Office Max Readies for Recovery With Optimistic Marketing Concepts

As the retail environment begins to show signs of life, retailers are taking an optimistic approach with marketing messaging. Known for its cause and optimistic marketing efforts, Office Max is taking a light-hearted approach to innovate and give customers something to shop about.

The company recently unveiled its first high-tech private label product line, ENGAGE, which was designed to offer customers affordable technology products and accessories that reflect the company’s tagline: Connect to the Future of Computer Technology.

Office Max launched its first campaign since 2004, citing a new moniker, “Good News for Business.”


“Marketing is focused on the future,” said Bob Thacker, VP Marketing, Office Max. “It’s really about what can be. The very nature of marketing is to be positive, and I think the last year or more, most marketing for many companies has been paralyzed — and to hold up a mirror and show people the ugly side of mankind and the economy is a mistake.”

Thacker said that optimism is a “basic, inherent philosophy,” and that the company is focused on reinforcing optimism to its customers.

In January, OfficeMax’s initiatives were dedicated to supporting the American workforce and working together to achieve professional success in 2010. The company supplemented its efforts with optimistic messaging on radio in TV spots focused on promoting a positive message about American business.

“The whole idea, our theme of ‘Work with us,’ is really about the nation getting back to work and us helping them do that,” Thacker said.

The company partnered with BusinessWeek and Fast Company to sponsor original content on their respective Web sites, where OfficeMax is sponsoring The Optimism Meter on, which is designed to measure consumer sentiments and expectations, economic statistics and market forecasts.

Thacker said the efforts are all about innovating through a bad time. “If you look throughout history, in the darkest of times, in the middle of the great plague, half the population died, but you also had Michelangelo create the Sistine Chapel and DaVinci creating amazing things that are timeless.”

Thacker also weighed in on the next generation of customer marketing and how the industry is changing. “Up until the last eight to ten years media was prescribed, you had your ‘spice rack’ [of marketing tactics],” he said. “You knew what was in it. Now there are all these spices that no one’s ever heard of before, and they’re changing all the time. It’s exciting and it’s a time to really be experimenting and seeing what things work… A wise company is playing in lots of areas and not too afraid of falling. You learn from what you do and then you keep moving.”

As social media continues to evolve as a go-to marketing tool, Thacker said it’s as important as any external communication for customer relations. “It’s the new dialogue and the way everyone is communicating and engaging and its constantly evolving.”

Thacker said companies approaching social media hastily and try to define immediate ROI can constrain the capabilities and potential of it.

Looking for more insight on The Next Generation of Customer Marketing and the best ways to message to your customers? Register for the Retail 3.0 Virtual Conference & Expo and hear from keynote speaker Mark Andeer, VP of Brand Strategy, Office Max.

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