178 – Mindy Grossman of HSNI – From Selling to Storytelling

Editorial program commerce brought to life on many platforms with HSNI…

Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSNi, (an interactive multichannel retailer and content driven portfolio of brands, with strong direct-to-consumer expertise among its two operating segments, HSN and Cornerstone) – (bio), joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez, Marc Raco and guest host Lisa Marie Ringus, EVP and Head of Global Sales for 24 Seven (a multi-vertical global talent recruitment firm) on location in Las Vegas for Shoptalk 2017. This episode is powered by Olapic.

From selling to storytelling, being consumer centric, digital content to commerce, and recruiting the right talent

Grossman shares her impressive background in significant roles with immersive storytelling brands such as Ralph Lauren, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few, and now for years with HSNI which also offers five catalogue and ecommerce brands. She reveals how she saw explosion of mobile in other countries, realizing that the future won’t just be about broadcasting on screen, but as a part of everyone’s life. She led the transformation of the business from selling to storytelling, from what the story was vs. what it will be, and at the tipping point of best opportunity HSN has had. Tech married to media can enhance people’s lives. Transforming HSN itself plus the capacity of helping others to transform their lives. Mentoring, launching, empowering, distributed commerce. How it is important to be platform agnostic and audience centric, which takes storytelling to a whole new meaning, and to transmedia storytelling, Why HSNI does not allow the word “channel” in the business, and how channels are limiting. Being consumer centric and getting out of old behaviors. HSNI launches a product per minute, and plans their business by the minute, with a lot of complexity.

How the business started as radio station then television. But when it was done there was nowhere else to put the content. Today digital is over 50% of business, plus an incredible broadcast mechanism today. The store changes every day, and HSNI programs products as if a lifestyle network. Using content to commerce strategy and targeting as critical component. How the pace of content generation will continue to increase, and HSNI now has side-by-side content teams to run a 24-hour content flow. Much of new customer acquisition will be digital, but existing customers need attention as well. Talent is one of the most critical components of what HSNI does, and not a huge wealth of people have the specific skills, and the recruiting process has changed, recruiting more for culture than for resume, finding the right cultural gene who will fit in their culture, and how HSNI has developed a complex filter.

Creating a new direction, an “aha moment”, and cyclographics

Grossman’s intentionality of taking something that existed and taking it in another direction, how she spent her first day as CEO and why it made a powerful difference in perception, and the impact of proper infrastructure. The day she changed the chairs, and how small gestures can mean more than big gestures. That’s part of culture. Why Grossman thinks of herself as an “intrapreneur”, how she saw a fundamental foundation of innovation and creativity that had been left behind, her “aha moment” like the Trask Radio moment in Working Girl and seeing two things that go together, flipping between Food Network and HSN and Wolfgang Puck, and considering how editorial program commerce brought to life on many platforms. Seeing influencers, with a trend toward micro-influencers. A criteria of authenticity, the capacity for amplification and connection, how he biggest celebrity influencer doesn’t matter if the product isn’t relevant, launching products on Instagram, and using power of mutual social influence. Taking bets on talent and grooming people vs. using existing influence, and needing to do both. Flipping the funnel—self fulfillment is a primary need these days, giving people a sense of meaning. People want experiences, and retailers should be giving experiences which give meaning which creates loyalty. Focusing on cyclographics in consumer data to find younger people with same profile as existing customers, then find those younger people Finding people who love to shop, and love to share, as social amplifiers.

Totems, beschert, and creating impact

Totems as a child, being an adopted kid, how everything is “beschert”, looking forward as things are meant to be. Reading fast, go places out of one’s comfort zone, how deadly quiet create calm, dramatic gestures, changing lives and creating impact, and legacy, doing things because you don’t have to but want to.


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