Personalizing Experiences and Building Communities with Nick James of Blue Buffalo

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“The future, I think is universal commerce.”


People love their pets. That’s a universal truth that Nick James uses as his north star while working as the Senior Director of Consumer Experience at Blue Buffalo. That’s where the universality ends, though. Pet parents, just like consumers in all industries, are individuals with specific needs, and brands have to create experiences and implement technology to make every customer journey as personal as possible. Here, Nick explains what that personalization looks like at Blue Buffalo.

Key Insights


Creating a universal commerce experience.

Customers’ lives do not begin and end with a purchase. Smart brands know that and design a customer journey that delivers to their needs at every turn, whether they want to purchase something or not. When brands can find a way to bring added value to customers through building communities, creating educational content, and offering chat functions to answer need-based questions outside of purchase decisions, they will win more in the long term.

How can you set yourself up to pivot?

As consumer behavior changes, businesses need to adjust. Whatever your customer wants or needs, you have to find a way to deliver to them in the most frictionless way possible. The way to do that is to make sure that you have a solid foundation to work from, and technology solutions in place that are flexible enough to allow you to pivot quickly when needed. 

“My charge was thinking about how does the user experience look and then on top of that is making sure we have the right technologies to stand up this organization from a cloud base that gives us the agility and the capabilities to help us pivot if heaven forbid something else occurs, that really changes consumer consumption or consumer wants and needs, That allows us to move with flexibility based on the solutions, the architecture we built.”

About the Guest:

Nick James is the Senior Director, Consumer Experience for Blue Buffalo, a General Mills company. Prior to his work at Blue Buffalo, Nick spent more than 10 years working for Nike.

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Episode 208