GRADUATE LEADERSHIP FALL 2013 PROGRAM NEWSLETTER
PASSING THE TORCH As the 2.0s and 2.1s prepare to land, they turn to the 3.0s and 3.1s to carry on the legacy of Full Signal and the Graduate Leadership Program (p. 2). Bernard le Duc shares his thoughts with the GLPs on leadershi p, career advice and much more (p. 4).
Amazon to launch a set top box? We discuss their rumoured expansion into the TV space (p. 12).
Fall 2013 LEAD EDITOR/ DESIGN:
Timothy Cheung Anne-Claude Gendron Jaclyn Leebosh Maha Matin Will Robertson Krista Wymenga
Bernard le Duc Kevin Campbell Lucy Gao Rahim Lalani Jaclyn Leebosh Maha Matin Aized Sethna Krista Wymenga
Editorsâ€™ Note: Long time no see, Full Signal readers! This issue, we sat down with Bernard le Duc (EVP, Corporate Services) and Kevin Campbell (Director, Member Services at Virgin Mobile) to discuss their career paths and advice for GLPs (p. 4 and p. 10). We also explored the growing trend of wearable technology (p. 6), got an inside scoop on life at Virgin Mobile (p. 8), and much more. As many of the 2.0s and 2.1s land in January, it is time to pass on the torch and recruit the next generation of Full Signal writers and design assistants from the 3.0s and 3.1s! Please reach out to Samantha Brown directly (email@example.com) if you would like to join the team.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, The Full Signal Team
What is Full Signal? Full Signal is a bimonthly newsletter published by Grads in the Graduate Leadership Program. We feature articles on the telecom industry, interesting stories, as well as profiles of our managers, directors and peers.
Table of Contents aa
3 4 6
Updates from the GLP Team One-on-One with Bernard le Duc: EVP, Corporate Services at Bell Wearing Your Phone
7 8 10 12
Thoughts to Munch On Your Virgin Mobile Backstage Pass Spotlight on Kevin Campbell: Director, Member Benefits at Virgin Mobile Retail Domination from A to Z
Updates from the GLP Team We hope everyone has been having a great fall and are looking forward to the upcoming holiday season! It’s been a busy and exciting time for our Graduate Leadership Program. We are in the last stages of completing all final round interviews for the 2014 Grad Team and are so excited to have hired 34 candidates so f ar. ank you to everyone for all of your help and support during this process – we couldn’t have done it without you! As always, our team is here to support you! If you need any help along the way, feel free to reach out anytime either by email, text, IM or Cheers! a call. Tegan, Jill & Pat " cia
e team has been working hard on a few areas: Planning for our new Intern program and all campus info sessions in January Organizing fun events for the grads Check out the 3.0s at their Virgin Day experience (bottom) Final landing and rotation planning for our 2.0s, 2.1’s and 3.1’s! Grads can now attend manager road shows for the final landing positions to learn about the available positions. We encourage grads to attend to learn more about these fantastic opportunities. Hiring a new Career Edge intern on the Leadership Development Team!
October & November GLPs, Happy (Belated) Birthday! 10.8 Ann | 10.18 Rabia | 10.24 Iris | 10.26 Jaclyn | 10.29 Anne 11.5 Ashley | 11.8 Christina | 11.11 Ranji | 11.13 Patricia & Fabienne | 11.15 Olivia | 11.27 Aized
ABOVE: Bernard is pictured next to the Creekbank campus (right), home to many of his team members.
One-on-One with Bernard le Duc, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services As the leader of BCE’ Inc.’’s Corporate Services sector, Bernard supports many teams and wears various hats. In this issue, he shares his thoughts on leadershi p, Corporate Services and Bell with the GLPs. Interviewed by Anne-Claude Gendron A day in the life... Q: How would you describe your job in five words or less? A: Since my role oversees many different areas, I have a few words for each! • Corporate Security: Managing risk • Human Resources: People, talent and development • Real Estate: Critical facilities management, efficiency and employee experience • Communications: Community and social responsibility Q: What is your favourite part of your job? A: Without a doubt, people development! Seeing people doing well and knowing that you can have a hand in facilitating that—that’s FUN! Q: Describe your most memorable day at Bell.
