Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Branding the Magic

A brand is an idea or concept that holds a company together. A Brand Includes everything from a logo, slogan, and company colors. With Macy's the brand is clear. Their logo is a star, their slogan is "the magic of Macy's, and their colors are red. All of these aspects are key items creating the Macy's experience. It is these concepts the companies Branding and marketing department has come up with to give people the feeling of dressing like a star for affordable prices, while still getting treated like a celebrity while shopping in stores. 

The Magic instilled in this company lies everywhere. Its in the commercials, showing extravagant situations and impossible scenarios, filled with celebrities and glamor, giving the idea Macy's can fill anyones hearts with happiness. 

Although Advertising and marketing is what makes up the base of a companies brand, there is still one more thing which contributes, PR. Public Relations brings the company together in a way that Advertising and Marketing can't. It bridges the gap between the consumer and the product. It's what makes someone take action and look further into the magic that Macy's offer's. 

Not only is Macy's successful in this, but they have been able to master the skill. Macy's PR department has its customers and employee's living and breathing the magic. The company has created a flawless community relations programs, instilling the greater good in its employee's, while educating and giving back to the public. The company also holds an amazing social networking base, interacting with consumers through Facebook, twitter, and Linked-In, letting them know they can turn to Macy's during any fashion crisis. 

For years Macy's has stayed successful in their self Branding through Marketing and Public Relations. As the company continues to follow this track the company will set themselves up for even more years of success. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Will Bloomingdales Blossom?

As we know, Macy's and Bloomingdales are one in the same in the land of corporate America. Both stores are ownd by the same company with all profits are going to the same place. This is why when talking about the company, many times the company reads "Macy's/Bloomingdales."So where's the problem? At first glance there is none, but think for two more seconds, and the lightbulb will go off. When has there ever been Ad's for Bloomingdales, ever? They are never on TV, online, or in popular magazines. It is almost as if the company is this exclusive club that only the smartest shoppers know about, and consumers should never be excluded.

Bloomingdales is a more upscale version of Macy's, so it can be harder to advertise to just the upperclass America, but at the same time there are still many people out there upperclass or not that sometimes like to indulge in something nice. To go on youtube, searching for a "Bloomingdales commercial" and have the first video pop up from what looks like 1995  is just plain sad. If Bloomingdales ever plans on growing they need to step their game up and stop being treated like a side project over Macy's.

This complaint does not mean that bloomingdales is failing, as a matter of fact the smaller Bloomingdales store is thriving as a healthy company to this day. The company however does not need to be put on the back burner. Maybe one year, Macy's/Bloomingdales should bring put more of a focus on Bloomingdales. Expanding with more stores, and more media awareness. This could only help the company, opening opportunity for store expansion and brand knowledge.

So how can Bloomingdales increase its power, and live up to the magic its company represents? The answer is simple. Advertise, relate, and empower. Bloomingdales needs to let consumers it is just as approachable as its thrifty counter part Macy's. They need to offer great deals, implement creative campaigns to build loyalty, and finally open up to a different audience, other than the white woman that earns more than 100K a year.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Inve$ting in the "M"agic

When thinking of stocks and investing the thought off the top of most heads are confusing tickers, random numbers, positive and negative signs, and graphs that only the smartest stock brokers can understand. However the truth is, there is more to a companies investors than confusing numbers and graphs. Investors are people like the rest of us, and like a company needs Public Relations for its consumers, they need the same to the ones investing their hard earned money into the capitol "M" that scrolls across the stock ticker everyday, or in "non investor" language, Macy's/Bloomingdales. 

Just like GQ and Vogue are the bible guides to men and woman's fashion, the bible for a company investor is of course the annual report. Like the fashionistas use their magazines to keep up on the latest fashion, the investor uses the annual report to keep up with their most important hobby, their money, and what their company is doing with it. Since Macy's/Bloomingdales excels in the area of Men's and woman's fashion their annual report portrays just that, a sleek, fun, exclusive look, making the investor feel like they part of one of the coolest clubs in town. The cover is all black with trendy white and red font, and pictures of smiling female models. The next page opens up to a spread of what the company prides itself in being and representing. Speaking about how Macy's spreads their "magic" with their deals, community events, continuing tradition, and they're increasing consumer base. Macy's goal here is to let investors know they are doing everything in their power to represent a strong  name, and put them at ease knowing their money is going somewhere. 

The letter to the shareholders creates an informative way to show how the company has improved over the past year, or quarter. The message is almost always from the CEO which holds as an essential Investor Relations move. People investing in the company want to hear from the top of the corporate offices, they want someone who understands the community inside and out, which is why the CEO is almost always the ones picked for the job. This also gives consumers and investors the idea that he/she cares about each and every investor. Macy's does an amazing job with this, highlighting improvements on all of the PR focuses and business strategies, and their plan for the future. Giving investors hope and excitement for increased profits in the upcoming year. The focus stays positive, and seems believable with all most facts backed up with numbers. 

