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Hit the Bulls-eye with Brand Consistency… Despite the Season

It’s almost here! The day so many women have been waiting for … Black Friday.  Time for deals, discounts and holiday cheer. But, how important is this holiday to retailers and what can brands do to prepare?
ShopperTrak is predicting that this Black Friday will be the top-performing day for retail foot traffic and sales in 2012. With an estimated 684 million store visits and $20.8 billion in retail purchases in 2011, I would venture to say that every retailer wants a piece of the pie. However, retail success takes planning that begins far before the holiday season arrives. Big brand retailers like Walmart, Target and Costco are successful for a reason… consistent brand messaging.

Take Advice from Big Brands and See the Benefits in your Bottom Line

In 1960, Target took a risk and transformed its family-run department store into, what is now, one of the nation’s largest discount-store chains. With the change came a new “look” and promise to its guests. The “look” incorporated a classic, vibrant red bulls-eye and was chosen because, “As a marksman’s goal is to hit the center bulls-eye, the new store would do much the same in terms of retail goods, services, commitment to the community, price, value and overall experience.” 1
Since 1962, Target’s most recognizable bulls-eye, the promise to their customers, and its core value, evidenced by the current tagline “Expect More. Pay Less.,” has remained constant. As a result, Target is #3 in the 2012 Top 100 Retailers report by National Retail Federation (NRF).
What can other brands glean from Target’s example?  Target remains true to the integrity of its brand. Brand integrity is the “desirable outcome for companies seeking to maintain a consistent, unambiguous position in the mind of their audience. This integrity of brand includes consistent messaging and often includes using a set of graphics standards to maintain visual integrity in marketing communications.” 2
Even at a time when consumers are being inundated with myriad holiday advertising, Target’s brand remains consistent throughout the year and its customers have come to depend on it.
Brand consistency is only one piece of the “brand puzzle.” Check back for Branding – Part 2 to learn how customer experience affects a brand.
Meredith Chase
Director, Brand Strategy