business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Best Buy, which seems to have confounded predictions of just a few years ago that it would follow Circuit City and Radio Shack into retailing oblivion, yesterday announced its first logo refresh in almost three decades, and one that puts a lot less emphasis on the traditional price tag.

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune writes that the change reflects the company’s reinvigorated marketing strategy, which focuses on “helping improve customers’ lives through technology.”

Indeed, Whit Alexander, Best Buy’s chief marketing officer, says that the new tagline is designed to inspire both customers and employees: “Let’s talk about what’s possible.”

In other words, the goal is to be aspirational.

The company also says that its strategy is being built around its people, as it endeavors to make expert associates a cornerstone of its brand identity … on the theory that while many of the products and brands it sells are also sold elsewhere, it can turn the service component into a hard-to-replicate differential advantage.

This is easy to say, though hard to do … but I do think that Best Buy is on the right track here. I haven’t actually been to a Best Buy in some time, but effective communication of this narrative could, I think, make me inquisitive enough to go one of these days.

Then, of course, comes the hard part - delivering on the message. if it can do that, it’ll really be an Eye-Opener.

One other note: I am looking forward to seeing its new commercials, which the Star Tribune says “are narrated by actress Scarlett Johansson and directed by Errol Morris,” and “were shot in black and white except the bright blue of Best Buy employees’ shirts.”

I’m wondering if they’ll use the movie Her as a touchpoint … since in it, Scarlett Johansson was the voice of a computer operating system with which the protagonist (played by Joaquin Phoenix) becomes intellectually and emotionally intimate.

KC's View: