Delivering Emotional Connections at Retail

Guest: Rich Honiball Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer, Navy Exchange

Rich Honiball, is the CMO of the Navy Exchange (NEX), which generates over $2 billion in sales through over 300 retail stores worldwide that range from a 200 square foot “Micro Market”, a 24/7 vending operation, to a 200,000 square foot flagship store “that looks like a department store attached to an electronics store attached to a home store attached to a drug store.” In this episode, you’ll learn how NEX generates extraordinary brand loyalty through user-generated content and a fanatical devotion to customer listening and customer service.

Meet the Guest

Reporting to the CEO, Honiball directs global merchandising, marketing, branding, planning, and e-commerce operations at Nexcom. Overseeing a merchandising group of 300, including sales, P&L, budgeting, planning, facilities, and systems requirements, he manages global marketing and branding strategies, incorporating consumer insights, business trends, and effective resource development. He serves as a member of the NEXCOM Executive Team, which establishes strategic goals and tactical plans to support the short- and long-term achievement of the corporate mission.

Before joining Nexcom, “he ran his own consultancy, was the former CMO for Haggar Clothing and led men’s and kids private brands at J.C. Penney. Rich is a change agent with expertise in steering the evolution of brands by integrating a company’s proven, profitable heritage with a forward-looking vision to ensure continued success. He likes to push beyond the traditional boundaries to create unexpected POSITIVE results.” (Source: Dialexa)


What You'll Learn

  • How NEXCOM serves sailors and their families around the world.
  • That 70% of NEXCOM earnings go back to MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation), which is part of the Department of Navy.
  • The marketing power of emotion-rich user generated content.
  • The advantage of controlling both marketing and merchandising as a retail leader.

Quotes from Rich Honiball

  • The funny thing is, when you’re in the merchandising role, sometimes you may question the marketing. When you're in a marketing role, you look over at merchandising and you think about how you could raise the bar. To have the opportunity to lead both at the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) is really my dream job.
  • I'm really proud of our team for how we executed our 70th Anniversary of the NEX because of how it connected with our customers.
  • These weren’t just sales to us; one was a note home to a mom letting her know that everything was ok, the other a lifetime commitment made by a Sailor.
  • We started with stories that we knew of, and “primed the pump” by then inviting our customers to join in the conversation through various channels. It can be nerve racking – will they join in and engage. In this case, the response we got was overwhelming.
  • When you have that kind of community connection, and you honor it in the right way, it just takes on a momentum of its own. You become more than just a store; you become part of their lives.

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