In Brief: The Body Shop's Hiring Test; Costco's Monthly Magazine

April 2020
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At the Body Shop, Answer 3 Questions and You’re Hired

This summer, the Body Shop will become the first large retailer to adopt “open hiring,” a process by which nearly anyone who applies and meets basic requirements for an available job will be hired on a first-come, first-served basis.

As Fast Company reports, New York social enterprise Greyston Bakery pioneered the practice, which the Body Shop then emulated with a pilot program at its North Carolina distribution center in late 2019.

The Body Shop, which sells skin-care products, is skipping criminal background checks and drug tests for its job applicants, who only need answer three questions to be hired: “Are you authorized to work in the U.S.? Can you stand for up to eight hours? And can you lift over 50 pounds?”

The Body Shop says money it would otherwise spend on recruiting, screening résumés, conducting interviews and running background checks will be redirected into employee training and benefits. The company plans to expand open hiring to all of its retail stores this summer, as a permanent change.

Costco’s Monthly Magazine Popular With Members and Marketers

To help convince its best customers to continue their $120-a-year store memberships, Costco sends them a monthly magazine. The Costco Connection features original home, health and lifestyle content, along with offers for the retailer’s travel and auto services and ads for its private-label products. Sales of some Costco products reportedly have jumped 30 percent after related ads or stories appeared in the magazine, according to CNN.

With a monthly circulation of about 14.3 million copies, The Costco Connection ranks fourth among America’s highest-distribution magazines — behind two AARP publications and Parade, the Sunday newspaper insert. The magazine is part of Costco’s strategy to stand out from its competitors Amazon and Walmart by offering distinct products and services.

The Costco Connection is mailed to executive members who constitute 40 percent of Costco’s total member base. Other Costco members can read the magazine online or find print copies in the store. Located at Costco’s headquarters in Issaquah, Wash., the magazine’s staff of about 30 people includes former newspaper reporters.

Pop Concerts Now Staged to Look Good on Instagram

Thanks to smartphones and social media, concert audiences now go well beyond the fans in the seats. Shows from major artists are increasingly being designed as spectacles that will look good on Instagram. Alex Reardon, creative director, designer and partner at Silent House, a Los Angeles production group, tells The Verge that he always designs concerts with Instagram in mind.

In the past with bands like Pink Floyd, stages and lighting were designed for the worst seats in the house. Today, concert performers are filmed and magnified on huge screens, “So we went from lighting it so the person in the back can see, then for magnification, and now for Instagram, which means assuming that everyone is taking photographs all the time,” says Reardon, whose company has designed concerts for J.Lo, Katy Perry and Nicki. “Every single moment has to be thought out.”

To design concerts for Instagram, you have “to make sure there are impactful apex moments” such as a silhouette or a performer standing on a pedestal.

Toymakers Turn to YouTube Stars for Promotional Tie-ins

Kids still want toys based on popular movies and TV shows, but now they’re also looking for playthings related to their favorite YouTube stars. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the trend has toy retailers working with new kinds of companies.

Jazwares, which makes toys based on licensed properties such as the online videogame “Fortnite” and the “Peppa Pig” cartoon series, will release merchandise based on three YouTube brands this year. One is “Blippi,” an educational character for preschoolers who has more than 21 million subscribers on the video platform. “People in the toy industry are looking at YouTube brands to see if they’re going to be the new thing,” says Stevin John, the creator and performer behind “Blippi.”

“The world has changed and you will see properties ranging from ‘Fortnite’ to influencers on YouTube ... competing against movies and TV shows,” says Laura Zebersky, chief commercial officer of Jazwares.

“Three years ago, we might not have even considered [YouTube stars],” says Anne Marie Kehoe, vice president of toys at Walmart. Now, Walmart is committing store shelves to YouTube-based toys, she says.

photo credit: shutterstock

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