Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
At the age of sixteen, I started my first job as a sales associate for Old Navy. Almost six years and I have remained loyal to the company working at the same store location part-time when I go home for breaks and the summer. Over the last six years I have noticed a lot of internal and external changes going on with the Old Navy brand, changes that have made our company more human.. more heroic.
Recently the company completely revamped its company culture and employee relations. In 2015, the Gap Inc. brand vowed to raise the minimum wage to $10 for all of their employees at Gap, Old Navy, Bannana Republic, Piperlime, and the Athleta. The news caused a media frenzy as people were applauding the brand for raising the standards and rewarding their employees with increased pay. Internally as well the brand reconstructed it’s employee training program, removing the stigma of Old Navy employees coming to work just for the pay and experience. They created the “Sellebrity” program in which they fostered a community of passionate, creative individuals to serve as “selling celebrities” where we assist customers and help share their story.
All of the internal reworkings of the Old Navy company culture got management teams nationwide to get passionate about the brand and really embody the company lifestyle both in and out of work. As a result, employees were more eager to come to work and enjoyed the daily tasks because they felt connected to the bigger picture behind what Old Navy was trying to promote. At our local store customers really bought into this new humanistic brand and frequently visited our store to shop with “Sellebrities” that they had made a connection with.
This experience exemplified Chapter 7 of Mark Schaefer’s book The Content Code where he discusses ways to make your brand heroic and gain the support of your audience. Old Navy and the Gap, Inc. brand were congruent in what their goals and mission was. They trained their employees to be ready to do the work and make a direct impact on customers. They uncovered their It Factor, promoting the unique and positive company culture of the organization. They used media attention to “get a break” and spread news of their internal and external changes. They encouraged retail stores to partner with local non-profits that would allow employees and customers participating to be servant leaders in the community. They marketed themselves across the nation with comedic commercials highlighting widely recognized celebrity endorsers. Above all, they allowed their company to connect in a human way with their customers.
Book source – The Content Code by Mark Schaefer
Image source – slyscope.com