At this week’s Retail Week Conference, Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire told delegates that they need to improve innovation in order to remain competitive and that retailers will need to recruit people with a “real point of difference and who understand brands” because it is a different skill to those who trade the business.
As well as recruiting for technologists who can lead innovation recruiting into media executive jobs is vital. Retailers should carefully consider who their Editor-in-Chief is. Having someone who “understands brands” and can oversee an e-commerce site’s content will be key to the success of an e-commerce player. As Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey pointed out 18 months ago, “We are now as much a media-content company as we are a design company, because it’s all part of the overall experience.” Today, Burberry walked away with the Oracle Retailer of the Year Award at the Retail Week Conference.
David C. Edelman also wrote about this in the Harvard Business Review, shortly after Bailey’s comment: “If you’re a retailer and you’re not generating a non-stop flow of customized, interactive content, the writing’s on the wall: Publish or perish. Publishing has become an essential tool for keeping customers close as they pursue their decision journeys on the way to purchase.” (See Martin’s earlier blog for further insight on this.)
Retailers are now creating media, whether it’s video, blogs, tweets or podcasts. Thus they need someone who lives and breathes content to work hand-in-hand with the Product Directors, the CTOs and the Directors of Analytics to drive innovation.