A: There are too many memorable days at Bell to only pick 1. However, I do have a memorable moment: Bell’s 100 Day Plan. It’s memorable to me, because it was a little over 3 months of hard work where we had the opportunity to change the company, create our own wishlist and steer Bell where we wanted it to go. It also allowed me to see the transition from the old Bell to who we are today and I am very proud to have been part of it. Q: Overseeing HR, Communications, Corporate Security and Real Estate at Bell Canada, Bell Media and BCE must be challenging! What is the key to juggling so many different hats? A: Having an amazing, strong and competent team—that allows everything else to take care of itself. My role is to offer executive support, remove roadblocks and help them understand the business context to drive the best results.
Q: At the start of your career, where did you anticipate you’d be at this stage in the game? A: I had a plan! I would pursue a degree in engineering and then get an MBA. I wanted to start my own company after that or take a position as a business unit head. However, I ended up working 7 years in an engineering position before doing my MBA and never did start my own business. Life doesn’t always work out as planned—sometimes it’s even better! Q: What is your favorite activity to relax after work? A: I have a passion for sailing, so in the summer that’s usually what I do to relax. Unfortunately, in Canada, we can’t sail all year round, so in the winter, I like to keep active by playing squash. Most recently, I started dabbling with photography which
I can practice all year round!
Corporate Services Q: What’s the biggest challenge you feel Bell—or more specifically, Corporate Services—faces, and how do you inspire your employees to meet it head on? A: Doing more with less! Our challenge is to have a lean team that delivers worldclass projects. This is a steep task and that is why motivation is important. We remind everyone on our team of everything we achieved until now, all the awards we have received, and all the other companies who visit us to see how we did it.
Q: How do your international experiences influence your leadership style? It allows me to be more flexible. I’ve worked in different industries and different countries, so I’ve seen things done differently. Q: What resources would you recommend to someone aspiring to be a better leader? Do you have specific reads to suggest to the GLPs? A: I would suggest 3 books:
1) The Leadership Pipeline: How to build the leadership powered company by Ram Charan. It discusses what you need as a leader at different steps in your career and how “Our challenge is to your role changes as you move forward. have a lean team
In his spare time, Bernard enjoys sailing during the summer and squash during the winter.
Q: The incorporation of Q: Looking back, what would you do difAstral to Bell was a big ferently if given the chance? that delivers piece of your team’s work 2) Pyramid Principale by A: I try not to have any regrets—it’s a policy world-class these past few months. In Barbara Minto (used in of mine. If I really had to pick something, projects.” your opinion, what is the McKinsey Lessons). maybe I would have done my MBA earlier, key element necessary to It’s all about communicabut then I wouldn’t have had all the same welcoming a whole new tion and how you struc—Bernard le Duc experiences. team to Bell? ture your arguments and A: I think the key to the presentations. However, it Q: What do you believe are the three most successful integration of is very hard to find! important qualities of a young leader? Astral’s team was including Astral leaders 1) Energy from the start to help mold the integration 3) The One Minute Manager by Ken 2) Innovative thinking process. For example, Anne McNamara (VP Blanchard. I suggest this one as a first read 3) Team player with relentless passion from of Human Resources at Astral) assumed a for new people managers. achievements as a group (i.e., don’t focus on hybrid role for months between Astral and yourself!). Bell which enabled her to understand both Reflection groups. We wanted to focus on the strengths For Fun of both businesses and common values to Q: How and where do you find inspiradrive the integration. Our strategy appears tion? Q: What did you want to be when you to have worked: at the first Bell Media A: I find inspiration from different sources: grew up? townhall in Montreal, Bell and Astral team I like to talk to different people about their A: I wanted to own and run a diving shop, members could both recognize their groups views on a subject. I do readings and find preferably based in the Middle East where I in the presentation. data. I write everything down could escape the cold! to make it easier and to let it Q: Where do you see this company 20 all simmer for a while! When Q: If you had no obligations years down the road? I get an idea, I bounce it off and no financial or skill “I try not to have A: There will always be a need for high level a few key people (those who constraints, what would communication products, and there is defiany regrets—it’s a your dream job be? I trust won’t laugh!) who can nitely space to create value for the customer. give me constructive feedpolicy of mine.” A: