“Working at an agency taught me to move quickly,” says Nate Koch.
Nate has been with Kohl’s since 2011. But before that, he served as a senior media planner and buyer at an ad agency in Milwaukee. Like other SocialMedia.org members, when he moved to the corporate side, Nate brought with him the skills to communicate clearly with their agency counterparts as well as internally at Kohl’s.
“My agency experience taught me how to work efficiently and how to work with people. And that got me ready to come to the corporate side, where you rely on partnerships with different teams on a daily basis and you have to work well with people,” he explains.
Now, as the Manager of Social Marketing at Kohl’s, Nate works with a small team of four that acts more like a family.
In the past year, social media at Kohl’s has gone from being a supporting tactic to being a part of the conversation.
“We’re all very close,” he says. “I know it sounds cheesy, but since we’re moving so quickly and things are changing on us every day, you have to be able to actually like and care about the people you’re sitting with to work together.”
He says his team in Milwaukee also needs to be nimble, think quickly, and value collaboration. To stay connected with one another as well as their Senior Manager in New York, they hold short, daily team huddles and several more in-depth meetings throughout the week, often on the phone or through Google Hangouts.
“None of us are sitting at our desks in our own bubbles all day. We’re very looped into what each other is doing, and we just have to be, given how big the company is and how many things are going on.”
Nate explains that in the reactive world of social, plans change all the time.
Internally, the immediate nature of social media also makes Nate’s team the center of a lot of requests.
“Social media puts us in a place within the company where a lot of people turn to us to reach out to our customer quickly if we need to. So every day you might walk in with planned content and planned media, but there could be something that shifts so that you have to change your plans.”
He says that’s especially true now that social media is becoming one of marketing’s “main players.”
“In the past year, social media at Kohl’s has gone from being a growing supporting tactic to being a part of the initial conversation. And now, we’re one of the main players at the table as marketing ideas are being formed,” he explains.
In fact, you just have to check out Nate’s Instagram to see how close he gets to Kohl’s creative.
“Now, we’re not starting with an idea and figuring out how to make it social, but starting with an idea that has social legs to begin with.”
Nate says now a higher percentage of the content they share on social has been created uniquely for that audience. Creating personalized connections with their audiences is one of the team’s key priorities for 2016.
“If I were looking for a place to be in an organization right now, I would want to be in social.”
Now, we’re not starting with an idea and figuring out how to make it social, but starting with an idea that has social legs to begin with.
Nate says social media is becoming a bigger part of customers’ decisions, and working in it allows you to think strategically about impactful and meaningful content. Plus, it’s just fun.
“It’s a fun role to have, and it’s a very visible role. People understand what social media is, and aside from the nuances, you don’t have to explain it to them. Even better, Kohl’s has accepted and not been resistant to social, which I think, as a company, has allowed us to become a big player in the space.”
Follow Nate on Twitter and ask about what it’s like to work behind the scenes at Kohl’s photo shoots. Nate’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2015.