Hoyt Harper, Sr. VP, Global Brand Leader, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Group

It’s what every company in the world – big and small – wants. It drives revenue. Cuts expense. Extends reach. Delivers happiness. And separates winners from the losers. Companies spend billions to secure it and hold onto it and for good reason – they can lose it in an instant. And yet, it’s nearly impossible to define. I’m talking about Customer Loyalty, that ephemeral sense we all have towards brands we like and companies where we want to spend our money. How do the world’s largest organizations drive customer loyalty? How hard do they think about how to keep us coming back? Few business leaders have been more successful in driving Customer Loyalty than Hoyt Harper, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Leader, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Group. At a time when many hotels were reducing their Club offerings, Harper doubled down, investing more than $100MM to drive greater customer benefit and loyalty. What were the risks? How has it worked? (Originally broadcast 4-21-13 on The John Batchelor Show)


Lori Greiner, Shark Tank & QVC

My next conversation is with a shark. That’s right – and I’ll call her that to her face. That’s because she is Lori Greiner, inventor, entrepreneur, star on one of the hottest shows on TV – ABC’s Shark Tank – and, as if you didn’t know, the Queen of QVC. The numbers are staggering: Lori has created more than 300 consumer products; she holds over 100 patents; she has sold half a billion dollars of products on two continents, through television and the Internet. She has hosted her show on QVC for 10 years, and “Shark Tank” is the highest-rated show on Fridays, bringing in more than 7MM viewers. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Mark Coopersmith, Entrepreneur & UC Berkeley Lecturer

After years of hearing about jobs leaving our country for overseas — offshoring — there’s a new trend in American business. It’s called “reshoring.” From service industries to manufacturing, a range of incentives is leading companies to use American workers in new ways. Just this week, Apple announced it would invest some $100MM to produce some Mac computers in the US. Was this a publicity stunt for Apple or more evidence of the reshoring trend — or both? Mark Coopersmith is a UC Berkeley Lecturer on Entrepreneurship. He is also active in companies of his own, some of which are on the cutting edge of the reshoring movement. (Originally broadcast 12-16-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Dr. William Dunkelberg, Chief Economist, National Federation of Independent Businesses

With just 15 days until the Fiscal Cliff — the cocktail of tax increases and budget cuts — is scheduled to hit, businesses are asking real questions about how to plan for the future. Nowhere is this uncertainty being felt more than among our nation’s small businesses. After hearing about them throughout the Presidential campaign, they’re back, this week in a very negative report from the National Federation of Independent Business. It’s well-known and closely-followed Small Business Optimism Index showed one of its lowest readings in history in November. And things may be getting worse. Dr. William Dunkelberg is Chief Economist for the NFIB. (Originally broadcast 12-16-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Emma Macdonald, Research Director, Cranfield Customer Management Forum, UK

Who is more fickle than consumers? Fads come and go. Tastes change. As a result, marketers spend billions to keep their fingers on the pulse of consumer sentiment. Research. Analysis. Insights. And the holy grail of consumer insight is real-time analysis. How can I learn – at exactly the right moment – what the customer wants so I can offer exactly the right product? Dr. Emma Macdonald is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Cranfield School of Management – one of the oldest, most prestigious business schools in the UK. She is also Research Director of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum, that brings together pioneering thinkers from academia and industry to share best practice. She has devised new ways to understand customer thought and behavior, as close to the point of purchase as possible. If successful, it could change not just the way we buy, but the way we’re sold to. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Steve Bonadio, InnoCentive, on Crowdsourcing

We all know the drill: A problem comes up at the office — A new sales area, new potential product, new customer segment. The boss says, I don’t want the same old solutions; we need to be more innovative. And so you get a couple of colleagues, and you innovate. At least you try to. But what if instead of sharing your challenge with a couple of colleagues and benefiting from just their feedback, you shared your challenge with more than 200,000 innovators around the world. And they thought about your problem – for free – until you chose a solution from this global pile of solutions and then — and only then — you paid for the service. It’s called Crowdsourcing and it drives something called open innovation. And one company has created a marketplace to drive this organized Crowdsourcing. It’s called InnoCentive. Steve Bonadio is a vice president there, and he joins me now. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Elizabeth Cline, Author, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion”

If you’re like most of us, you have more shirts, pants, dresses, suits, shoes, ties, belts than you could possibly wear — and than you do wear. And while you don’t want — and won’t get — fashion advice from me, you may want to know that the fact you own all those clothes is not exactly your own fault. From cheap labor to cheap materials, from outlets to TJ Max, the result of the evolution in how clothes are made and sold sits in your closet. Another result comes from Elizabeth Cline, author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.” (Originally broadcast 9-8-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Dov Seidman, founder LRN