I would be a writer of However, I believe that it is the product back—the key is to find these contemporary fiction. I actudelivery that will be very different as our trustworthy people! ally studied English when I industry is always evolving. The challenge —Bernard le Duc did my International Baccahere is to keep moving with the technoloQ: What is the biggest risk laureate in high school and I gies and constant changes. you’ve taken? always dreamed about creating great novels. A: I have taken 2 big risks in my life. The Leadership first was quitting my job to do my MBA, Q: If you could trade places with one perbut now, looking back on it, it wasn’t that son for a day, who would you choose? Q: Who has been your best mentor? much of a risk. It did seem like one at the A: I would have loved to be a rock star. I’d A: In one of my previous jobs, I had a time, though. The second was changing trade places with Mick Jagger when he was colleague who not only coached me, but industries: over the years you gain so much at the top of his game in the 90s. pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. knowledge about an industry, so when you I think he saw more potential in me than I head into something totally different that’s Q: Habs or Leafs? did. I learned that you can always surprise definitely a risk. Now it’s hard to imagine A: HABS for sure! I was introduced to yourself. starting all over again in another industry. hockey by going to their games!
Wearing your phone In a world of ever-increasing convenience, wearable hardware now takes the stage.
Article by Timothy Cheung
The idea of augmented reality—where an Google Glass isn’t the only wearable techexperience of the real-world environment nology that has been making appearances is supplemented by computer generated recently. 2013 saw the rise of the smartdata and sensory input—has been around watch, a device which brings apps onto a for decades. In 1966, MIT began developmedium directly attached to the user in ing The Sword of Damocles, the world’s order to create a more seamless integrafirst augmented reality head-mounted tion with the user’s experiences. Following display; however, its Pebble Watch’s wildly successformidable weight and ful Kickstarter crowdfunding “You snap a photo campaign, which raised more appearance prevented it from reaching comthan ten times its initial funof your food and mercialization. More draising target and became share on Instagram the most funded project in recently, augmented reality has made its way the history of Kickstarter, without having to into handheld screens. larger companies realized take out a phone or the potential market of this The Yelp app has a feature called Monocle, form of wearable technology. camera.” which superimposes resSince then, larger players taurant ratings, reviews, have launched or announced and information onto the phone’s camera their own versions of smartwatches, such real-time. Qualcomm envisions a new as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, and others era of mobile gaming through its Vuforia are rumoured from Google and Apple as app, which uses real items and surfaces well. Annual sales of wearable devices are to supplement the gaming environment. projected to reach 485 million units by These forms of augmented reality, however, 2018, according to market-research firm limit the superimposition of information ABI Research. In its Kickstarter campaign, to handheld screens, and companies large Pebble cited potential uses such as a biking and small are betting on a throwback to computer to track speed, distance, time, the early days as the next progression of and elevation, notification for social media augmented reality: wearable technology. and incoming calls, and checking for bus arrival times. The Galaxy Gear adds to At the forefront of recent wearable technolthis with voice commands, an integrated ogy is the Google Glass, a smartphone that camera, and a voice recorder. can be worn like regular glasses. Many of Google’s existing applications are inteAs with all disruptive technologies, there grated into the device, such as Now, Maps, are early resistors. One of the main conGoogle+, and Gmail. Imagine being lost in cerns surrounding wearable technology a new city, but knowing exactly where to is privacy, especially around the etiquette go as Glass overlays a path in front of your and ethics of using these devices in public. vision to direct you to the restaurant you’re A bar owner in Seattle has already banned looking for. On your way there, you take a Google Glass in his establishment, even preview of the restaurant’s menu and learn before the device’s launch, citing that his that the place has one of the best cannolis bar is a private place. Many areas in Las in town based on visitor reviews, all while Vegas will not allow Glass. In the UK, drivwalking and without having to look at a ing while wearing Glass will be banned and screen. At the restaurant, you snap a photo deemed careless driving. of your food and share on Instagram without having to take out a phone or camera. Yet others have voiced their concern about This is the future that Glass promises: a being recorded and identified through world without handheld devices. facial recognition by strangers in public.
