Tag: Customers

Sassy Web Offers Customers a New Approach to Web Design

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No Sick Leave At Restaurants Means More Sick Customers

Andrew Caballero-reynolds / AFP / Getty Images

Most of us are guilty of going to work when we're sick. But in the restaurant industry, that illness can quickly spread not only to coworkers, but also to customers. As Chipotle's outbreaks of norovirus, E. coli and salmonella last year showed, the consequences of sick restaurant employees coming to work can be devastating.

Altogether, the outbreaks dragged down sales by 14.6% in the final three months of 2015. In January, comparable sales continued to fall by about 36%. For a company doing a billion dollars in sales per quarter, a drop like that is a costly problem, but the true cost goes well beyond that. Chipotle's brand has been seriously tarnished, and recovery will be expensive.

“We all need to commit today not to let this happen again: we must not allow employees to work when they are sick. Norovirus outbreaks are avoidable if our existing protocols are followed,” said Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran to workers during an all-hands meeting broadcast via satellite on Feb. 8.

Yet the damage had already been done. What's baffling is that companies — and restaurants in particular — haven't tried harder to keep sick workers home all along.

The lack of paid leave in an industry largely staffed by low-income workers creates a dangerous incentive. In a nationwide survey of 4,323 restaurant workers conducted by the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), a worker advocacy group, two out of three workers reported cooking, preparing, and serving food while sick.

The consequences are dire, and expensive. Infected food workers cause about 70% of reported norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, norovirus costs about $ 2 billion in the United States for healthcare and lost productivity from foodborne illness, according to the agency.

Last July, Chipotle rolled out paid sick leave, a surprisingly rare benefit in the restaurant business. Nationwide, only two-thirds of American workers have access to paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but in the restaurant industry it is far lower: an estimated 90% of restaurant workers don’t receive paid sick days, according to the ROC.

While a number of restaurant chains, such as Starbucks, offer employees some paid time off that they can use when ill, they do not have paid sick leave policy per se, except in states and cities that require it.

Saru Jayaraman, co-director of ROC, said that while Chipotle has received a lot of attention for its recent health issues, it's by no means an outlier in the industry.

“Norovirus is so pervasive in our industry, and it's because chains lobby through the NRA [National Restaurant Association] against paid sick leave legislation,” she said. “Chains are really responsible for setting standards both legislatively and in terms of industry norms.” She added that that workers who take time off, even for illness, are frequently fired or punished with poor shifts when they return.

National Restaurant Association spokesperson Christin Fernandez said in an email that the industry group had “opposed certain mandates in the past as they have been overly onerous to small businesses.” As for requesting time off, Fernandez responded that “flexibility with regards to scheduling, whether it’s sick time or personal time… is a trademark of the restaurant industry.”

Chipotle is now raising awareness of the need for workers to stay home when sick and has tightened protocols for addressing illness in the restaurant. “When anyone vomits in the back of the house or the front line, this is a red event, which means we close the restaurant immediately,” Gretchen Selfridge, a Chipotle restaurant support officer, said in an AP report.

The chain said it offers three paid sick days a year, and in cases where exceptionally sick employees are sent home and told not to work for five days, they will still be paid. Chipotle did not respond to emailed inquiries about whether paid sick leave was offered to all workers or only those who had been with the company for some time.

Paid sick leave has gained the attention of lawmakers.

In September, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to allow their employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year, effective 2017.

According to the Department of Labor, there are earned sick time laws Connecticut, California, Massachusetts Washington, D.C., and Oregon; 22 local jurisdictions including New York City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a few cities in New Jersey have enacted legislation or approved paid sick leave programs by voter referendum.

“The safety of employees and diners should be priority number one for any restaurant,” said Fernandez. “That’s why we always encourage restaurateurs and their employees to follow the model food code and take sick time when needed.”

The Federal Criminal Investigation Of Chipotle Has Expanded

Chipotle Will Close Restaurants Nationwide On Feb. 8 For Employee Meeting

Chipotle Has A Plan To Woo Customers Back Into Restaurants. Will It Succeed?

BuzzFeed – Business

Zenefits Is An HR “Rocket Ship” — But Some Customers Get Left Behind

Matt Chase for BuzzFeed News

Mike Hawkins' four-month health insurance nightmare began in November, when he started doing business with a Silicon Valley startup called Zenefits.

Hawkins, the founder and CEO of Netizen, a cybersecurity startup in Allentown, Pennsylvania, had heard good things about Zenefits, a health insurance broker that offers free human resources software as a lure for small businesses. Launched in 2013, the San Francisco–based Zenefits is one of the fastest-growing and most talked-about startups of the moment, with more than 10,000 companies using its services, a valuation of $ 4.5 billion, and a roster of powerful investors.

But for Hawkins, 33, who became a software engineer after serving in the Army, Zenefits was instead a source of one headache after another. A process he thought would take about a month instead dragged on into March, when Hawkins finally gave up.

One of his employees, Max Harris, 37, the chief business development officer, wanted an allergist's opinion about what was ailing his 4-year-old daughter, Caley, who had been getting sick with respiratory infections whenever the seasons changed. Harris, a former Army intelligence specialist and Arabic linguist who served in Iraq, hadn't had health insurance since leaving a job in a Wegmans deli to join Netizen in early 2014.

Finally, in late February this year, with coverage supposed to start days later, Zenefits informed Hawkins that it had made a significant mistake, attempting to enroll his employees with an insurance provider that didn't cover the company's region. The insurance wouldn't come through as planned.

“I'm done being patient with you people,” Hawkins told Zenefits in an email that he shared with BuzzFeed News. “This is why no one likes Silicon Valley — companies like yours apparently have your heads up your asses. You're growing beyond your means and you'll be bankrupt within a year.”

As it rapidly matures into a Silicon Valley giant, vacuuming up customers and burning through a mountain of venture capital, Zenefits has also racked up a number of customer complaints, over issues like software glitches and human error. More than a dozen customers who were interviewed for this article — a small but angry subset of the company's book of business — said Zenefits turned the HR process into an expensive nightmare. In several cases employees like Harris, who had put their trust in Zenefits, were left without health insurance for a month or more after they had expected it.

Matt Chase for BuzzFeed News

According to Zenefits, which is led by CEO and co-founder Parker Conrad, these service failures are rare, and not reflective of the experience of most customers. The company says it keeps 99.2% of its customers every month.

“Zenefits' customer satisfaction (as measured by net promoter score) is exceptional for a software-as-a-service company, especially one with 10,000-plus customers,” Kenneth Baer, a Zenefits spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “It's also true that we sometimes make mistakes. This is the exception to the rule, and happens less and less frequently with each passing month. But when we do make a mistake, we work hard to correct it as quickly as possible, and make things right for our clients.”

Zenefits claims it has grown more quickly than any other company delivering business software over the internet; it acquired those 10,000-plus customers and hired more than 500 employees in under two years, according to its website.

And unlike other richly valued startups like Uber and Airbnb, whose products are largely luxury items, Zenefits makes much of its money trading in a service that is essential to people's lives. So when Zenefits breaks, or when it makes a mistake, or even when it takes a particularly long time to fulfill a customer's request, the consequences can be serious.

Zenefits’s success and rapid expansion can be partly attributed to the industry it is disrupting. The majority of the insurance brokers who serve businesses are deeply — almost defiantly — old-fashioned, using their powers of persuasion and tolerance for tedium to convince insurance providers to give their clients a good deal. It's a business overflowing with forms and spreadsheets that companies resent having to fill out. Many insurance brokers are local, independent outfits. A few, like Digital Insurance, a subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial, or Wells Fargo, which has an insurance brokerage arm, are major corporations.

The insurance brokerage business is extremely lucrative. After selling insurance policies, brokers are paid commissions by the insurance companies every month, in perpetuity, even if they do nothing. Zenefits has become a broker itself, collecting around 5% of its customers' monthly insurance premiums, in line with the industry standard.

This predictable stream of revenue has made Zenefits very popular among investors. The monthly payments cause Zenefits’s financial statements to resemble those of startups that sell software over the internet on a subscription basis (a widely used business model known as “software as a service”). Except in Zenefits’s case, the software is free. That tempts customers to use it to organize their employee benefits and payroll, which in turn often encourages them to buy insurance through Zenefits. And the payments from the insurance companies keep flowing in.

“It's a genius business model,” said Jonathan Marcus, the CEO and founder of Goodsie, a New York–based startup that provides e-commerce software to businesses, and which is a Zenefits customer. “I'm very jealous I didn't think of it.”

Matt Chase for BuzzFeed News

The early success of the business model has some of the world's best venture capitalists enthralled with the prospects for Zenefits. Andreessen Horowitz, which has been an investor in success stories like Facebook, Twitter, and Airbnb, now has more of its money invested in Zenefits than in any other company. (Andreessen Horowitz is an investor in BuzzFeed.)

From the beginning, Zenefits took an aggressive approach to entering the market and defending its turf. In fall 2013, just months after Zenefits launched, Conrad, the CEO, learned that a group of investors who had provided seed financing to Zenefits had also backed SimplyInsured, a rival insurance broker that used a similar business model. Zenefits and SimplyInsured had been peers in the prestigious Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator, completing the program together in early 2013.

Conrad, concerned about a possible conflict, told the investors that he planned to return their money, according to people briefed on the matter and emails obtained by BuzzFeed News. While such a stance wouldn't be surprising for regulating later-stage investments, some experts said it was an unusual way to handle investments made at the seed stage, when a company's place in the marketplace isn't yet established.

The investors, opting to stick with Zenefits, instead sold their stake in SimplyInsured, people briefed on the matter said. Zenefits went on to raise a Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz. SimplyInsured, focusing more narrowly on health insurance and courting smaller companies, has been left in the dust.

Zenefits is now a juggernaut, raising $ 500 million of venture capital in May to fuel its expansion. After opening an office in Scottsdale, Arizona, it recently signed a lease on an office in nearby Tempe, which will soon house hundreds of new employees. Late last year, in a sign of its clout, the company hired David Sacks, a founder of Yammer and a former PayPal executive, to be its chief operating officer.

“Just managing something that's growing this fast, it's kind of like building the rocket ship in mid-flight,” Sacks said in a recent Zenefits promotional video. “That's an incredibly challenging thing to do.”

Setting up health insurance for a small company is a complicated process, with plenty of potential for error, regardless of who the broker is. Brokers, both old-school and new, make mistakes, sometimes forcing employees to go without health insurance for months. “It's kind of like buying a house,” said Jessica Miller-Merrell, a human resources expert and blogger who advises tech companies on their HR. “You have a mountain of paperwork you have to complete and sign. If you miss a particular paper, it delays the process.”

Zenefits's heavy emphasis on software, Miller-Merrell added, introduces additional risks. “When you use technology to automate the process,” she said, “mistakes are likely going to be made. And they're probably big ones.”

The Zenefits spokesperson argued that the company's technology actually lowers the potential for mistakes, because it is less reliant on humans.

Many customers interviewed for this article declined to speak on the record; since many of them were startup companies based in Silicon Valley, they were fearful of angering powerful friends of Zenefits, like Andreessen Horowitz or Y Combinator. But their stories showed how even small failures of the Zenefits “rocket ship” can be disastrous for its customers.

When setting up health insurance coverage, Zenefits can be prone to seemingly careless errors, several customers said — like premiums being charged for an employee who had left a company, or a current employee being incorrectly cut off from health insurance.

Several startup executives said administrative errors by Zenefits caused employees to go without health insurance while they were being resolved. In one case, a startup executive said they paid out of pocket for an employee's prescriptions during a month that the employee went without coverage.

Zenefits declined to comment on these examples. Without knowledge of the customers' identities, representatives said they could not determine whether the errors were the fault of Zenefits, an insurance company, or the customer.

Part of the problem may come down to resources. While many Zenefits customers have dedicated account managers, companies with fewer than 25 employees generally don't have one after their initial setup period. “We can't afford to have one person for every two-person company; we wouldn't be in business,” a senior Zenefits executive, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, told BuzzFeed News.

Many of the unhappy customers said it seemed to them like Zenefits was growing too quickly to adequately resolve their issues. Several described a churn of customer service representatives — they would start working with one Zenefits representative, and then learn that person had been either fired or promoted to a different job.

“Everybody I talked to got promoted within two weeks, it seemed like,” said Hawkins, the Netizen CEO. Marcus, the CEO of the New York–based startup Goodsie, said, “The contacts we had are no longer there.”

Zenefits very well “could end up being revolutionary,” said Adam Beck, a health insurance professor at the American College, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. But he said Zenefits would have to find a way to balance its reliance on technology with a personal touch.

“There is very much a human element in many aspects of insurance, really outside property and casualty,” Beck said. “You do need more human interaction, just because the nature of the financial product is inherently more personal.”

Some customers were willing to forgive missteps by Zenefits, especially when they related to software bugs — an issue that any fast-growing technology company has to deal with. But bugs in Zenefits software, which create problems when customers try to perform daily tasks, can be particularly aggravating.

Michael Schneider, a 34-year-old serial entrepreneur in Los Angeles, signed up for Zenefits in June after starting a company called Service, which aims to resolve customer complaints relating to any company. “Overall, I love the idea of Zenefits,” Schneider said. “I hate paper, and I hate bullshit, and Zenefits seems to be a really efficient play to solve all those issues.”

Schneider wanted to use Zenefits to pay a couple of contractors, but he was stymied when the software wouldn't verify Service's bank account. “They finally acknowledged it as a bug,” Schneider said. The senior Zenefits executive said the bug stemmed from a software glitch known as a race condition, which prevented the system from verifying test deposits. Before the issue was fixed, however, Schneider used PayPal to pay his contractors on schedule, incurring almost $ 300 in fees. He said he was led to believe the fees would be reimbursed by Zenefits.

He never received the reimbursement, though he says he is now a happy customer. The senior Zenefits executive dismissed the notion that Schneider would be paid back, drawing this analogy: “It's like saying there was something I encountered, like a technical snafu or a bug, at Amazon, and so I bought the product at Best Buy for a higher price, and then I came back to Amazon and said, 'I want you to refund me the difference in cost.'”

Since Zenefits relies on insurance companies, some problems are out of the company’s hands. For Marcus, of Goodsie, the process of enrolling in health care for his small company last year was painfully slow, with insurance cards failing to arrive until late in September, the month that coverage was supposed to begin. Zenefits says this delay stemmed from the insurance company, which took a particularly long time.

But Marcus, who switched to Zenefits after becoming fed up with a local insurance broker, also had complaints with Zenefits itself. Despite the free software, he said, he didn't feel the process was much more automated than his previous experience. When an employee recently applied for coverage, for example, Marcus assumed the employee's status would be reflected in the Zenefits software. But Marcus only learned the coverage had been approved, he said, when he happened to call Zenefits to inquire about it.

“I thought there would be a change in the process, but there wasn't really,” Marcus told BuzzFeed News. “There's just a lot of manual paperwork required by Zenefits, the same way that would be required by any broker.”

“So I'm left scratching my head,” Marcus added. “What are they doing to earn the monthly commission they earn off of us? The answer, as a 10-person company, is nothing, really.” Marcus remains a Zenefits customer.

A number of Zenefits customers have complained about their problems through Twitter, including Netizen, the cybersecurity startup in Pennsylvania. Hawkins, the Netizen CEO, said in a tweet in late November that he wasn't able to get his employees set up with insurance. He soon got an email from Matt Epstein, Zenefits's vice president of marketing, who said a gap in a Zenefits database meant Netizen wouldn't have immediate access to price quotes.

Matt Chase for BuzzFeed News

“It looks like we have live quotes for your company zip code, but not your employee zip code,” Epstein said in the email. “This happens very rarely, but unfortunately happened to you.”

With the automated process having fallen short, Netizen would have to use a manual method, including sending personal information about its employees to Zenefits. The senior Zenefits executive who spoke to BuzzFeed News said Hawkins didn't send this information until late January, delaying the process. Hawkins countered that he was busy and had hoped Zenefits would help him avoid this very type of paperwork.

But then, more than a month after Zenefits had received the paperwork, and with just days remaining before the coverage was supposed to start, a Zenefits representative said in an email that the company had submitted Netizen's application to a local Blue Cross member company that didn't offer insurance in Netizen's county. “There are 4 different versions of Blue Cross that operate in Pennsylvania and the underwriter did not inform us of this until your case was sent to be finalized,” the email, sent on Feb. 25, said.

Zenefits said it would have to apply again for the insurance — which would now start a month later, in April.

For Harris, the 37-year-old Army veteran who was Hawkins' first hire, the Zenefits failure came at a particularly stressful time. Harris had recently gone through a divorce. His daughter, Caley, had health insurance only through the Children's Health Insurance Program in Pennsylvania — which wouldn't fully cover a trip to an allergist to treat her seasonal illness. Harris said the problems with Zenefits aggravated his post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I had already reached out to my allergist” to set up an appointment for Caley, Harris told BuzzFeed News. “And then Zenefits was like, 'Oh, oops.'”

