What I Learned Last Week From Best Buy’s CEO

Best BuySignageIf you’re a professional communicator, you’ve got a fan in Brian Dunn, Best Buy’s CEO.

In listening to him*, I learned that the man loves communicating. He places a high priority on engaging in conversations, whether it’s with customers, shareholders, business partners or employees.

He also loves his communications team. They help him fulfill his role as what he calls Best Buy’s CCO, or chief context officer, creatively. “I have a robust, dynamic, smart communications team,” says Dunn.

Spokesperson in chief
As the company’s chief spokesperson, Dunn wants the company’s 186,000 employees in 14 countries to understand what the customer is thinking. To further that goal, he conducts a quarterly town hall meeting where he lets employees set the agenda. In between, he holds smaller in-person meetings.

Dunn seized on the advantages of social media after seeing the response he got from employees on Facebook. Of his 5,000 followers — the max Facebook allows — 92 percent are Best Buy employees.

That platform led him to Twitter, where it’s also easy to make connections. He uses the vehicle to spot trending topics and says of his 10,000 followers, “I’m getting much more than I’m giving.”

In addition to Twitter’s quick exchanges, Dunn also expresses his thinking, provides more company context and spotlights employees in his Brian’s Whiteboard blog.

Tell me a story
True to his belief that Best Buy is an entertainment-related company, Dunn’s communication style favors storytelling.

“I don’t lead with numbers,” he says. Instead he creates a “compelling narrative about what people are doing with technology and how we’re enabling it.”

Four great tips from Brian Dunn
An enthusiastic communicator, Dunn has a number of tips to share with other leaders:

  • Think of yourself as your company’s chief morale officer. Dunn says the most important role a CEO has is to communicate with people.
  • Bring your communications team into the tent early. He is “committed to the notion that they are part of developing the strategic plan,” as well as executing the communications around it. “It enriches the narrative,” he says.
  • Be authentic and keep it personal. Dunn says, “If it’s not real, it gets thrown in the junk pile real fast.”
  • Rely on your communications team. Whether you’re a $50 billion company like Best Buy or not, your communicators will help you reach everyone. Because the lines have blurred between internal and external communications, professional communicators can help you navigate this transparent world.

*With thanks to the IABC Research Foundation’s “Conversations with CEOs” podcast, sponsored by Marketwire. 

Thanks to matteson.norman for the accompanying photo via Flickr.

About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at mycreativeconsiderations@gmail.com.
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3 Responses to What I Learned Last Week From Best Buy’s CEO

  1. lbstrang says:

    It’s good to hear from a CEO who has so much respect for his communications team. Thanks for the tips, which are all excellent.

  2. Pingback: What’s in a (Brand) Name? | creativeconsiderations

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