Stellar Introducing: James Dann
Meet Stellar person James Dann, business unit director for Samsung KX
Tell us your Stellar story so far…
I joined Stellar in 2019 to head up the Samsung KX project, an experience store in the heart of Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, London. I have worked solely on the Samsung KX project from conception to reality; this began with hosting a month-long training session for 100 staff and, more recently, implementing live broadcasts and virtual customer experiences, evolving how we engage with audiences.
As business unit director, I am responsible for the strategy and direction of the account, providing operational support and delivery for Samsung. A significant part of my role involves mentoring the team to ensure we provide best-in-class experience across all customer touch points, with a focus on continual development and progression for all staff.
What first appealed to you about the company?
Prior to joining Stellar, I had never worked on the agency side as I had always been the client. To be able to use my experience on a project like this and work alongside Samsung again was exciting. First impressions are everything and I was blown away by the people and the culture. It is a richly rewarding place to work and one that continues to grow and evolve.
What are the most enjoyable or satisfying elements of your role?
The pace – both with Samsung and Stellar. You cannot keep still which I love and need in a role. I also enjoy being able to make decisions wholeheartedly using our company values. Additionally, and this is something transferable from my previous roles, watching a team member grow and develop is something that continues to be hugely satisfying and an important part of my responsibilities. Finally, telling someone they are on mute for a video call is also pretty satisfying.
How does your working week differ now to this time last year?
The commute is currently much shorter for a start, my coffee machine has never had so much responsibility and I have mastered the latte art of a tree.
We are obviously having more virtual meetings now than ever before, which I closely manage with my team to streamline and protect our time as much as possible. The massive downside right now is no after work drinks. We really miss it and it just is not the same on a video call.
What piece of advice would you give to somebody hoping to become a Stellar person?
Be inquisitive, never be too proud to learn or ask if you are unsure – the culture here encourages this too. Learn the company values as you will be living by these. You get out what you put in.
What predictions do you have for the retail industry for the next 12 months?
There will be a continuation of local shopping and community-based initiatives. The last 12 months has opened our eyes to our surroundings and what is on offer on our doorstep and I do see this momentum continuing.
Experience will continue to be the buzz word across retailers – which is exciting but equally challenging. Retailers will need to create an experience that stays true to their values and purpose to really engage with their customers.
I also predict larger retailers may take initiatives to utilise space and attract footfall such as live events, virtual shopping and exclusive launches that move footfall from online into store.
How did you spend your weekends before 23 March 2020?
Mostly playing golf and heading down to the beach as often as possible – and seeing friends and family of course. I also love exploring pubs to find the best Sunday roasts so tell me if you know of any good ones.
Alongside a huge number of other people, I took up cycling in the first lockdown, which initially exposed how unfit I was. It is a brilliant hobby that has allowed me to explore my surroundings, although I often get lost. I love the fact cycling is a form of exercise that starts the moment you leave the house – I am considerate on the road too, by the way.
What did you do for work before you became a Stellar person?
Throughout my career I have always worked in retail in one form or another, starting as a part-time sales assistant in a surf shop and progressing through the ranks in different stores. I became a sales manager at Samsung and, more recently, head of retail at Neom Organics, so I have worked within a variety of retail sectors but always with the same shared purpose – to deliver the best customer experience the brand can offer.
What is the one thing you consider yourself to be really good at – big or small?
Keeping calm and focused, especially in challenging situations, which has been stress tested over the past 12 months in particular.
What have you learned about yourself since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic?
How much I need social interaction both in work and life in general. The virtual world has held us together, and it has definitely found its long-term place, but I cannot wait to get out and about again and connect with people.
If money was no object, describe the first trip you would take once normality returns.
I would head to Bali and enjoy a mixture of exploring the island’s sights, playing golf and being a bit lazy and unwinding on the beach.
Want to speak to the Stellar team?