Google Glass, pictured above on the runway at New York Fashion Week, is making headlines as the first ““wearable computer”. All of these concerns are legitimate. Although Google has tried to address some of these concerns by not allowing facial recognition software on the device and making the act of taking photos conspicuous (you need to tap the Glass or tell it out loud to take a photo), these blocks will only stop the average user. For example, one hacker has already bypassed the facial recognition block by rebuilding a new operating system and installing software that creates a summary of commonalities shared by the scanned person and the user, such as mutual friends and interests. Likewise, another hacker has created a program that allows the user to take a photo with merely a wink of the eye. Despite the legitimacy of the concerns surrounding privacy, there will continue to be more and more adopters of Glass and other wearable technology for one simple reason—the convenience and experience of wearable technology outweighs the intrusion to privacy. The advent of social media has proven that people are highly willing to adapt to encroachment on their privacy in exchange for a better social experience. It is not a big stretch of the imagination to envision a future where people browse the names of strangers while waiting for the subway, just as some of us browse the list of names in a Facebook event today. Bell has a significant part in all of this. As users integrate more closely with augmented reality through wearable technology, Bell’s network will play an increasingly important role in their lives. With the largest and fastest network in Canada, Bell is poised to take full advantage of the future of wearable technology.
Thoughts to munch on An Eid away from family underscores the importance of culture in shaping one’’’ s identity. Article by Maha Matin Despite this not being the first Eid (read: “eeed”, with a soft “D”) spent away from my family in Pakistan, the degree to which I missed Eid food in particular was significantly higher. I think I speak for at least most South Asians when I say Eid, the way we celebrate it, is nowhere near as grand or glamorous as other religious festivals such as Christmas or Hanukah. What really makes it feel like Eid are the customary visits to relatives you haven’t seen since last Eid, the glass bangles that insist on breaking and cutting you throughout the day, the distribution of “Eidi”—money or gifts given to the kids (I apparently no longer fall into this category), and, well, the food. Breakfast is usually sweet sawaiyan, vermicelli cooked for hours in milk, nuts and cardamom, preceded by the customary left-right-left air kisses and hugs that continue throughout the day. This Eid found me in Creekbank with Komail, both of us confused and unsure of whether it was Eid or not (the date varies: it is determined by the Lunar calendar), the Hakka Chinese lunch we grabbed being the most festive thing I did all day. No desserts, no wishings, no family, no paisley shaped mehndi (henna) adorning my hands—and the day was over. The initial dread, which turned later to excitement at independence and eventually a sad lull over being on your own, has now settled itself into a deeper appreciation of the traditions left at home and a desire to incorporate them into routine, so as not to allow that part of me to wither away. The realization as to how integral culture can be in the nourishment of your soul hits most at the thought of losing it. Political misfortune creates countless numbers of those who are stripped of their customs; not being allowed to express them freely translates to not being able to express one’s individuality. Luckily being in Canada where every culture is revered as highly as the next, such a path has not befallen me yet, and the missed opportunity to uphold the basic tenants of who you are and where you came from becomes a regrettable one. I can see no better way to amend my ways than focusing on a new weekend achievable—cooking up a Pakistani storm replete with meat and spices.
