A new TV show promises viewers a peek under the hood of some of America's most prominent companies. Jeff Hayzlett, best known for his stint as chief marketing officer of Kodak, hosts "C-Suite," premiering Tuesday, 9:30 ET on Bloomberg TV.
The first of eight thirty-minute episodes finds Hayzlett sitting in on a Dunkin Donuts board advisory council meeting, where franchisees share what they're seeing on the ground as well as their ideas. Company execs go through the suggestions, explaining which ideas will and won't fly. Some ideas are shot down for branding or economic reasons. Others are dismissed because the ideas run counter to the company's ongoing mission of steering consumers away from donuts and over to sandwiches and frozen drinks. After the meeting, Hayzlett interviews the executives about the role franchisees play in the company.
"We didn't set out to do a cheap entertainment show," says Chris Berend, the show's executive producer and head of video development at Bloomberg. "This is about getting in there and getting real advice from some of the real executives in the country."
Hayzlett was ideal for the hosting gig, says Berend. Hayzlett's experience at Kodak and as a small business owner (he owns the PR and branding firm, The Hayzlett Group) helps him draw more thoughtful responses out of executives.
Before filming each episode, Hayzlett pulled stories from Bloomberg's terminals and local reports. "Everything we could get our hands on," he says. Before setting foot at Dunkin HQ, Hayzlett boned up on the company's financials and its two failed expansions in California.
"We know those things walking in so that we can get right to the questions," he says. "They're not just in the business of making donuts, they're in the business of growing their franchises. And 99 percent of their leadership is new. I ask, What makes you think you're going to get it right this time?"
Most companies on the show should appeal to viewers because of their recognizable brand names, but Hayzlett says he gravitated toward those with a different approach to business and massive reach. "A company like Dunkin touches people all over the country in myriad ways," he says. Others include CrossFit, MGM, and the Seattle Sounders, a minor league soccer team.
The hope is that small business owners will come away from the show feeling their companies aren't so different from those in the big leagues.
There's not a huge difference between a restaurant in Sioux Falls and a publicly-traded restaurant chain says Hayzlett. "The only difference is the scale," he says. "Same problems, same personalities, just different numbers. You'll learn key things about honesty, about how to refresh the brand. How to take a brand new leadership team and mold them into a well-oiled machine. This is what a small business does every day. And this is what big corporations do. They're just doing it with more zeroes."