In March I wrote a post about Nissan moving its headquarters to Nashville. The post got little “comment” action on my blog but interestingly it did ignite many live as well as email conversations.
This company’s move from LA to Nashville has been one of fascination for me. You can read my other post if you haven’t already, but in short – it mostly has to do with my perception (which may be false) that as far as the automotive industry goes – Nashville just doesn’t have the same cultural and artistic depth as compared to LA. My question is will their consumer and employer brand will survive the move? Will the company be able to access the caliber of talent that has let the company rise to new heights?
The first conversation: Life likes to get me back so to speak and so I am definitely one that believes in Karma. The day after I wrote my original post that could be taken as a critique of the people of Nashville, I was on a flight to Cleveland in an aisle seat (my favorite) sitting right next to a nice young woman and her little girl on their way back home…. to Nashville. When I say that she was nice, I mean totally make you feel like a schmuck for ever writing anything bad about Nashville, kind of nice. Ok – yes her ensemble included a pair of tie-dyed jeans circa 1989 – but I am not that shallow am I? My guilt got the best of me and as she asked me about my business, I told her about the post and asked her opinion on what I had said. With no offense taken… she just said:
“well – I don’t know much about branding, but I know that this is WONDERFUL for the community. It is bringing so many jobs and hope…it is just great”
Talk about real. Talk about feeling like a Schmuck.
Conversation 2: In the original post, I quoted a former Nissan employee named Dean Case. I had never met Dean but I happened upon a site that published a letter of his to his customers announcing his resignation from Nissan. I used this letter as the foundation of my post. Well about a week later (allowing time for Search engine indexing I guess) Mr. Dean Case himself wrote me an email saying:
Wow, I never made it into a blog before….thanks.
He also sent me another article that a journalist covering the story by By Muhammed El-Hasan called, “Stay or Go: Nissan workers weigh the California dream against a life in the Heartland“. The article discussed how:
Dean Case has stored more than 1,000 car-related songs on his iPod including the Beach Boys’ “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.” Two of his three mixed-breed cats are named after motor vehicles. Probe is named after the sporty Ford coupe, and Ducati is the namesake of an Italian racing motorcycle. Case, 43, has spent two decades working for car companies, as an engineer and later in communications. Yet, the lifelong car enthusiast now finds himself having to borrow a set of wheels to replace the company car he once used, as his career takes a major detour. Case recently left Nissan North America to work as a consultant, rather than follow the Carson-based firm in its move to suburban Nashville, Tenn., planned for this summer.
Change is never easy,” Case said. “I had to go out and shop for a cell phone. My cell phone had been provided by the company. I’m on COBRA (insurance). I have to shop around for a car…. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about this.”
Case’s decision came immediately. “If I was 15 years younger and single, I would seriously consider making the move,” Case said. “But at this point in my life, it doesn’t make sense.” Case, who grew up in San Pedro, still visits his parents and enjoys hanging out with his father. His older brother and in-laws also live in Southern California. Case, who lives with his wife, Joni Gang, in the Hollywood Riviera section of Torrance, also would miss being able to walk to the beach. He has been telling friends that he won’t move anywhere east of Pacific Coast Highway. “I’ve had some people try to convince me, ‘Hey, you’ve got to visit Tennessee. It’s wonderful,’ ” Case said. “But this is home.” Gang, who grew up in Mission Viejo, recalled how Case told her last year about Nissan’s move. “I knew we wouldn’t move,” Gang said. “So I laughed and said, ‘The cats and I would miss you terribly.’ ” Gang said she wasn’t even tempted by Tennessee’s lower cost of living, which would have allowed them to buy a bigger home. “I don’t think it would be a lower cost of living because I would have to fly back here to watch the sunset so often that I think it would get very expensive,” Gang quipped. Gang said it’s nothing against Tennessee, which she may or may not have passed through on business years ago. She doesn’t particularly remember or care. “I know some people (who) said, ‘Oh my gosh. Tennessee. It’s like 1,200 miles from the next Trader Joe’s.’ ” Gang said. “It’s just not near what we do”.
Again, Talk about real. Talk about the power of a blog to make connections.
Dean also directed me to a Yahoo Group – where Nissan’s decision is still being HOTLY debated (my original post got picked up here and talked about as well).
It is interesting that – although you would never know it as an outsider reading my blog (due to the lack of comments on the post) – my little recruitment marketing blog post had a real effect on people and enabled conversations that would never have occured otherwise.
Dean shared a few other things with me as well – but knowing the “naked” reality of a blog – he asked me to keep them “off the record.” 🙂