ABOVE: Vermicelli pudding is an Eid favourite.
A behind-the-scenes glimpse into the history, culture and life at Virgin Mobile. Article by Jaclyn Leebosh
was new to the business world. Today, with over 200 companies across 5 continents, Richard has enjoyed remarkable success. One of his earliest accomplishments took the form of Virgin Records, under which he signed the Sex Pistols and released Mike Oldfield’s debut album Tubular Bells, the theme song from The Exorcist. To encourage creativity, he purchased a huge mansion where aspiring artists hung out, swam in Richard Branson (yes, that's really him) his pool and recorded music when made his Virgin Brides debut in 1996. they had that moment of inspiration. Other homeruns include the VIRGIN MOBILE COMES TO CANADA 1984 creation of Virgin Atlantic Airways (ice cream on board!), the In 2005, Richard focused his en1993 introduction of Virgin Trains trepreneurial eye on Canada, (ah yes, effortless travel) and the identifying the need for a “No 2004 launch of Virgin Galactic Catch” mobile carrier. In true (Grad field trip to space, anyone?). Branson fashion, he appeared for THE MAN BEHIND THE BRAND the launch of Virgin Mobile with As a humble entrepreneur, Richa bang, ziplining in a superhero ard admits that not all his ventures Believe it or not, Sir Richard Brancostume through Yonge and Dunwere successful. Virgin Brides, for son, one of the world’s most sucdas Square. In 2009, Bell acquired example, did not reach the Happily- Virgin Mobile Canada and, in 2010, cessful entrepreneurs, is a high Ever-After ending he envisioned school dropout. Struggling with the Member Benefits program was when he got the idea to start a wed- born, enhancing the brand experidyslexia, Richard left his studies at ding planning company by chatting ence with ultimate VIP access and the age of 16 to take his first shot with a stressed out bride-to-be on at business, starting a student-run sweet deals for its Members. Commagazine called The Student. Hot on an airplane. Nevertheless, Richard bining these perks with the newest the heels of this first successful ven- gave the concept a shot and even phones and hottest plans on (the appointed the lady from the plane ture, his entrepreneurial spirit led best!) Bell network, Virgin Mobile as CEO. Moral of the story: have him to build today’s international brings a unique offering to the Caempire known as the Virgin Group, your business ideas ready, Grads… nadian telecom industry—one that a name that was chosen in Richard’s Sir Richard might just take you up we are proud to have as part of the humble beginnings to reflect that he on it! Bell family. Who would’ve thought that a telecom provider would fly its clientele on a private plane to a VIP Freefest experience, have Lady Gaga pick up her phone mid-concert to invite them backstage, and hook them up with sweet deals at their favourite stores? When you think of an experience-driven brand, think Virgin—an international entity that is not afraid to do things differently. As you walk into the headquarters of Virgin Mobile Canada, you’ll want to let your hair down and leave the word customer at the door— because with Virgin, It’s Better To Be A Member. Let’s take a behindthe-scenes look into the brand that adds a red hot stripe to the BCE umbrella.
3 GENERATIONS OF VIRGIN GRADS Wonder what it’s like to work at Virgin Mobile Canada? Let’s hear from Grads who are currently rocking it on the red side of the fence! RAHIM LALANI, 1.0
Rotation title: Channel Execution Specialist Highlight of my role: Setting up the Virgin prepaid to postpaid (P2P) acquisition program end-to-end, including the overall strategy, direct marketing tactics, reporting/analytics and improving the Member experience in the process Why Virgin? After rotating at Virgin Mobile and landing here full-time, I can confidently say that it is an amazing place to work. The brand itself is irresistible in nature and lends itself to so many exciting possibilities!
