It made the news last week.
Target is going to change its brand experience. And its brand offering. And its brand followers.
Target – the hip discount retailer where the latest style choice in everything from home furnishings to clothing to outdoor sports gear to electronics … shoot even doggie food and toys not only were found on the shelves… but also where they often premièred!
Target – whose advertising you actually took a moment to watch that seldom contained much of any copy, but was glamorized with music and graphics that made most any commercial break something fun to catch.
Yup. Target is changing.
And their new CEO, Brian Cornell is driving the change.
Many who follow this blog, have heard it many times before…Target is the Millennial generation brand.
And… as I wrote last week… the Millennials are evolving right before our eyes!
But here’s the gamble that Target is making.
They understand that the Millennials represent their core equity. They observe that the Millennials are not only nesting, but beginning to form “family” units.
They look around the marketplace and see that the kid & family empires of the past have faded as the ZOOMER generation (GenXer’s kids) is now entering high school.
So Target is stream-lining and limiting its house & home. Electronic facings are also being pared down to only a few. Gifts and accessories in some cases being axed.
BUT… clothing – particularly kids and infant lines – will be expanding. So too will the food and grocery items.
Target is going from being the hip and cool brand of the rising Twenty-somethings to becoming the emerging family brand.
I spend a lot of time talking to Millennials. I camp out with them, sip coffee, Tweet and interact with them online and shop the grocery aisles with them.
The one observation I can quickly make… they are NOT at all the same headset of the Generation X Cocooners. They are not hell-bent on creating the nest, making babies and living in the mdist of 24/7 family time.
In fact, when you say the word “kids,” Millennials quickly visualize both watches and pocketbooks. How much time will raising the kids take and even more so, cost.
Now I have never met Brian Cornell, but there are some quick surface level observations I can quickly make…
1. He’s a trailing Baby Boomer, but sure looks, talks and reacts online and on-screen like a GenXer...BGO Example – “More and more I see moms shopping our stores with a child in a cart in one hand and a smartphone in the other hand”
2. His experience was shaped around Pepsico snack food brands – CPG as they say in the “field”
3. He’s dwelled a lot in the C-Store marketplace... BGO Example – “We’re launching a new concept called Target Express that will be 1/6th the size of a normal one”
My gut tells me that Brian Cornell may not set any records for long-term CEO stay at a corporation.
But then again, I am the first in line to say, I’ve been wrong.
Most Saturdays now, I get the great opportunity to spend the better part of the day with Zevi, my 5 year old nephew.
No question, Zevi is one cool little dude.
Its not only fun to see the world through the eyes of a five year old, the time I spend with Zevi actually makes me a better consultant in my exchange with clients.
Kids see things in a much clearer focus than adults do.
Zevi’s first request when he arrives at my country farm house is simple… when are we going over to shop Target – properly pronounced “tar-jay.”
He loves to go over to the Target down the street and walk the aisles.
Of course, he goes first to the toy department, then over to the sports department, then over to electronics, then over to find a snack food for the day, then over to check out the latest in Ninja Turtle T-shirts.
Now of course, I am also having a blast checking out the latest in seasonal specials, outdoor gear and the latest in the sport shirts.
We also shop together at WalMart and Five Below… but we both have more fun when we journey over to Target.
This Saturday, I will likely have to sit down and let Zevi know that Target is going to change a bunch over the next year.
One thing is clear… at age 5, Zevi not only has moved beyond baby-goods and he cannot stand being near them.
We probably have to find another place to journey to on Saturday afternoons… and my bet, is that we will not be the only ones out there making the change!
Corporate America sometimes does some dumb stuff.
Maybe Brian Cornell needs to get out from Target’s corporate campus, grab Zevi and take a journey through his store aisles for a good perspective.