“I wanted to throw my computer at the wall,” he said. “I was furious.”

Zenefits ended up offering Netizen another option, to enroll with a different carrier by mid-March and have the coverage apply retroactively to March 1. Hawkins, frustrated by the lengthy process, dumped Zenefits instead.

He eventually got his employees health insurance through a Zenefits rival, Justworks. Harris is planning to take his daughter to an allergist in August.

“Look, I want to love the platform. It has promise,” Hawkins said in a tweet to Conrad, the Zenefits CEO, on the night Zenefits admitted its mistake. “But it has the appearance of moving too fast to keep up.”

BuzzFeed – Business

Shake Shack Got More Expensive, And The Customers Kept Coming

The burger chain reported an 11% growth in sales at its established restaurants, but attributed much of the rise to higher prices.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Even when the burgers go up in price, people can't seem to get enough of Shake Shack: Revenue in the first three months of 2015 was up 56.3%, and sales at its 13 restaurants open at least 24 months increased by 11.7%.

The restaurants drew in more customers, but what really boosted revenue at existing stores were price increases, implemented in late 2014 and early 2015. The chain attributed 9.6% of the 11.7% comparable sales jump to the price hike and changes in the average customer order. Only 2.1% resulted from increased traffic into the stores. A basic Shake Shack burger now costs roughly $ 5.

Items such as the $ 6.19 ShackMeister Burger — an Angus beef patty on a buttery potato bun topped with crispy shallots — and the return of crinkle cut fries also helped increase sales, and executives hinted at other new menu items underway during an earnings call on Wednesday.

CEO Randy Garutti said recent restaurant openings in Baltimore, Boston, Las Vegas, and Chicago have been strong, and bode well for the chain's entry to California next year.

Yet the momentum from the first quarter is likely to slow as no further price hikes are planned. The company expects a comparable sales increase in 2015 in the low single digits, after growing 4.1% last year.

As growth at existing restaurants slows, new restaurants will be a key component to Shake Shack's expansion. The chain estimates the average restaurant brings in $ 2.8 million to $ 3.2 million a year, which is already at the high end for burger chains. McDonald's is at about $ 2.5 million, and even Chipotle, one of the restaurant industry's biggest successes in recent years, averages $ 2.5 million per store. It's questionable how much more each Shake Shack can ring up.

Yet the chain — now 39 restaurants in the U.S. and 27 overseas — is taking a particularly cautious approach to expanding. It opened just three new U.S. restaurants in the first three months of the year, and will likely open only about seven more by the end of 2015. The company declined to comment.

Fortunately, Shake Shack openings still draw large crowds, including its recent debut in Austin. Future stores — especially in markets like Southern California that already have local chains with loyal followings like In-N-Out Burger — will see how much America truly craves a new upscale burger restaurant.


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BuzzFeed – Business

Some Parisian Uber Drivers Are Harassing Female Customers By Text

Several women complained about the texts on Twitter. Uber told a French newspaper that it’s investigating the claims.

Sergio Perez / Reuters

Several Parisian women complained on Twitter about Uber drivers hitting on them via text message after getting their numbers through the app, the French newspaper Libération reported on Tuesday.

“If you can't sleep, I can help you,” one driver texted a woman whom he had driven around; “I'm coming over, honey,” another texted a woman he was about to pick up. The women took screenshots of the messages and posted them on Twitter. Other women complained about drivers hitting on them during their ride. One of them said her driver told her that he had “a lollipop” for her.

Uber Paris replied to one of the women on Twitter asking her if they could talk about it via direct message. The company also told Libération that it would suspend any driver who doesn't respect the company's quality guidelines. Uber told the newspaper that it started investigating the claims, but that the women refused to give them more details about the incidents. One woman reportedly told Libération that she did not want to “cause any harm to the driver.”

In December, French authorities decided to ban UberPop, a service offered by Uber in which private individuals can offer rides to customers. “Currently, people who use UberPop are not protected if there is an accident. So not only is it illegal to offer this service but for the consumer there is a real danger,” a government spokesman told TV network BFM at the time.

Back in October, Uber Lyon (France's third biggest city) promoted an app called “Avions de Chasse” that offered to pair Uber riders with “hot chick” drivers. The promotion was deleted after BuzzFeed News got in touch with the company.

