Cole Haan is a global lifestyle brand providing elegant and innovative products like footwear and handbags.
After the Cole Haan rebrand in 2013, Caja Kelly, the training manager in the Direct-to-Consumer Retail Group, started creating training and team communication apps to increase employee engagement and support the brand new marketing initiative. The Yapp app's connect the retail field team and inspires conversations amongst store managers across the country.
Cole Haan has been innovating their use of Yapp with various apps for inspiration, new employee on-boarding, internal conferences, team communication, employee recognition, and internal brand marketing.
One of the company's most popular mobile apps serves as a private social network for store managers across the country. It allows the retail field team to interact with each other, recognize employees, reference key brand marketing and styling information, and always keep the brand mission in their (very stylish) pockets.
The key benefits of the team communication app include:
Inspiration: A brand-inspired initiative encourages store staff to show off their style. The app provides an outlet for them to post photos of their style and be proud of the way they show up to work. It’s also a way for the field teams to get style tips like new ways to wear our product and inspire our customers.
Employee engagement: The app provides the Training Team with a way of providing a fun, social and very feel-good aspect to work. There is an Inspiration tab where store managers share pictures or quotes that inspire them. It’s a wonderful way for them to share what’s important and what matters to them as leaders.
Internal marketing: The mobile app is a platform for the field staff to connect with the Cole Haan brand and show off that they are engaged with the brand at their stores.
Recognition: The team communication app is a great way for the retail field team to recognize their peers, stores, teams and themselves. Store managers share Inspiring Accomplishments of their team members and everyone is able to view them through the Yapp.
Caja Kelly is a Training Manager in the Direct-to-Consumer Retail department at Cole Haan, responsible for new employee on-boarding and providing product training to over 1,000 retail field employees. The retail field staff is spread out throughout the United States and Canada and come together for an annual store manager's conference.
Caja shares, “We launched Yapp for a store manager conference as a way for managers to have the schedules and meeting rooms.” They also wanted an easy way for the store managers to share photos and interact with each other during the event. The popularity of the interactive features of the internal event app inspired Caja's team to pursue a team communication app with Yapp for the store manager's to engage with throughout the year.
The Cole Haan Training team also helps onboard new retail employees, including store managers.
They realized employee onboarding apps created on Yapp could be used to distribute information to new store managers before they even started their jobs. This includes dress code, mission and values so they could get an idea of the culture and dress expectations even before Day 1. This helps address a major stress point for most new store managers: A brand style guide.
The Cole Haan Training Team started using Yapp for an internal store manager’s conference. The success of the interactive features of the app at the event, motivated them to create another app for year-round team communication and employee engagement serving as an internal social networking tool. Since then they have created a third app for new employee on-boarding and continue to create new apps for inspiring, connecting, and engaging their retail employees on the field.
Yapp has become a crucial part of Cole Haan’s retail employee connection to the brand, peer communication and product styling initiatives - appreciated by both the corporate training team and the field retail team.