand. The skeletons have become lessons.
Today is my last day at The Shack. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with, learn from, challenge and grow alongside such a talented team. Staying true to my sappy heritage, here’s my list of the top 10 things I’ll miss at RadioShack.
Mouthfuls of cupcakes in 2010 led to miles of cycling in 2011. Our Team RadioShack partnership introduced me to an intriguing sport and a community of people who are dedicated to beating cancer. (Yes, I’ll take my bike to Plano)
8. Award Hardware
I remain immensely proud of the work this team has delivered in such a short time. Having the opportunity to accept a Forrester Research Groundswell award on behalf of our social team and agency partners is something not easily forgotten. The award will stay here where it belongs.
7. Meeting Tweeple
I’ve been all over the U.S. representing the brand and flipping the switch on mental light bulbs as people rediscovered RadioShack. Our Twitter chats and Facebook promotions were notable, but no replacement for a handshake, a face-to-face discussion, a concert ticket gifted to an unexpected fan or the thrill of hearing thousands of fans scream “RadioShack!” as their favorite cyclist races by.
Yep, lawyers. RadioShack attorneys aren’t just mere legal experts wielding torts and bylaws. These studs are lawyers by trade and cowboys by birth. Many have worked here since nineteen-eighty-sumthin’ and they remind me of Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones‘ characters from the western film classic Lonesome Dove. My favorite RadioShack cowboy is Toss Hobbs who penned the all-time best response for employees who insists they have the right to curse out their employer online (immortalized in the pic above).
Every office has a Paul. He’s the guy who has perfected the art of the corporate cliché to the point where it comes way too naturally. Paul’s finest phraseology includes: “All boats rise. Top of the trees. Don’t boil the ocean. That’s not a big idea. Circle the wagons. Peel back the onion. Low hanging fruit.” Interestingly enough, we all know what he means. You will be missed my friend.
The team produced more than 260 videos in 1 year and doubled our YouTube views. These guys unboxed phones, crashed CES, bonded with geeks, discovered the Abominable Snowman and brought a 90-year-old brand to life. I should have been an agent.
3. Nerd Power
Once upon a time geeks ruled the world and RadioShack was their playground. These days they still call the shots and we’re trying to win them back. In 2011 we made a concerted, deliberate effort to re-engage the DIY community and start a real conversation. The feedback we received was real, warranted and way overdue. Ultimately it’s made us a stronger marketing team by enhancing the most critical exercise of all, listening.
2. Friends of The Shack
If good help is hard to find then I struck the goldmine. Our agencies (BSSP, Mindshare, imc2, Weber Shandwick) are second to none and I was lucky to work with such passionate partners. The campaigns we produced working with Facebook, foursquare, Twitter, Google and other social allies collectively moved the needle and taught us all a thing or two in the process. [My 5 Favorite RadioShack Social Media Campaigns]
1. Team RadioShack
This one’s predictable but certain. The RadioShack family is 35,000 members strong and my wife and I are proud of our time together. Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, RadioShack always represented technology, innovation and community. It’s great to know those things still remain true and the brand is in capable hands.
See you soon!