Geek Squad brings consumers online holiday help

MINNEAPOLIS: Best Buy is positioning its Geek Squad as an ally for consumers seeking timely technology - and economic - advice this holiday season. It's expanding its Geek Squad services with things like live tech support chat on its Web site, December 24 to 26, and pitching national media with the news.

MINNEAPOLIS: Best Buy is positioning its Geek Squad as an ally for consumers seeking timely technology - and economic - advice this holiday season. It's expanding its Geek Squad services with things like live tech-support chat on its Web site, December 24 to 26, and pitching national media with the news.

Consumers will be able to talk directly with Geek Squad members while they set up products in computing, home theater, and auto electronics categories, as well as view instructional videos and blogs. The retailer also recently added a "Fix or Replace” calculator to its site, which allows consumers to consider whether it makes better economic sense to buy a new item or repair an old one.

“In light of the current economic environment, we felt we had a responsibility to consumers to demonstrate that they might not be in a position to buy new [technology], but we wanted to make it easy for them to come to us for advice,” said Paula Baldwin, PR lead for Geek Squad, whose business card reads “mistress of propaganda.”

While in the past the Geek Squad participated in "face-to-face," in-person holiday initiatives, Baldwin noted that this year's effort is focused online because that's where the consumers are.

“As it relates to [this] holiday, we know people are stressed, and we felt that being available virtually was a great execution for this year, given the circumstances,” said Baldwin

The company held a blogger briefing on the new services, in addition to being “much more aggressive” about communicating services to mainstream outlets ranging from lifestyle to news media, with the support of lead Geek Squad agency, Ketchum, according to Baldwin.

It will also be promoted by Geek Squad members serving as spokespeople in regional markets.

“We're trying to reinforce everything that Geek Squad stands for in our consumers' minds [with these programs].[That] people can trust Geek Squad for unbiased advice around technology,” Baldwin said. “We had the responsibility to consumers to demonstrate that we understand where they're coming from.”

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