One of the most important duties for an investor relations practitioner is to make sure what he/she says is understandable for the investors. Nothing is more frustrating then when you cannot understand where your money is going. In the latest news release on company profits, posted on Oct. 7th, 2010 Macy's talks about latest earnings on a "same store basis." For the most part the company did a great job in explaining they're breaking record in profits, however they could of had a quick explanation on what exactly "same store profits" are for the less experiences investor. The news was followed up by a quote from the CEO which read "We continue to be impressed by the ability of our My Macy's localization initiatives to address specific customer needs by location, including in those pilot markets where implementation now is in its third year. The sales growth at both Macy's and Bloomingdale's has fueled a high level of energy and spirit within our organization. We believe this momentum will work to our benefit as we approach the upcoming holiday selling season." The CEO's message is to the point and positive, giving investors comfort, and a positive outlook for the future. 

Overall I think Macy's/Bloomingdales deserves a round of applause, and some snaps. With nothing but green coming in from year to year, and a swell job from the company's Investor relation practicers, Macy's should have no problem holding their investors' shares for a very long time. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Red Star Shines Bright in its Communities

Probably one of the best ways for a company to enhance its name and improve image is through service to the community. A companies commitment to the public can do nothing but enhance the view of a corporation. State Farm Insurance seems to have gotten the right idea, creating a slogan that instills trust in its prospects instantly. "Like a good neighbor State Farm is there," Community relations is just this, it is the idea of being a good neighbor and lending a helping hand to the ones in need.

The key to a great community relations program is targeting the best group or demographic. One that applies to your market and incorporates the issues surrounding your companies, figuratively and literally. Where does Macy's stand in this corporate world, is the company simply cutting a check, or are they making their mark something more than just a checkbook?

While many companies have a single focus on one issue or foundation, Macy's has taken a different approach. There are five different areas Macy's/Bloomingdales bases its community campaigns off of. These areas include the arts and culture, HIV/AIDS, education, woman's issues, and environment. This approach by Macy's is true genius, by having so many different demographic targets in their community giving, the company covers all of its consumer grounds, most notably their two main markets woman and children. Macy's contributes to these demographics but giving to charities that cover these topics, such as "Go Red for Women", and "Back to the books".

As we all know there is a clear difference between cutting a check and getting out into the community and doing work. Both areas of giving have its effect, but for a corporate company like Macy's sometimes the only way to ensure a companies good intentions is to get out in the community and gain face time. This has been mastered through the Partners in time Volunteers. Through this program, Macy's employees are given time off from their work to go out and give back to the community, while keeping within the companies five main focuses.  According to the Macy's Inc. website in 2009 Macy's celebrated 20 years of the Partners in Time program, having given 1.8million hours of community service in total with two decade time frame. That year Macy's gave around 100,000 hours to the community in various different areas of the community.

From a Public Relations perspective Macy's has all parts of community relations covered. They give back to multiple demographics, which practically covers their entire consumer base. It is also a company which takes the time to give a face to the company, encouraging all of its employees to go out and take the time to give back through hands on work and service. Macy's truly does root itself into the communities around its stores, and this technique has been accomplished through Macy's veteran status in our country and many years of gaining public relations experience.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hey Macy's HR Department! Wheres the Magic?

New Jobs are always a great thing to be excited about, whether seasonal or full time. They mean jobs for the unemployed which means a better economy, happy families, and of course more customers to take part in the unique Macy's experience.  The only problem is when people are not aware of these new job opportunities, how are they supposed to go about getting them?

In a press release sent out by the company on Thursday, September, 23rd 2010 Macy's announced the hiring of 65,000 seasonal employee's for the holiday season. With Holiday's approaching fast the need for extra help is out there, in a quote from the release the chairman and president Terry J. Lundgren states, "It is vitally important that our customers are well-served during the busiest shopping time of the year. So we ramp up our workforce starting now and running through December." In order for Macy's/Bloomingdales customers to have that unique experience it is especially important to have the best staff on the team as possible. Yet the company does not seem to be promoting these positions efficiently. Macy's could have taken these yearly hiring opportunities and spun it into a campaign to help the ever growing unemployment rate and add to the "magic" of the giving season. This would have been a great Public Relations campaign to build Brand loyalty and give consumers the idea that Macy's is always looking out for them, not just in they're clothing and great deals, but in employment as well. 

Even without spinning these Jobs into a campaign it still seems that Macy's has not made any effort in promoting. While looking on Facebook and Twitter, there has been zero posts or tweets on the new open positions. It is especially disappointing when looking at the companies Linked In account to see zero job opening posts on these new seasonal positions. It is known that social networking is the most up and coming PR tool and if every option is not used properly it can make it harder for a company to succeed properly. 

The companies lack in job promotion is not by all means going break this fortune 500 company. Macy's will most likely be successful in filling these positions indefinitely. Although  for next year, with a little bit more creative thinking on the part of their PR practitioners, they could have a great campaign on their hands.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tweeting, Posting, Blogging: Social Media the Macy's way

 Since it is 2010 companies everywhere seem to have hopped on the social networking bandwagon, and bonus points to them for doing so. By now it has been proven that the use of social and new media (If used correctly) can do nothing but improve a companies image and brand awareness. So in this growing age of technology it seems that Buzz words and a clever magazine adds do not seem to cut it anymore.

