Target targets local pride
In a unique twist on localization, Target has partnered with American menswear designer Todd Snyder to come up with a number of small collections tailored to select U.S. cities and "designed to celebrate hometown pride."
With a goal of making Target feel more like a neighborhood store, "Local Pride by Todd Snyder" will launch at 15 stores this week in Boston with t-shirts and baseball caps, pint glasses, phone cases, canvas bags and other locally relevant products. Some poke fun at the city’s accent with t-shirts reading, "Wicked smaht" or bearing sayings such as, "How bout them apples," "Where’s the packie?" and "Bean Town." Store associates at the opening will wear red t-shirts saying "Tahget."
Other merchandise focuses on local tastes such as Cape Cod potato chips, Flufflenutter sandwiches and Fenway Franks. The designer talked to cabbies and people at the city’s top tourist spots, including the Old Town Trolley tour, the Cheers bar, Boston Harbor and Fenway Park, for inspiration.
"This collection is about the sense of discovery," said Mr. Snyder in a statement. "We want to be your tour guide, showcasing the unique aspects of the local cities. I have visited some of the coolest spots and spoken to a lot of locals in each city that helped me design original, exclusive and fun designs."
The Wall Street Journal said Target is "chasing trend-loving consumers as they move from suburbs back into city centers," with the localization focus primarily on its smaller, urban "Target Express" stores. Target CEO Brian Cornell told the Journal, "It’s going to make them feel Target understands Boston."
The program will reach San Francisco and Chicago at the end of 2015, with more planned in 2016.
- Target and Designer Todd Snyder Celebrate Local Pride With a Series of Exclusive Collections – Target
- Target Goes for Local Cool – The Wall Street Journal (tiered sub.)
- Target’s new designer hits the road with city-specific lines – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
- Target – err, -Tahget’ – thinks it has a ‘wicked smaht’ plan to get Boston shoppers – The Boston Globe (tiered sub.)
What do you think of Target’s localization approach with “Local Pride by Todd Snyder”? What is needed to make such programs successful?
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13 Comments on "Target targets local pride"
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Most department stores in Europe that are anywhere near a tourist area have a little tourist souvenir section, so nothing new here. And Bostonians would be offended by a “Bean Town” shirt — only out-of-towners call it that and a Bostonian would be offended (but we’d be too polite to say anything). Almost as bad as wearing a Yankees shirt.
Locals will be ho-hum about this.
Smart move but late. To continue the pursuit of true localization they must get merchants in the specific regions. Macy’s did it. Target needs a different angle covering regional foods, apparel and store layout. Store layout issues relate to areas that are more sporting goods oriented and what they need regionally. A big area neglected by mass merchants is the sporting goods space. Walmart does well with adult sports like fishing.
I think Target may be missing the mark here. Much of the goods mentioned in the article sound far more appealing to tourists looking for a souvenir than local “trend-loving consumers.” I would encourage Target to take a look at Whole Foods’ approach to local — engage with local manufacturers, see what is selling at major local markets and create a small section or appealing label to drive awareness.
Successful retailers connect with their shoppers on an emotional level. Nothing hits closer to the heart than local love. Shoppers can feel like they’re considered and accounted for as humans instead of as a “target demographic,” no pun intended. In order to be ultimately successful in the long-term, Target and Todd Snyder will need to create a product that sings of the truly local story. As soon as the messaging defaults to cookie cutter content then it’s just a gimmick and loses any chance to surprise and delight shoppers.
It definitely feels very “meh” to me. As others have pointed out, it’s generally tourists that look for these products, not locals. Oddly, the big boon for locals would be having local high school colors on party supplies and clothes — especially during football season.
Having just spent a little time in a chaotic SuperTarget yesterday, I think starting with more cashiers would be a better initiative.
Target is overdue for a compelling second act to its limited-availability designer partnerships. This feels a bit too kitchy and generic to fit the bill. Localization is important for sure, and Target has been late to the party, but engaging with local suppliers and featuring favorite local brands in stores would seem to be a more authentic and customer-centric strategy.
Retail started in the first open air markets and has always been about “local.”
In the age of big box retailers, much of “localization” was abandoned in the quest for “mass” and streamlined operations to squeeze out costs.
Target’s localization project is the kind of initiative that could be the road back to differentiation that appeals to customers at “their local store.”
Target’s challenge is that they are still a big box store chain, albeit with some smaller format Target Express stores. Target needs to be able to find a way to localize assortments in a way that does not jeopardize inventory turns and logistics — if so, it could be a real winner.
This is a department store, not a souvenir shop. Maybe it would work in parts of the country that don’t have souvenir shops, but then you wouldn’t have anything cute to sell.
That’s a neat idea but what about celebrating small towns like Pie Town, NM, Chico, CA or Dogtown, AL?
It’s a great idea — IF there is an actual known identity. That means something locals actually identify with. IMHO most cities aren’t known for anything, there is nothing in particular to be proud of. Picking Boston as an example for this article is a no-brainer. But take the city of Scottsdale, Arizona: the brutal reality is we’re not known for anything. And if I see one more “it’s a dry heat” thing I’m going to scream. Gosh are we tired of that. It’s like saying “eh” to a Canadian and thinking they’re going to double over in laughter at your cleverness.
My point goes way beyond finding a city-relevant coffee mug or t-shirt. It is widely felt that “the city” is what will save this country. But that will come only when cities have an identity, a vision for themselves. Localized products will not create that identity, the identity has to create the product.
Good idea poor execution. These shirts, etc., look touristy. They’re just t-shirts and coffee mugs. Duh. Had they come up with more funky, fun, quirky designs, there may have been some appeal to the locals. Keep at it Target, you can do it! And that’s my two cents.
I like this. I don’t see it as a long ongoing program, but just another in a line of fun, quick in and out product lines that Target does so well.
I doubt if it will make the customers feel like Target understands their city, but I think it will be fun and attention getting and there is enough volume going through the store that it will sell out and they can move on to the next quirky thing.
I disagree with others who question the product assortment. I think inexpensive, semi-disposable items like tees, mugs etc. is just the right merchandise to put this on.
Since SF is one of the markets being targeted—no pun intended—I’ll be able to tell in a few months. Specifically, I’ll know if it was a thoughtful effort that embraces the entire Bay Area, or just “The City” specific cliches. Which would be my concern, namely that it ends up being some outsider’s version of what people in a given area like.
Of course maybe I’m focusing too much on the peculiarities of my own (multi-centered) metro area, or just being too negative in general. Just like any other marketing effort, if done properly it can be a positive.