The new allegations are the latest in a string of abusive incidents toward women by drivers working for the massive startup. In December, Newsweek reported that the company had offered a woman credit after she accused a driver of sexually harassing her during a ride in London. The company also suspended its services in New Delhi, India, in December, after a driver allegedly raped a female passenger.

BuzzFeed – Tech

A Bank Gave Away $30,000 To Some Customers And Here’s What They Did With It

Well, this is just lovely.

For 24 days, TD Bank surprised 24 of its customers with $ 30,000 and 24 hours to do one thing: #MakeTodayMatter.

For 24 days, TD Bank surprised 24 of its customers with $ 30,000 and 24 hours to do one thing: #MakeTodayMatter.

TD Bank / Via youtube.com

Earlier this year, TD Bank gave its customers life-changing surprises from trips to Disneyland and meetings with their sports heroes.

This time around, the bank spot-polled some of its customers across North America about what they would do to give back to their communities if they had the money.

They then identified 24 of the most inspirational ideas and surprised those customers with the resources to make their dream come true.

Michael Mulligan, a paraplegic from Ontario, knew how difficult it was to regain independence in a wheelchair.

Michael Mulligan, a paraplegic from Ontario, knew how difficult it was to regain independence in a wheelchair.

TD Bank / Via youtube.com


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BuzzFeed – Business

Chase Customers Will Get David Guetta’s New Album First, And Free

JPMorgan’s sponsorships division is on a tear this year, giving customers exclusive early access to Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s tour and now David Guetta’s new album today, set to drop on Nov. 24. The latest move is a partnership with Apple Pay.

One department within JPMorgan Chase has spent the better part of a year trying to remind its customers just how much it pays to bank with Chase. It isn't traditional marketing, advertising or even client service folks leading this charge, but the company's sponsorships division, known as Sports and Entertainment, that has given Chase customers special access to everything from the U.S. Open to Chicago Bears games, the Radio City Rockettes and their Christmas Spectacular, to, probably most notably, Jay-Z and Beyoncé's On the Run tour, which allowed Chase customers early ticket purchasing and other perks.

And now, in conjunction with Apple Pay, JPMorgan is tapping into a new audience in electronic dance music, giving Chase customers with an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus early, and perhaps more importantly, free access to 'Listen,' the latest album from EDM superstar David Guetta beginning today—three days before Atlantic Records' November 24 scheduled release of the album.

“We're offering 'Listen' the weekend before it comes out to the general public, if you have Apple Pay, you'll be able to listen to the whole album for free,” said Steve Pamon, JPMorgan's head of Sports and Entertainment. “It's a big incentive to be a Chase customer and try Apple Pay for the first time.”

As for why the bank chose to partner with Guetta, Pamon told BuzzFeed News that the decision was an easy one.

“For us, being a core bank around innovation and progressive movement, the chance to partner with David is just an opportunity we couldn't pass up,” Pamon said. “If you think about [Apple Pay], there's a target psychographic for that, folks willing to try new things and who are careful to think about what they do. David is on the forefront of using technology to make people happy. There's no better artist in the world that we think represents that.”

Rukes

For Guetta, the feeling is mutual.

“Collaborating is a part of what I do in my creative process and it made sense to collaborate with partners Chase and Apple Pay to do something that has not been done before,” Guetta told BuzzFeed News. “I love innovation and reinvention, I've tried to do this with the songs on my new album 'Listen'. And it is a special treat for my U.S. fans who can get access to my album as a gift from Chase three days before it goes on sale and also open up my music to people it may be new to.”

Though the the bank invests a lot of time and resources into figuring out the best way to reach customers through its sponsorship programs, Chase didn't have to think too hard about its last major partnership effort, with Jay-Z and Beyoncé's On the Run tour, which offered Chase customers an exclusive presale to purchase tickets ahead of anyone else. Nearly 350,000 of them did—a massive number. The sponsorship decision for On the Run is emblematic of Chase's growing efforts in the space, something they've devoted more and more resources to this year.

Just last week the bank sponsored the Concert for Valor, a huge live event in Washington DC honoring veterans that featured artists like Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Eminem, Metallica, and Jennifer Hudson, to name just a few.

“We've always had an established base in sponsorship, if you go back 30 years, all of our brands have been involved with with sports, and now you're starting to see a real push for entertainment,” Pamon said. “We are starting to go where our consumers are going, with live performances and music. The On the Run tour was as close to a home run as you could get as far as partners, and we think David [Guetta] is the same way.”


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BuzzFeed – Business