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Be On Time With AK Anne Klein

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AK Anne Klein watches exude the same confident, modern appeal as the brand’s footwear. AK Anne Klein understands today's fashion trends, offering functional watches for the discerning palette. Choose tailored sling-backs for the office or sexy knee-high boots for a night out on the town, and match it with a stylishly designed AK Anne Klein watch, and you've got a look that's timelessly sophisticated. 

The AK Anne Klein 10-9089 adds just the right amount of class and timeless appeal to your ensemble. The white dial with crystal-accented hour markers looks stunning against the polished silver-tone bracelet. Make the 10-9089 your everyday watch. The AK Anne Klein customer is all about transcending trends and fads. She embraces the brand's modern sophistication in its design approach. With AK Anne Klein there's no compromising style, comfort, or function. AK Anne Klein women’s watches are simply a perfect fit.

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Nothing to Wear? Throw on a Scarf!

Now, we’re not suggesting you go sans clothing and just throw on a scarf&= ! But you can literally put on a simple white tee and your go-to pair of jeans , slip on a pair of comfy flats, then throw on a light and colorful scarf, and you’ve got yourself a look that’s effortlessly cool and pulled-together.

We’ve spotted this no-brainer of a trend on the hottest fashion mavens of Tinseltown season after season, and it’s no

Whether it’s at the airport or going out for a java fix, Hollywood’s hottest fashionistas like Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, Lauren Conrad and Rachel Bilson all know one thing; scarves are quite possibly the easiest way to throw new life into casual ensembles.

The rising temperatures call for lightweight and airy scarves, making a great transition from your winter to spring wardrobe. Try a lovely and flowy lavender scarf by Missoni with a simple tank top or a lightweight sweater for an instant pop of color, or for an edgy take on feminine, try this surreal Alexander McQueen silk scarf . These soft color palettes look particularly pretty when worn against a grey or black top for contrast.

If your style is more laid-back bohemian, opt for a bright pop of color in an overdyed Indian-style print, like this scarf by Lucky Brand. The exotic print lends such a worldly feel and the lightweight texture complements your warm-weather wardrobe impeccably.

So, next time you’re frantically searching your closet for something to wear, just throw on some basics and accessorize with a colorful scarf to get that uncontrived look that says, “I always look this good even on my off days”.

Your Culture Is Your Brand

Building a brand today is very different from building a brand 50 years ago. It used to be that a few people got together in a room, decided what the brand positioning was going to be, and then spent a lot of money buying advertising telling people what their brand was. And if you were able to spend enough money, then you were able to build your brand.

It’s a very different world today. With the Internet connecting everyone together, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not. An unhappy customer or a disgruntled employee can blog about bad experience with a company, and the story can spread like wildfire by email or with tools like Twitter.

The good news is that the reverse is true as well. A great experience with a company can be read by millions of people almost instantaneously as well.

The fundamental problem is that you can’t possibly anticipate every possible touchpoint that could influence the perception of your company’s brand.

For example, if you happen to meet an employee of Company X at a bar, even if the employee isn’t working, how you perceive your interaction with that employee will affect how you perceive Company X, and therefore Company X’s brand. It can be a positive influence, or a negative influence. Every employee can affect your company’s brand, not just the front line employees that are paid to talk to your customers.

At Zappos.com, we decided a long time ago that we didn’t want our brand to be just about shoes, or clothing, or even online retailing. We decided that we wanted to build our brand to be about the very best customer service and the very best customer experience. We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department, it should be the entire company.

Advertising can only get your brand so far. If you ask most people what the “brand” of the airline industry as a whole is (not any specific airline, but the entire industry), they will usually say something about bad customer service or bad customer experience. If you ask people what their perception of the US auto industry is today, chances are the responses you get won’t be in line with what the automakers project in their advertising.

So what’s a company to do if you can’t just buy your way into building the brand you want? What’s the best way to build a brand for the long term?

In a word: culture.

At Zappos, our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff — like great customer service, or building a great long-term brand, or passionate employees and customers — will happen naturally on its own.

We believe that your company’s culture and your company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin. The brand may lag the culture at first, but eventually it will catch up.

Your culture is your brand.

So how do you build and maintain the culture that you want?

It starts with the hiring process. At Zappos, we actually do two different sets of interviews. The hiring manager and his/her team will do the standard set of interviews looking for relevant experience, technical ability, fit within the team, etc. But then our HR department does a separate set of interviews, looking purely for culture fit. Candidates have to pass both sets of interviews in order to be hired.

We’ve actually said no to a lot of very talented people that we know can make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line. But because we felt they weren’t culture fits, we were willing to sacrifice the short term benefits in order to protect our culture (and therefore our brand) for the long term.

After hiring, the next step to building the culture is training. Everyone that is hired into our headquarters goes through the same training that our Customer Loyalty Team (call center) reps go through, regardless of department or title. You might be an accountant, or a lawyer, or a software developer — you go through the exact same training program.

It’s a 4-week training program, in which we go over company history, the importance of customer service, the long term vision of the company, our philosophy about company culture — and then you’re actually on the phone for 2 weeks, taking calls from customers. Again, this goes back to our belief that customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.

At the end of the first week of training, we make an offer to the entire class. We offer everyone $2000 to quit (in addition to paying them for the time they’ve already worked), and it’s a standing offer until the end of the fourth week of training. We want to make sure that employees are here for more than just a paycheck. We want employees that believe in our long term vision and want to be a part of our culture. As it turns out, on average, less than 1% of people end up taking the offer.

One of the great advantages of focusing on culture is when reporters come and visit our offices. Unlike most companies, we don’t give reporters a small list of people they’re allowed to talk to. Instead, we encourage them to wander around and talk to whoever they want. It’s our way of being as transparent as possible, which is part of our culture.

We’ve formally defined our 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

Many companies have core values, but they don’t really commit to them. They usually sound more like something you’d read in a press release. Maybe you learn about them on day 1 of orientation, but after that it’s just a meaningless plaque on the wall of the lobby.

We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build. You can let all of your employees be your brand ambassadors, not just the marketing or PR department. And they can be brand ambassadors both inside and outside the office.

At the end of the day, just remember that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff — including building a great brand — will fall into place on its own.

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Do you have a story about how your company’s culture has positively or negatively impacted your company’s brand? if so, leave a comment below!

You can also find more information about how we manage our company culture at Zappos at: www.zapposinsights.com

Follow me on Twitter: @zappos

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CHRISTIAN AUDIGIER, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TOUCH

Or it would seem. His nightclub here in Las Vegas is said to be thriving, and we all love the [Ed Hardy|http://www.zeta.zappos.com/brand/1394/Ed Hardy] brand, so why shouldn’t his selling of his vast empire in an economic downtown turn bring the $700 million asking price? That’s right folks, Mr. Audigier is said to be looking to sell the entire lot, that is – ten brands, including Ed Hardy, and 92 licenses. Even with the economy at what it is currently, you can bet there are interested parties – 15 to be exact, according to WWD, who ran a story on the prospective sale in its October 16 edition. Even if he sells his stakes, hopefully he will continue to design or oversee the designs, (gasp) what would Ed Hardy look like without him?

His show was also the highlight of Wednesday’s LA Fashion Week’s shows. Looks like it’s a good time to be Christian Audigier.