As noteworthy as Desiree Rogers' executive appointment at Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate ($36.8 billion in 2007 revenue) is the title that she'll be assuming: president of social networking for Allstate Financial. In the newly created role, Rogers will be tasked with developing and launching a social networking site for Allstate Financial (an Allstate business unit) to connect middle market consumers with one another.
The aim of the project, Rogers says, is to reduce the confusion many consumers feel toward retirement and financial products. "The idea of the [social network] would be to have a forum where people can talk about these things among themselves and, at the same time, [Allstate would] provide them with factual information about financial products and retirement," she explains.
Stepping into her new role in late July, Rogers says the details of the social network are, for the most part, yet to be determined, though her tentative goal is to get a pilot up and running before the end of 2008. While Allstate's project will be similar to popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, Rogers says, Allstate's customers will dictate the functionality of the social network. "I want this to be as comfortable [for customers] as talking in your living room with people you trust about these issues," she relates.
Previously, Rogers was president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, where she oversaw customer service and technology integration initiatives. She says her expertise is bringing different functional experts together for a common goal and focusing on customer-centricity.
"It's very important to have someone ... looking at things from a customer's perspective ...," Rogers notes, "to make sure that we don't deviate and build something that might be a technological marvel ... but doesn't work in terms of securing that [customer] relationship."