In 2011, Towson Town Center (TTC), owned and operated by General Growth Properties (GGP), asked Weinberg Harris & Associates (WHA) to help them establish a way to use social media to connect with shoppers and rebrand the center's image in the community during the critical holiday shopping season. Their goal was to connect with shoppers in a more personable way and to give the center a "face" and friendly personality. The program WHA designed was called GURU: Get Ultimate Retail Updates.
The program hinged on a blog with regularly scheduled updates, up to one a day, throughout the year. A local writer, also a loyal TTC shopper, labeled as “The GURU,” would author the blog. She would share events, sales, new fashion trends, mall and retailer promotions and personally answer shopper questions directly related to the retailers and events of TTC. The GURU would make regular appearances at the center and appear as the fashion expert for all media opportunities. The GURU would also be responsible for posting Facebook and Twitter updates. WHA would be responsible for overseeing and editing the blog updates, working with mall management and the GURU to plan topics and organize events and promotions.
In October 2011, the program was launched, just in time for the holiday shopping season. It became an instant success for TTC. Facebook followers increased by nearly 50% by the end of the holiday shopping rush and blog readership consistently rose, even into the New Year. As the GURU made more regular appearances on TV and was quoted in print, she quickly became known as local fashion and shopping expert and the media started to request her expertise and advice. Mall management and GGP executives were so pleased with the program that it was extended indefinitely and continues to grow.
In February 2013, The GURU program was named one of Best Business Blogs in Baltimore by The Baltimore Business Journal, winning second place in their annual Biz Buzz Awards.