KRISTA WYMENGA, 2.0
Rotation title: Coordinator - National Sponsorship, Events, and Live Experience Highlight of my role: I’ve traveled to Montreal, Vancouver and Washington, seen the production of massive music festivals from the ground up, watched Members be truly grateful for their VIP experience and saw favourite artists like Macklemore from the side of the stage. Why Virgin? By working with smaller teams, you get a lot more responsibility from start to finish—you make decisions, run with ideas and get to present findings on your projects.
LUCY GAO, 2.1
Rotation title: Web Content Analyst Highlight of my role: Learning new tools and programs to use for effective digital marketing. Why Virgin? From the moment you walk in the doors of Virgin Mobile, you immediately feel the entrepreneurial spirit—the youthful energy of the office is contagious!
JACLYN LEEBOSH, 2.1
Rotation title: Marketing Specialist Campaign and Training Highlight of my role: I get to wear two hats daily—one moment I’m leading a deep dive on various Campaign priorities, and the next I’m running French training sessions and onboarding new dealer locations. Why Virgin? Virgin is the perfect example of a “work hard, play hard” culture—there is great emphasis from the Virgin leadership team on maintaining a healthy work-life balance while enjoying a fast-paced, challenging and invigorating environment.
MAHA MATIN, 2.1
Rotation title: Pricing Specialist Highlight of my role: The rush from competitive pricing scrambles! Why Virgin? You get the feel and experience of a smaller, close knit company, while enjoying the perks of being part of a large one.
AIZED SETHNA, 3.0
Rotation title: Marketing Content & Execution Specialist Highlight of my role: I get the inside scoop on all the Virgin offers before the public does! Why Virgin? My team is young and super energetic, but so is everyone else in the office! The culture is loud, fun and everyone is so approachable that I am able to branch out to other parts of the business and learn new things.
CALL CENTRE NINJAS
The 3.1s are currently completing their call centre rotation in Customer Care and have delivered an excellent Member experience, achieving the highest Fizzback score on the floor within their first few weeks. When asked Why Virgin, they described the vibe as fun, young at heart, spunky and different; a culture they embraced by suiting up as Virgin Mobile Ninjas on Friday the 13th, indulging in a Candy Day to satisfy their sweet tooth and dressing up in style for Halloween. Who knew that work could be so much fun?
COME AND VISIT! Virgin Mobile Canada is, without a doubt, a unique gem nestled in the downtown Toronto core. So come on over to 720 King Street West to meet the team, have a chat and play some ping-pong. And don’t forget to snap a pic in the photo booth on your way out…one can never have too many selfies! Pictured above (from top left): Krista Wymenga, Lucy Gao, Aized Sethna, Rahim Lalani, Maha Matin, Jaclyn Leebosh, Erica Edwards, Vicky Pham, Meghan Bourne, Stephen De Angelis, Ross Yellowlees, Aleksandra Jeremic, and Hanisha Kapadia
SPOTLIGHT ON KEVIN
DIRECTOR, MEMBER BENEFITS AT VIRGIN MOBILE Kevin’s’ previous experience within the media and entertainment industries helped pave the way to mobility, – or as he calls it, “ the “new entertainment business””. His experience has helped to define and foster the direction of the Member Benefits program at Virgin Mobile, which encompasses Sponsorshi ps, Partnershi ps, and National Events. Here’s an inside scoop on his past work experience and what he does now. Interviewed by Krista Wymenga
Q: Where did you work before Virgin Mobile? A: I worked at Sony Music for many years, and formed wonderful relationships within the industry in Canada and internationally. After Sony I went to Live Nation in the Global Touring Division, whose global headquarters are in Toronto. This division is solely responsible for producing all aspects of global tours from production, to financing, legal, and international marketing (where I worked). They continue to only work with global superstars, including U2 and Lady Gaga among others. Through this time I made a connection to the CMO at Virgin Mobile—who was looking for ways to engage the base through pop culture, partnerships, events and sponsorships. In 2010, I jumped at the chance to work in mobility and at a Virgin business. Q: What is the music industry like? A: It is continually evolving, fuelled by the challenges and opportunities in technology. Music is all about marketing people as a brand. It’s not like a can of
Coke. People have emotions and personalities that have to be managed and so it’s constantly changing depending on the audience, market, and many other factors that are hard to control. The industry has been in decline. Labels don’t make the money they once did, so quite often there isn’t the time or resources to develop artists. Among other things, agents and managers look to touring and sponsorships to drive revenue, and so securing sponsorships is now very competitive. We compete against financial institutions, beverage companies, car companies, credit cards, and the list goes on. I saw where the music industry was and decided to shift to telecom—a growing industry still involved in the media/entertainment space. Q: What advice do you have for those who want to get into the music industry? A: First, you need to be as close as possible to the talent. It starts with the artist, then the manager, then agent, label, promoter, etc. Take a spoke wheel of a
