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Posted on Sun, Dec 12, 2010 : 5:56 a.m.

Business Review's Top 5: The most important things Ann Arbor residents want from Borders Group Inc.

By Staff

Borders Group Inc. announced last week that third quarter losses grew in 2010, illustrating ongoing instability of its turnaround plan. We understand that headquarters is focused on changing that. But we also see an insular company that may be more about internal panic than confidently moving forward. And confidence in direction and leadership needs to reach the public in order for the brand to survive.

Here are the top five things that we around Ann Arbor — who still feel a part of your inception — want from you now:

1. A corporate face. After three CEOs in a one-year timeframe, Borders has new top-level leadership. But who is it? So far he’s been invisible in Ann Arbor and beyond.

2. Community connections. The company used to have partnerships across Washtenaw County, but most seem to have evaporated. Rebuilding doesn’t always come from within. The goodwill you can generate by being a corporate partner is currency, too. Send out some volunteers or support a single effort as a company. It could help internal morale, too.

3. Communication. The invisible CEO doesn’t want to comment, but no one else does, either. “Going dark” as a communications strategy during a rebuild makes people wonder what you’re hiding. Skilled staff answer the tough questions but also point attention to attributes.

4. Proof that you love books. It’s not all about “percent off” coupons and partnerships with non-book sellers. Or it shouldn’t be.

5. Pricing for the 2011 market. The percentage off from inflated “original prices” works for some department stores, but your bottom line shows that book buyers aren’t fooled by that game. It’s too easy to see the real price on Amazon.