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MAGIC and Aerosoles: A Perfect Fit

Imagine you come to work and on your desk sits a fortune cookie. You open it and read the message: “I will help you right now.” Hmmm. Now, you’re curious. In your mail, you notice a special invitation to attend the MAGIC workshop next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. You’re invited to learn how to “Make a Great Impression on the Customer™.” So you mark it on your calendar and plan to attend what promises to be a “Magical Experience.”

This was a common scene at the Aerosoles corporate offices last summer. Beth Sharp, Senior Vice President, Human Resources says, “We wanted to create some mystery and fun around the MAGIC initiative.” She adds, “We used MAGIC tricks, glitter, the fortune cookies, and specially designed invitations to entice our employees to attend the training. Once a few groups experienced MAGIC, everyone was asking when they could go.”

Aerosoles, or Aerogroup International Inc., was founded in 1987 by Jules Schneider, President and CEO. Jules’ vision was to create a woman’s shoe line that would be both comfortable and fashionable. Capitalizing on this niche, Aerosoles has grown to a $180 million company. It now has 76 stores around the country, over 500 sales associates and 135 corporate staff. Jules says, “Our commitment to quality, comfort, style and superior customer service – all at a reasonable price – will help us keep our customers loyal.”

It is this commitment that led Aerosoles to Communico and MAGIC. Beth says, “We’ve reached a place where we need to take better care of each other and commit to communicating, respecting and valuing the contributions that we all make in the growth of the company. MAGIC has been such a success for us because it fits perfectly with our work in creating and living by our mission.”

Beth continues, “We never saw MAGIC as a one-time event for our employees to experience. Rather, we planned it to be part of an overall effort to reinforce our culture.” To that end, members of the management team spent a day with Communico to develop a vision for the training initiative: To be a favorite brand by leading with exceptional products and service. “After the first two programs,” says Beth, “there was a buzz and everyone was using the MAGIC language, supporting each other and reinforcing the skills and attitude. Anyone who has completed the program has championed its message.” In keeping with Aerosoles’ vision and value statements, some of these changes are keeping MAGIC alive:

  • MAGIC will be rolled out to stores all over the country
  • MAGIC is a part of the hiring process – Aerosoles has developed questions that get at the heart of respect, communication, influence and accountability – and the new hire orientation
  • MAGIC concepts will be part of the performance review process

Beth says, “We discovered MAGIC was the perfect forum for each and every employee, regardless of their role. It is all about respect, passion and creativity – the cornerstones of our culture.”

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