bicycle. The spokes all connect to the middle – that is where the manager is, and that is where the decisions get made. When deals are made within a particular spoke—sponsors, film or TV content, or touring for example, the manager represents the artist in these decisions and the manager also takes a cut on each of those spokes. I’d also suggest looking towards broader media industry opportunities that perhaps cross into music, such as Bell Media (e.g., MuchMusic, MTV). Q: So how do you maintain your connections and relationships you built while in the industry now that you aren’t in it? A: It’s funny, I feel more involved with the music industry at Virgin Mobile than when I was working with the label. We have relations with producers, agents, managers, labels and promoters. We’ve tried to eliminate third party agencies, where we can, and prefer to work directly with these groups. Virgin Mobile is now taking proposals from these groups on a regular basis. It’s the best position to be
in. As I previously mentioned, wireless is the ultimate marketing medium and smart managers are starting to recognize this. Q: What is your view of Virgin Mobile? A: Virgin Mobile is a great company. Virgin is a global brand with roots in pop culture, and so we pride ourselves on being young at heart, a little cheeky, irreverent, and fun. For our group, it’s about creating great brand affinity, building positive word-of-mouth, and adding great value. You’ve heard of 4Ps—our group is about the 4Es: Exclusive, Experience, Emotion, Engagement (I borrowed this from my former work life)! It’s about providing great experiences for Members to enhance loyalty and drive consideration for our products and services. We work with globally recognized brand compliant companies to provide exclusive offers, deals and VIP experiences. We like to pose the question: “What has your phone company done for you lately?” Q: What is the next step for Member Benefits? A: We developed our benefits program around four key pillars: Music, Entertainment, Fashion and Travel. We also pride ourselves on partnering with the global leaders in each of these categories like H&M, Aldo, Cineplex, Disney, BMW/Mini, Expedia, Lady GaGa and more. Through these associations, we have can build offers and showcase why it’s better to be a Member. Our results so far show the program is resonating with Members, but we have more to do. We want to find better ways to leverage all aspects of BCE. For example, we could look at providing Members unique offers and experiences through sport as a fifth category. We are also working to build stronger relations with Bell Media likeminded brands, such as MuchMusic, in order to elevate our proposition through their channels. The Benefits program is only three years old—I feel we are just beginning—and we have an amazing (small) team dedicated to continually challenging the status quo. Q: Lastly, what has been your favourite moment over the years—if you can pick just one? A: While at Virgin, there are so many
8-year-old Abbey is all smiles in the Calgary Herald with her legitimate Garth Brooks tickets from the Virgin Mobile team. great moments where we are witnesses talking with one mother and her little to Members connecting with the Virgin girl, who was crying. We approached the Mobile brand experience, such as Memofficer and mother. The mother menbers meeting Katy Perry, or having lunch tioned her tickets were fake and asked if with Richard Branson at the F1 private we could somehow help to get the little Virgin Racing suite, or flying in a private girl just a concert t-shirt plane to VFEST USA, or as she was a “big fan”. We responses from Memsaid we can do better. bers who walked the “Our group is about Given we had a few extra red carpet in LA for a tickets, we handed the litthe 4Es: Exclusive, tle girl a pair of floor seats Pirates of the Caribbean premiere screening, or Experience, and said enjoy the show! had a Muppet made of We only found out later Emotion, them! I recall one great that the press somehow Engagement.” moment at the Calgary picked up on this gesture Stampede Concert Seand the daily paper wrote ries presented by Virgin about how Virgin Mobile —Kevin Campbell Mobile, where Garth saved the day for certain Brooks performed for the first time in distraught fans. While we did not speak Calgary in years (in Alberta, our Memto the press and never intended this to be bers love country music!). Needless to a press story, the goodwill brand affinity say, tickets were scooped up in minutes. was huge—but not bigger than the look In fact, fake tickets were also sold. The on the little girl’s face when we handed night of the show at the Will Call ticket her tickets; such a great moment! I kept entry gate, we saw police talking to some the news article (which featured the little fans who had spent hundreds of dollars girl’s face with the tickets) and the note on tickets only to find out at the door we received from the girl and her family. they were fake. There was a police officer Priceless.
