Building Employee Engagement through a Custom App

Macy’s Star Buzz App

Building buzz and driving engagement leading up to a major corporate event.

With more than 20,000 executives located throughout Macy’s network of stores, distribution centers and call centers as well as two corporate headquarters locations, Macy’s needed an effective way to communicate and build engagement throughout its corporate network. The solution was its annual Our Big Meeting – an internal annual meeting, with Macy’s executive leadership sharing vision and strategy, reviewing accomplishments, and recognizing excellence throughout the organization.

Large groups met in New York and Cincinnati headquarters locations, and smaller groups across the country attended via large screens in movie theaters rented for the occasion. Effective coordination was critical for success – and that included an accurate count of attendees, so a registration system was required.

The event was also designed to be interactive, with participants across locations asking questions, responding to polls and questions in real time, and sharing their own photos and comments about Our Big Meeting as well as their excitement and ideas about the coming year.

Sanger & Eby designed and developed a mobile app to manage registration and create a direct interactive channel between attendees and leadership, communicate news and solicit questions from participants, and build excitement leading up to the event. Named “Star Buzz,” the app features include interactive polls, a photo upload tool, and photo and video galleries as well as event registration and push notifications of event news and reminders. The name was designed to ensure the app would live beyond Our Big Meeting and provide a communications channel with engaged employees on a larger, longer-term scale.

To enable the use of a single code base for both iOS and Android and provide the same functionality on both platforms, we developed the app in Apache Cordova; we utilized the IONIC framework to provide a clean, streamlined user interface that reflected Macy’s corporate brand equity.

Because the app was designed for Macy’s internal use only, user authentication with appropriate security was a top requirement. We developed a custom integration between the Star Buzz app and Macy’s internal HR portal, ensuring only authorized employees could access and run the app.

Custom web services developed in ASP.NET collect app information including user comments, photo uploads, and registration data in a central SQL database where it could be managed through an easy-to-use administrative console.

Custom reporting and mass communication tools presented in an easily operated format

An internal marketing strategy generated awareness, driving users to download and install the app, then register for Our Big Meeting through it. Regular communications were pushed to users through the app, including news, announcements, reminders, and interactive polls; users were also encouraged to submit their questions for leadership to answer during the event, which helped the Our Big Meeting team ensure they were addressing priorities for the audience and building a greater connection with deeper engagement.

A “Share Your Selfies” contest the day of Our Big Meeting created a deep sense of camaraderie across the country in multiple locations, helping attendees feel their connection to the larger Macy’s organization. Hundreds of attendees submitted photos of themselves in groups both small and large.

App downloads and event registrations outpaced all expectations, and response to interactive polls and the “Share Your Selfies” contest were overwhelming. Attendees engaged on a deeper level and employee engagement rose overall.

The communication and interaction driven through use of the Star Buzz app enabled Macy’s to change the way it operates Our Big Meeting, reducing costs and streamlining operations while still generating outstanding engagement levels. Additional communications opportunities for using the app are currently being evaluated.

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We’re ready to bring your brand to life.

Sanger & Eby
501 Chestnut St. 
Cincinnati, OH 45203

Katie Krafka
Director, Client Engagement
p. 513.784.9046

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Sanger & Eby

501 Chestnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

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