So where does Macy's fall in this category? As I look into what is really keeping the magic dust going in this successful company I wonder. Is there magic behind Macy's social media? Is the consumer active in the life of the company, up date on the stores latest deals, campaigns, and styles in fun and exciting ways, or does the magic stop where the internet begins?

Since is the first site that comes to everybody's mind when thinking of social media, I'll start there. Like all companies, when logging on the Macy's fan page the viewer is greeted by the classic Macy's red star followed by the "Info" tab with a detailed description of what the company represents. This seems to be standard on any companies page. So wheres the spice and more importantly, where the PR? When looking on the pages "wall", Macy's posts a "daily fashion challenge". Setting up a scenario for consumers, encouraging them to scroll through their website site and find the best outfit to match the given situation. Here is an example from Wednesday, September 22: "Today's Daily Fashion Challenge: you landed a walk-on role for a music video! Pick a look that’ll turn heads." These challenges are not only fun for the viewer but beneficial. Not only are participants  able to stay updated on the latests styles and trends, but  Macy's also adds in the ability to submit the created outfits with chance to win a $100 dollar gift card for the person able to put together the best outfit for that day. Other tabs on the macy's page include  a "magic" section giving to viewers the opportunity to "find their magic" by seeing daily deals, taking fashion challenges, view exciting in store events and more. The page also has areas for product reviews , upcoming events, and a special area for brides to be, which includes a bridal list matching game. It seems that Macy's fan page on Facebook has it all covered. It has all the information a customer could want while engaging then in a fun magical setting. However at the end of the day does the Macy's fan page stand out further than any other fortune 100 company? Probably not.

When it comes to tweeting for Macy's, the company has two different accounts, Macys Inc. and Ask Macy's. "Macy's Inc" seems to follow the same time line as the facebook fan page except the only difference is every post is 160 characters, making all posts in true twitter style, short, sweet, and to the point. It is important for companies to stay cohesive within facebook and twitter, this way people with only facebook or only twitter accounts are not missing out on any important information, and Macy's seems to be successful in this. "Ask Macy's" is a bit different from the original Macy's page offering tweets on the products customers are raving about. 

One area where Macy's really seems to be taking charge is in the area mobile devices. In a news release sent out on Sept. 14, 2010 Macy's is looking to expand its market and improve in the area of mobile technology. Some areas include improving the ability for users of smart phones to visually see the Macy's website on their phones. Macy's is also testing out an new phone app called "Shopkick", a phone application which allows customers who walk in into stores to automatically gain "kickbucks" which can be redeemable for awards. In this day and age it seems as if many people are starting to look to their phones as their main access to the internet, with that, it seems Macy's has taken a step ahead of the game keeping the feeling of magic flowing through the company. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The All American Department Store

Most all malls and shopping centers are filled with retail companies trying to put their best sale forward while fighting with the rest. Companies who try to catch the eyes of the customer by filling stores with what they think is the most cutting edge in fashion. Adding loud music, high prices, shirtless models, and unrealistic photo shopped pictures, passing off the idea of what a person who wears this companies product should look like. At times it can be rough for the consumer to find a store that fits their style and budget. Through all of this clutter there is always one place that seems to have overcome these superficial ideas of what retail should be and simply sell product. It is a place in malls and retails centers that people default to ether before or after their journeys through the smaller retail providers. A place that has a home in almost every mall and city in America. It can be identified by its big red star hanging high on all of it's buildings and a slogan known for creating the idea of a shopping fairy tale. Welcome to the Magic of Macy's 

People have relied on Macy's for over 150 years. It's a company which has paved the history in the retail world, and in marketing and Public Relations. Macy's introduced our country to the envious form of gorilla advertising we now call window shopping and was one of the first companies to bring the fantasy of Santa clause into real life form in its stores.  It has created an all American name for its self with the introduction of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade a venue watched by millions of viewers the morning of thanksgiving  right before the series of football games start up for the day. 

The company not only keeps the magic flowing with its everyday sales and trust worthy name priding its self in its family brand clothing and cutting in vogue looks, but Macy's also focuses on giving back to it's communities and beyond. Just this week the company has announced two different Public Relations campaigns designed to address issues going on in our world. Macy's announced yesterday its  " Heart for Haiti" Initiative designed to bring trade and aid to Haiti and help its devastated economy and aid the countries rebuilding after the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Also just announced this week,   Macy's will partake in Breast cancer awareness month, in hopes to educate and raise money in hopes for a cure. During the month of October the franchise will be selling exclusive pink fashions and make up, with a percentage of sales going to the Breast Caner Relief Fund. 

Not Only does Macy's seem to fit the ideal of the All American Department store, but it seems to be a company that it based off of the American Dream. A company which has worked hard and honestly for its money, as well as given back to the community. A fairy tale that for now seems to be creating a very happy ending for itself.