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Retail Rebranding: The Brand Filter

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

This is part 6 of 10 in a series by Craig Carl, SVP Creative Director, The Integer Group Dallas

So the new brand is up and running. But do your sales associates understand the concept? If it’s unclear to your employees, imagine how vague it appears to the customer.

When customers or your employees come into contact with any touch point of your business, what is the feeling you want them to come away with? What is the idea or feeling you measure your decisions against?

For example: when Victoria’s Secret launched, they were decidedly provocative, but so was Frederick’s of Hollywood. In order to differentiate themselves from all the other sexy lingerie stores, the chain used one word to filter its creative and merchandising choices: “romantic.” This defined their brand vision and let them walk the thin line between sexy and sleazy.

In the mid ‘90s, Target was at a marketing crossroads. They were in direct competition with Walmart and regularly came in second at the “low-price” game. So they made a simple but hard decision: don’t even try.

Instead, Target introduced their version of “cheap chic.” The “cheap chic” filter was applied to everything the store produced, right through to the advertising. Design-driven products were developed, including a line of housewares by world-famous architect Michael Graves. Famous-label fashion designers created exclusive, inexpensive clothing lines.

Robert Ulrich, Target’s visionary CEO at that time, steadfastly maintained the simple, white box format that kept the focus on the experience, not the architecture. He kept the “cheap” in the building and put the “chic” in the products. The result differentiated Target from Walmart and created a reason to shop that transcended price.

Brand filters are not tag lines. The public doesn’t see them; they experience the result of using them to define the brand.

Next week, Retail Rebranding: It’s All in the Mix

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