Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Target - Mission Statement

In this post, I talked about why it's vital to start your branding strategy with a strong mission statement to rally behind. has an article with mission statements from several retail giants, and I thought it would be fun to do a little debating over whether we think these brands have lived up to their brand promise. 

The first one up: Target

Target's mission/vision statement is:

"Our mission is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise. To support our mission, we are guided by our commitments to great value, the community, diversity and the environment."

First up is value.  I think Target delivers on value.  Are they the lowest prices on the block?  Not always.  Walmart and other discounters can deal a price smackdown now and again.  But where Target stands alone is innovation.  They were the first big box retailer to partner with contemporary and progressive designers to create low-price versions of high-brow concepts.  Michael Graves did their first line; now they work with Stella McCartney, Tucker, and Dwell Studio.  They've also developed a food category, a higher-end boutique beauty section, and have an eco-friendly focus.  Target wins on innovation, hands-down.

Exceptional guest experience is tough.   Target is well-organized, bright, and usually clean.  The checkers tend to be pretty nice, though the dressing rooms could really use some work.  However, I vastly prefer shopping at Target to many other discount retailers.  I like that they've partnered with Starbuck's.  It gives them an edge.  And I do think they're playing the "upscale experience for a downscale price" game solidly well.  So I'd agree.  Target is living up to their mission statement.

Emblemist:  Yes
Readers: ?

What do you think?  Does Target live up to its mission statement in your experience?


  1. I love Target. "Well-organized, bright, and usually clean" works really really well for me. Yeah, the prices aren't always as low as they could be, but they're usually damn good, and I'll pay a dollar or two more to avoid Wal*Mart. Target can be counted on to have just about everything I need, at a price and quality that I'm OK with. Last night I needed two plain T-shirts (solid colors, cheap, nothing fancy). Easy choice: Target. Found what I needed, in, out, $8 per shirt. They make me happy.

  2. I only find myself in a Target about once a year personally, but I think they've done an exceptional job of distancing themselves (brandwise) from Wal*Mart.

    In my experience, their clothing and shoes are ill-fitting and poorly made, their house-brand home items are of similarly poor quality, employee morale appears to be low, and I hate how the smell of the snack bar is the first experience you have as you walk in the store. But I have to hand it to them for providing a wide variety of products to buy at low prices.

  3. It's all emotional for me. I start to have anxiety in most box store (parking lots, ha! and I often don't get any further!) but not Target. Target is a safe, non-anxious choice, which is saying a lot for me in a retail environment.

    I think Target does exceptionally well at selling the idea of who shops at Target. We saw a commercial the other day... no words or text, it was just a group gathering for a holiday party. Mander said, I want to party with those people! And I said, it's a Target commercial. Hadn't seen it before but their branding and the *feel* of the image they're selling so attractive and consistent I recognized it immediately.

    (I don't usually comment but I was actually just poking around your blog here yesterday!)

  4. @istar: The snack bar is absolutely my least favorite part. Though I did notice that they now offer some "healthier" options and, in my local Target, have a Starbucks, which has the nicer roasted coffee smell. I'm not a Starbucks super-devotee, but I think they're fine and I far prefer them to the smell of hot dogs.

    Also, ditto on the comments re: the clothes. I mostly go for organizational stuff, beauty products and gift wrap.

  5. @crowjoy: Given Mander's response, Target is doing their job: their aspirational marketing is totally hitting its mark.

    The psychology goes like this, right: she wants to party with the people in that ad, so that means she wants to be one of them or finds some similarity with them. They shop at Target, so to party with them or be like them, she should shop at Target. This kind of stuff is insidious as a marketing tool, but it absolutely works.

  6. Hi there! Poking around and reading after your latest post was linked on FB. :-)

    I was just thinking the other day, as I wandered around Target, that it's so funny that it's THE place to go for Mommies. The whole place seemed to be filled with the same woman, clutching her coffee and checking out her highlights in the mirrors.

    Anyway! I like Target because you can find pretty much whatever you're looking for. The aisles are more open and clear than Walmart (Although, they've recently redone their local stores to look more like Target...) and I like how clean and bright everything is.