Written By: Ashley Hill

To ensure a compelling post for this assignment, I wanted to monitor a brand that truly understands how to accomplish transparency, growth and customer satisfaction through utilizing social media platforms. Considering that I am a huge fan of fashionable shoes, I decided to track Zappos.com. Zappos is an online shoe store and clothing shop based out of Henderson, Nevada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zappos. Zappos.com has grown to be the largest online shoe retailer, and after achieving revenues of over $1 billion dollars in 2008, they were acquired by Amazon.com in 2009 http://searchengineland.com/enterprise-sem-qa-with-zappos-darrin-shamo-340180.
 
The founder and CEO of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh has worked very hard to build a brand that is not only about shoes and clothes, but rather one that focuses on the very best customer service and the very best customer service experience. Hsieh believes that your culture is your brand. “At the end of the day, just remember if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff - including building a great brand – will fall into place on its own.” said Hsieh. He also mentions that is the goal of Zappos to simply deliver happiness.
 
Hsieh defines the Zappos culture in terms of 10 core values:
 
1)Deliver WOW Through Service
2) Embrace and Drive Change
3) Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
4) Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5) Pursue Growth and Learning
6) Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
7) Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8) Do More With Less
9) Be Passionate and Determined
10) Be Humble
 
A more in depth look into the Zappos brand can be found in a slide show created by Hsieh and Tony Robbins in January 2010 http://www.slideshare.net/zappos/zappos-tony-robbins-business-mastery-011610. The slideshow does an excellent job of breaking down the culture of the Zappos brand and truly shows how they have achieved success thus far.
 
Zappos has made a commitment to transparency and therefore has taken advantage of the many social media platforms. Zappos does a tremendous job of updating post and replying to followers on twitter @zappos_service http://twitter.com/Zappos_Service and @zappos http://twitter.com/zappos which is Hsieh's primary account. In addition, Zappos have a CEO and COO Blog known as The Zappos blogs.zappos.com/blogs/ceo-and-coo-blog, in which customers and business professionals are able to comment and interact to different topics posted by Hsieh.
 
During this tracking exercise, it was my goal to monitor the different comments made by Zappos followers about customer satisfaction, find blog post mentioning Zappos service and culture and lastly track any buzz surrounding the Zappos brand using the various tracking tools.  
 
I began monitoring Zappos on Friday Feb, 5 and stop tracking on Sunday Feb, 7. I began my search by using the following search tools, twendz.waggeneredstrom.com/ and technorati.com/. It was important to me to monitor if the core values set set for the Zappos culture were being accomplished or if more work needed to be done. Below I have posted some of the post that were up on Friday.
 
 

 

It was my goal to take screen shots that would reflect a fair opinion of Zappos.com service based on the tweets of their customers. Although I kept track of the different tweets for three days I did not come across any real negative tweets from their customers. The one negative comment that I noticed is that customer was dissatisfied that they did not receive upgraded shipping, and they sent a tweet to @zappos_service letting them know this. Other than that there were no real negative tweets that I could find on twendz.waggeneredstrom.com/ . I found this to be pretty amazing that a company that services millions of people have truly found a way to capture happiness. It is true that they won’t be able to capture happiness for everyone, but their core values have definitely helped to define the type of service they will provide. Hsieh said it is important to set values that can be accomplished and delivered, and it seems that his company has embraced these values.

I also used technorati.com/ to track different blogs that mention Zappos and also to locate any buzz that is going on around Zappos. The most recent blog post that mentioned Zappos was posted a week ago. The title of the blog post is Did Amazon Overpay for Zappos. I found this article to be the Wall Street Journal blogs, and it discusses the amount that was paid by Amazon to acquire shares of Zappos http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2010/01/29/did-amazon-overpay-for-zappos/.

In addition, although published 4 weeks ago, I found an interesting article on the Read Write Start Blog http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/01/how-blogging-and-tweeting-lead.... During this article, the author mentions a quote from Hsieh that truly relates to the success and growth of Zappos and social media. He wrote “Twitter made him "a better and happier person." He asks, "What would you do differently if there were a permanent public record of what you do or say?" Hsieh argues that Twitter adds a public broadcast element that reminds him to be more positive, thankful and empathetic. He writes that those same values trickle down to the corporate culture of Zappos.” I think that Zappos understand how to reach out to their culture and truly commit to transparency because their CEO understands how the world of social media works. I’m learning that having this aspect is very important to a brand. If the executives truly understand how to embrace social media and reach out to their consumers this way, I believe that the employees will follow suit.

In closing, I feel that this assignment was truly enlightening. I was able to really learn about all the great things Zappos.com has done to build their brand and deliver on their values. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I feel that they have truly captured how to utilize social media to their advantage due to their CEO have such a great understanding of the social media world. I find myself even more so a fan now than I was before, because I understand now how much customer satisfaction and transparency truly means to their brand. I am certain that this brand will continue to grow and become more successful with the innovative leadership they possess and the drive that each employee has to deliver happiness to all of their customers. I am certain that when I order shoes from Zappos.com, I will be delivered happiness, and if not I can always have dialouge with their customer service and get the results that I want.