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Stormy Simon: Executive, Innovator, Social Media Wizard

ImageThe first thing people ask Stormy Simon is "Is that your real name?" Yes, it is. Her parents christened her Stormy after a character in one of her father's favorite books. That's not the only thing unique about Ms. Simon, however; in 2013, Stormy Simon was named the co-President of Overstock.com, adding a capstone to her career at Overstock that has included two Vice Presidency roles as well as Chief of Staff to the CEO. Her work at Overstock.com is notable for its multiple achievements, including adding entertainment media to Overstock.com's portfolio, restructuring its Customer Care and Personal Care departments, and launching herself as the public face of Overstock.com's commercials.

Customer Care: Raising the Bar, Reaching the Top

One of Stormy Simon's most notable accomplishments at Overstock.com was the complete restructuring of its Customer Care program, an initiative that led to Overstock.com receiving its first ranking as one of the top five customer service departments in the United States in 2006. Overstock.com has remained on that list of top customer service departments ever since.

Simon followed her Customer Care initiative with a similar overhaul of Overstock.com’s Partner Care program, ensuring that everyone who interacts with Overstock.com gets a personalized, top-level service experience. To quote Overstock.com Chairman of the Board Patrick M. Byrne: “If you want to make your company customer-centric, just take the most stubborn, unbending, hard-headed, customer-loving employee you have, and put her over customer service. The company gets customer-centric quicker than you ever thought possible.”

Expanding Overstock's Mission: Books, Music, Videos and Games

It was Ms. Simon's innovation that led to the development of Overstock.com's Book, Music, Video & Game department in the early 2000s. This allowed Overstock.com to compete more effectively with other online retailers, specifically Amazon. Simon was prescient enough to recognize consumers’ growing interest in purchasing media online, a decision which has reaped numerous benefits for both her customers and her company.

Commercial Endeavors: Becoming the Face of Overstock.com

At the same time as Stormy Simon was bringing multimedia into Overstock.com’s fold, she also took on the job of writing, producing, and starring in Overstock.com's commercials. Stormy Simon essentially became the face and voice of Overstock.com, inviting customers to share in Overstock.com's deals by reminding them that "it's all about the O."

Remember -- in the early 2000s, advertising was dominated by quirky corporate mascots, from the Quiznos "spongmonkeys" to the Geico gecko. By deciding to become the public face of Overstock.com, instead of turning over the marketing to a puppet or comic character, Stormy Simon let customers know that Overstock.com was all about person-to-person contact and one-on-one customer service.

In the "All About Overstock with Stormy Simon" ad, for example, Ms. Simon explains how to use the Overstock.com site to find great products at the same time that she highlights the benefits that Overstock.com provides -- like its $2.95 shipping, regardless of order size -- and gives a shout-out to Overstock.com's award-winning customer service team. It's a brilliant ad, both for Stormy Simon's clear description of Overstock.com's services as well as for its simplicity; nobody will leave the ad wondering what Overstock.com does, or how to use the site to find deals.

Social Media: Bringing a Personal Touch to the Professional

Stormy Simon's Overstock.com commercials are only one example of her ability to add a touch of personality to her corporate mission. A quick peek at Stormy Simon's Twitter account, aka @Persnickidy, shows that she understands how to be both a corporate leader and a personable individual on social media. She combines tweets about daily life at Overstock.com with reports of her trip to a tattoo convention and short anecdotes about life on her farm, where she helps raise dogs, cats, goats, horses, and ducks.

Stormy Simon is also willing to have a little fun, agreeing to let publications like MidlifeBachelor.com interview her for articles like "Stormy Simon: Woman of the Month." She understands the importance of putting a public face on her work and letting people understand that she is a real person with a distinct personality. This type of social sharing is what new media is all about; the more people know about you as a person, the more likely they are to trust your company. Overstock.com's customer value and appreciation remains high, in part because of Stormy Simon's decision to put herself out there and make Overstock.com personable.

What's going to happen next for Stormy Simon and Overstock.com? We can't say for sure, but we look forward to seeing what Ms. Simon has planned, both for the future of Overstock.com and for her own work in social media.

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