Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Case Study In Brand Experience: Target

Wasn't it just the other day when Target employees knew nothing about their own products? Where things were located? Or, even said "Hello" to you? Now they are approaching shoppers, asking you if you've found everything okay. Honestly, it creeped me out the first time. But now, it's become the company standard. Customer experience matters.

This is a case study in brand experience - Target.

Target had several holes to dig themselves out of as of late. Not only did their stocks plummet for a variety of suspected reasons, they also needed to patch up their big privacy leak. They were positioned just above the competitive discount grounds by which Costco, Walmart, Big Lots, etc. were already crowding out.

They up-marketed to attract buyers who wanted things at good prices, but, still with a nice and classy feel. However, this didn't attract enough customers. The problem was, one could easily go down a run into the lower-end of the market and get satisfactory products for cheaper. Sure, the products may not have been as good -- light bulbs busted earlier, clothing didn't last as long... you got what you paid for at the lower-end of the spectrum. However, it was acceptably lower because the savings were there and the experience didn't matter between Target & its competitors.

Now, it does.

Now, Target is clean. Employees are quick to respond. There are price scanning/calling stations all over their stores with people on the other end of the line, quick to send a team member to assist you. Also, they've done a few interesting things from a sales perspective: themed sales (like the recent big baby sale), the Cartwheel app, and the Target Red card -- all elements which reinforce the value of the new Target brand experience.

When one thinks about it, you save 5% on each purchase when using the Red Card. Every cashier asks you if you are interested in signing up TODAY. And, each purchase at 5%... WELL, that is a lot better than the 2-3% you get on your American Express/Discover, isn't it? Additionally, Target happily accepts manufacturer's coupons to be stacked on top of that 5% discount - AND - any other discount the Cartwheel app has to offer. However, the Cartwheel app requires that you physically search for items on sale (at least once, then the deal is saved into a queue). Being that you have to do it yourself and purchase in person, you then commit yourself to more time in the store. And, we all know, the more time in the store (the very clean store, I might add), the more likely you will purchase more than originally planned. Additionally, by investing your time into making your own savings even better, you have also invested into Target's brand experience and therefore brand loyalty.

But!!!! Other competitors offer cheaper prices, right? Actually, when the numbers crunch out, there are lots of non-perishables offered by Target that, per unit price, beat out even the likes of Costco. Target has also penetrated into the beer/wine/booze market, expanded frozen section, and some fresh produce options as well. This is a savvy gobbling up of market share by Target. Things are getting cheaper at Target on a daily basis. If you are willing to dig up the deals, investing your time to do so, you will find even more deals. And, why not? Everyone can appreciate the saving of money, right?

So why is this such an interesting case study in brand experience? TRANSFORMATION. There are volumes of brand experiences out there. Few brand experiences have offered transformational changes, improvements, and intrinsic loyalty development. Target has done this. They have given you more reasons to shop there for all ranges of needs for all areas of life. Target has done this through behavior incentives, financial incentives, convenience, and brand experience.

If one surveys the market, we're noticing most firms and industries are reaching a point of critical mass. The sustainment of the current economic model is coming to the end of a cycle; new cycles must start or companies and entire professions may be left behind. What is more, the next evolution  is changing businesses at large; development must include consumer lifestyle integration.

So, I ask you: How has your business innovated strategic change to keep up with the times? Perhaps, get ahead of the times???

If you enjoyed the content in this post, you may appreciate this special mention on how Rubio's rebranded their restaurants with a new and improved Service Experience Value Statement.

No comments:

Post a Comment