How would you like to have no boss? Instead of having a direct manager choose your priorities, how would you like to have your company’s mission as your daily guidance and — working with your colleagues — go from there? I know this sounds like a tricky infomercial — but it’s not. It’s a core business philosophy of a person Time Magazine called one of “the innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America.” It’s also how that person, Dov Seidman, runs his global company, LRN, which works with leading companies to meet their legal obligations and inspire principled performance in their operations. He is the author the transformational book “How” — it was a statement, not a question, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Dov Seidman is one of the most interesting social, philosophical and practical thinkers of our time… and he joins us now. Dov, thanks for the time. (Originally broadcast 6-30-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Diane Brady, Sr. Editor Bloomberg Businessweek

It’s certainly not often that a company’s naming a new boardmember becomes news that goes viral on the Internet. But Faceboook is not just any company. And Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is not just any new boardmember. She’s the FIRST female boardmember at the company that carries a bit of a boys club reputation. She also gains this title in the middle of another discussion that grabbed attention this week — one that Sandberg herself has helped champion: The question of whether professional women can have rewarding work-life balance. It’s been called “Having it all.” I don’t know if Businessweek Bloomberg Senior Editor Diane Brady has it all… but she surely has most of it. And she always has all the answers. She joins us now. (Originally broadcast 6-30-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Diane Brady, Senior Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

The Queen’s 60 year jubilee in England is not the only major anniversary of an institution this week. This also marks the 50 year anniversary of Wal-Mart, and yesterday the retailer held its annual shareholders meeting. It’s not the smoothest of times for Wal-Mart. Bribery scandals in Mexico. Criticism around employee treatment. And now several state pension funds are voting to oust Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke and other directors. What’s next for Wal-Mart? Bloomberg Businessweek Senior Editor Diane Brady has been reporting the story, and she’s with us now. (Originally broadcast 6-2-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Steve Coll, President, New America Foundation

If you were to list some of the world’s most secretive institutions, you surely wouldn’t be surprised to see the CIA or the Bin Laden family in the series. But how about an American, publicly-held corporation? In fact, a top Fortune 500 company. How about ExxonMobil? The same two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author who investigated the Bin Ladens and the CIA has now turned to Big Oil. Steve Coll is President of the New America Foundation, staff writer at the New Yorker and author of “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.” (Originally broadcast 5-12-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale, founder & president of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute

The background of a CEO at one of America’s best known companies, it turns out, is not exactly what we thought it was. Another CEO uses company resources to fund his personal finances. Another covers up a personal relationship. Yet another makes an improper stock trade. In all of these cases, questions like: Where was the Board of Directors? If you feel like you’ve seen this movie before — back in the days of Enron or World Comm — well, the ending of the current picture hasn’t yet been filmed, but you may be correct. You have seen this before. How is this possible? Have CEOs, corporate boards, even the American public, have we not learned how to behave and what to expect? Jeffrey Sonnenfeld teaches at the Yale School of Management. He is also founder and president of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute, and he joins us now. (Originally broadcast 5-12-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Steve Blank, Entrepreneur & UC Berkeley Lecturer

With the launching of Facebook’s $100 billion IPO bid and their stunning $1 billion purchase of the photosharing app Instagram, we have clearly hit a new high in tech excitement. But at a time when other tech launches, including Linked In, have recently come back earth, how excited should we be? And what should we be looking for next? Steve Blank has sat on the boards of no fewer than five start-ups, including Macrovision, Immersion and E.piphany. He also lectures on Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and he joins us now. (Originally broadcast 5-12-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Valerie Block, Deputy Managing Editor, NY Crain’s Business

Restauranteur David Bouley was one. And Candy entrepreneur Dylan Lauren. And Rachel Maddow. Amare Stoudemire. What do they all have in common. They have all been named to Crains New York’s 40 Under 40 — many before any us had heard of them. They are all pioneers in their fields, succeeding in their 20s and 30s the way many hope to do over their entire careers. The list is equal parts inspiring — I can do that — and humbling: I haven’t done enough yet! Here to make me feel even worse about myself is the person who oversaw this year’s list, Crains New York’s Deputy Managing Editor Valerie Block. (Originally broadcast 12-16-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Charles Duhigg, Author “The Power of Habit”

How many times, when your kid or your spouse or your friend, has done that one thing that really bothers you — have you said: “Why do you do that?” And, invariably, the answer back is: “I can’t help it.” Turns out, they’re half right. It’s not your kid or your spouse or your friend — it’s their habits. And the key is finding a way to break or change those habits. Charles Duhigg is author of an important new book: “The Power of Habit“. He argues: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. (Originally broadcast 3-10-12 on The John Batchelor Show)