from A to Z
With a track record of success spanning nearly two decades, e-retailer giant Amazon prepares for new endeavours in the digital space. Article by Will Robertson Amazon set out with the goal of being the store that sells every possible product, or “every product from A to Z” (as the Amazon logo portrays). If recent rumours are true, Amazon is gearing up to add another two of its own products to their store. Citing credible sources, the media is reporting that Amazon will launch their own line of smartphones and a TV set top box to compete with the likes of Apple, Google, and cable/IPTV providers. Smartphones and set top boxes might sound like odd products to be released by the world’s largest Internet retailer, but it starts to make sense when you look at the digital ecosystem Amazon has been building. Amazon is a leading provider of e-books, digital music, digital magazines, apps, and streaming movies and TV shows. How did Amazon, best known for shipping products to your doorstep, become a leader in the digital realm? It started with the launch of the first Kindle e-reader. The Kindle opened people’s eyes to the world of e-books.
Amazon did not stop there, however: they followed up shortly afterwards with the Kindle Fire line of tablets. The Fire tablets were designed as consumption devices that work seamlessly with Amazon’s own MP3 store, Kindle Magazines, and Amazon Instant Video service. Amazon also shunned Google’s digital ecosystem “Google Play”, instead maintaining an app store of its own. Amazon continued their aggressive pricing strategy of low margin price points on their own electronic devices and the digital content they were designed to consume. You may be wondering how Amazon intends to make a profit off the Kindles and digital content when the margins are so thin. This is where Amazon Prime comes in: Prime is a $79 annual subscription service that provides Amazon customers free two-day shipping on millions of products offered on Amazon’s website. When customers subscribe to Prime, their purchasing behavior changes drastically. Impulse purchases increase and purchasing expands to
Pairing free two-day shi pping with unlimited streaming of TV and movies, Amazon Prime is a key tactic in Amazon’’s retail domination strategy.
new categories of products. Purchasing increases nearly 2.5 times over the average. Amazon has been using the low cost Kindle devices and its library of ebooks and video content as incentives to hook customers on Prime. When a customer subscribes to Prime, they instantly get access to 300,000 e-books and 40,000 streaming movies and TV shows (imagine getting Netflix for free). In other words, the low cost Kindle devices and free content help lure customers into a Prime subscription, which in turn accelerates their purchasing on Amazon in general. An Amazon smartphone or TV set top box will further the strategy of increasing the value of Amazon Prime, thus further hooking customers on purchasing products from Amazon. With companies like Apple selling smartphones at estimated gross margins of 40% or greater, Amazon is expected to slash this standard upon entry to the market. Industry analysts are predicting the Amazon smartphone—likely introduced sometime next year—to be priced in conjunction with an Amazon Prime membership. In short, smartphones and set top boxes—while exciting new products— are only pawns in Bezos’ quest for total retail domination.