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Introducing our Client Solutions Lead

4 June 2021
By KultraLab

Rob Long

My name is Rob Long, and I have worked across big brand retail for the most part of my career to date. I have loved working within so many brilliant customer facing teams across the UK, Europe, and building relationships with colleagues across North America and China.

On leaving education it wasn’t my plan to begin a retail career, but a part time job became something I just loved doing – it was selling music in a record shop to fans and casual enthusiasts who wanted to hear, buy and Christmas gift the latest sounds.

Under Nipper’s authoritative guidance at HMV, I became a leader early on. I always distilled commitment, energy and ways of doing things into 3 areas; we help people, love our products and energise brilliant service always with an invitation to return.

At Virgin I learned how to excite customers in new ways with an entrepreneurial flair. I will always proudly remember creating a dedicated live music concert venue in the basement of our retail store in Manchester Arndale, introducing top and emerging local talent to shoppers, music fans and anyone who simply wanted to hang-out with us. We had so much fun in our shops!

After the iPhone had been launched in 2007, Apple began expanding their retail business globally and I was drawn in. Apple specialists were handing out personised business cards after having personalised conversations. I recall sitting in a workshop learning how to make music with Garageband on a Mac and afterwards having a tour of the store from a proud employee sharing why Apple stores were built, even down to the detail of the materials used to make them – Japanese fine grade steel walls, special maple wood tables and so much more.

I joined Apple at a time of retail re-invention. Gone (indirectly!) was profit, stockturn, costs, margin and mystery shops. The focus was enriching employees and customers lives, about building relationships. I got lucky and joined at the right time, just before iPad was launched (“it’s just a big iPod, right?”), the iPhone was starting to change the world and as Apple Watch improved lifestyle habits. I was ‘hungry and foolish’.

There was a culture at Apple that reset my thinking of my own previous retail principles and processes. Core training and fearless feedback tools were early game changers offering an unparalleled retail, and human, skills foundation. I was guided by the value of partnering with others to share knowledge every day. I learned that partnering was communication on another level – it offered insight into colleagues’ experiences, values, knowledge and self-presentation – slowing down in the moment. Curiosity became everything and it elevated your purpose. You learned to be curious how you could help your customers even better.

Fast forward a few more years and having led the world’s largest Apple Store in Covent Garden London, and leading talent attraction across Europe, I’d move on to start something new.

My retail and talent learning toolbelt was bursting and I sought opportunity to think different. So, I moved to Barcelona and joined CPM International – a global BPO focused on omni-channel customer experiences, multi-language, 24/7. As Head of Talent and Development and partner to 40+ global brands, I was able to roll up my sleeves once again, and lead in the cultural development ensuring demonstrable values and land a talent ROI map. We implemented award winning teamwork by facilitating scalable behavioural change across the business.

Now it’s 2021 and KultraLab. I met with Steve, our founder and CEO, a few years ago. We had chatted energetically about retail, optimism and shared our experiences and stories. As 2020 took its toll on me personally, I took a pause, learnt Spanish, and re-connected with Steve.

KultraLab has a brilliant team combining inspirational experiences and capability depth. Brilliant minds form a collaboration at the intersection of fusing behavioural science with the latest technologies. And now, in our rapidly changing world, these resources are pulling together to create sustainable change in future workforce dynamics, at a global scale. Looking forward, referencing all my learning to date, I had to be here!

Our solutions are centered on our technology platform. This uniquely combines functionality for businesses to connect and communicate with their entire workforce, together with personalised learning and development support in the competencies and capabilities required for high performance. We provide in-depth organisation cultural insight and benchmarking.

We augment our technology with consulting support to help our clients address culture and capability challenges and improve organisational performance. Our mix of consulting and technology is designed to enable everyone to be the best version of themselves, every day.

My current pursuit is ground-breaking, extensive research and insights into global future workforce capabilities in partnership with the World Retail Congress. Our KultraLab insights point to nine ‘capabilities’ which, if developed in strength and depth within consumer workforces will have a positive impact in addressing future skills gap and on business performance.

I can connect the dots looking back, of rich career learning experiences within vibrant, agile and reaching global consumer environments; however, I implicitly trust that the dots are connecting to my future and joining them together with the future workforce revolution here at KultraLab.

If you wish to learn more about the latest behavioural science, mobile communications, A.I. personalised learning and extensive cultural and performance analytics, please get in touch.

Find out more at https://kultralab.com or contact us at info@KultraLab.com.

All the best

Rob

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