Target Corporation Brand Building

Topics: Company

Target Corporation is a developed company which focuses exclusively on general merchandise retailing. Our principal operating strategy is to provide exceptional value to American consumers through multiple retail formats ranging from upscale discount and moderate-priced to full-service department stores. According to, in the finance section, we found that Target is moving into the on-line business industry and targeting consumers to shop on-line. Also it states how many stores Target has and the range of general merchandise items.

Target Corporation operates general merchandise and food discount stores in the United States, which include Target and SuperTarget stores.

The Company offers both everyday essentials and fashionable differentiated merchandise. Target’s credit card operations represent an integral component of its core retail business. The Company also operates a fully integrated online business, It operates Target general merchandise stores with a range of general merchandise and a limited assortment of food items, as well as SuperTarget stores with a line of food and general merchandise items. offers a range of general merchandise, including many items found in its stores and a complementary assortment, such as extended sizes and colors, sold only online. As of February 2, 2008, the Company had 1,591 retail stores. As of May 3, 2008, Target opened 26 new stores, including 14 general merchandise stores and eight SuperTarget stores (

Company History

Target Corporation is the fourth largest retailer in the United States. The company operates a total of 1,556 stores in 47 different states. Formerly Dayton Hudson Corporation, Target has three main retail divisions: Target Stores, Mervyn’s, and Marshall Field’s.

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Target Stores is the number two discount retailer in the country, trailing only Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Target has distinguished itself from its competitors by offering upscale, fashion-conscious products at affordable prices. The 1,225 Target stores generated 84 percent of Target’s fiscal 2002 revenues. The store count includes Target Great-land units, which are much larger than the typical Target store. The Great-land stores average 145,000 square feet compared to the traditional 126,000 square feet of a regular store. Super Target outlets, which are combined discount/grocery stores, averaging 175,000 square feet.

Generating 9 percent of 2002 revenues were Mervyn’s 267 stores situated in 14 states, primarily in the West, Southwest, and Midwest (specifically Minnesota and Michigan). Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Mervyn’s positions itself as a chain of moderately priced, family friendly, neighborhood department stores. Target Corporation’s full-service department store division, contributor of 6 percent of sales, is now consolidated under the Marshall Field’s banner. The 62 Marshall Field’s stores (which include locations that formerly operated under the Dayton’s and J.L. Hudson’s names) are located in eight states in the upper Midwest, with the majority found within three metropolitan areas: Minneapolis, Chicago, and Detroit. Target Corporation’s philanthropy has been and still is legendary. In 1989 the corporation received the America’s Corporate Conscience Award for its magnanimity, and Target contributes more than $2 million each week to the communities in which its stores are located.

Condensed Timeline

In 1902, George D. Dayton opens Goodfellows in downtown Minneapolis.

In 1962, The Dayton Company enters mass market discount merchandising with the opening of its first Target store in Roseville, Minnesota on May 1.

In 1968, The Target bullseye logo is redesigned to its current appearance.

In 1979, Target stores reach $1 billion in annual sales.

In 1985, the weekly Target stores advertising circular becomes America’s second-most-read newspaper insert after the Sunday comics.

In 1995, Target stores introduce its first store credit card. In 2001 the Target(r) Visa(r) is introduced. Today, all are part of the REDcardSM family of products.

In 2000, The Dayton Hudson Corporation is renamed Target Corporation.

In 2005, Target Corporation ranks among the top 20 corporate contributors in the nation, giving $2 million each week to the communities it serves. Target also celebrates reaching the $50 billion mark in annual sales. This year, Converse(r) One Star(r), a new and innovative collection of vintage-inspired clothing and footwear, debuts at Target.


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.(r) brand promise. To support our mission, we are guided by our commitments to great value, the community, diversity and the environment

1. What products does the company offer?

Target exclusively carries Sony products. They also carry Eddie Bauer, Tupperware, Calphalon and Waverly. They also carry the Mossimo brand, which at one time was “upscale, cutting-edge surfwear”. (Jeffrey Arlen) Target was able to extend the Mossimo brand and increase its popularity in the stores. The following is from Arlen’s article:

Mossimo merchandise includes a range of on-trend styles that extend from stretch spandex/cotton wovens to board shorts and shoes. The line’s design is edgy, playful and wearable, putting it in sync with Target’s marketing proposition. And this is certainly a key to Target’s success. “The ads, the merchandise, the stores, it’s all integrated, and they keep raising the bar for other retailers,” Corlett says. They offer a large variety of products from electronics to kitchenware, and from children’s clothing to personal hygiene products.


Target’s financial history is found in Appendix D. Charts and a graph show the trend of Target’s finances and also current trend for December 5, 2008, as shown in the graph.

It looks like for the 2008 fiscal year, we would be looking at generating about $19 billion for the fourth quarter. If we look at the past two years, we see that the fourth quarter is around $19.7 billion or more. The total revenue for this fiscal year would probably be around $64.2 billion. It seems to us that Target has a strong financial backbone and even with the economy in its decline, they still show a profit and positive trend, especially in the retail industry.

Threats and Opportunity Analysis

The following assessment presents the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for the Target Corporation. It identifies the key internal and external factors that are important to achieving the company objective. The internal factors present the strengths and weaknesses internal to the company whereas the external factors are presented in the opportunities and threats to the Target Corporation.

Strengths to Build Upon

* Target is an innovation and influential retail store. Their mission statement focuses on four core goals: great guest service, clean stores, in stock merchandise and speedy checkout. These guidelines make up the culture of the fast, fun and friendly stores.

* Target emphasizes on new ideas and exclusive products, such as Clear Rx. This invention has grossed the company over 7% of their total sales and contributes to about 33% of the guests.

* Target is committed to having their location accessible to many of their current and potential guests.

* Target has made agreements with top designers to sell their luxurious items at affordable prices for Target customers. An example of that is Victoria Secret’s line of Gillian O’Malley lingerie line that is sold at Target at affordable price.

* In some states, the Police department use Target’s Asset Protection systems to catch unlawful behaviors such as theft and monitor fraudulent activity.

Weaknesses to Overcome

* Target is not a global retailer, which means that they do not have a presence in countries worldwide. Therefore, they should look into traveling overseas, since their competitors like Wal-Mart are working internationally and boosting their revenues.

* Pharmacy customers for Target account for 7% of their total sales and revenues but their turnover rate for Pharmacist is very high, since they work 12-hour a day shifts. This in turn affects their sales and customer satisfaction.

Opportunities to Exploit

* Target has a reputation for new product development and creativity. Target can build upon this reputation to penetrate new market in innovativeness and originality.

* Like all its competitors, Target Corporation uses coupons to attract customers. Until recently coupons could only be used in store, but now the coupons can be used in store and online. With their company website and technological advancement such as the Internet, Target can move to the computer literate market segment thus leading to higher sales.

* To take on competition plans, such as Wal-Mart, and focus on international markets.

* New locations give Target an opportunity to be diverse in the market. More and more Target stores are attaching to trendy malls in different market segments.

Threats to Overcome:

* Most Target stores are located within 10 mile radius of their major competition.

* In some markets, Target’s prices are higher than their competitor’s.

* Target stores that are not Superstores and do not possess a grocery department is a threat since their major competitor such as Wal-Mart are now implementing the majority of their stores into Super centers.

IV. Marketing Strategy

Market Segment

The strategy is very clear; the company implements new products, grocery, and well known brands by using differentiation. This differentiation strategy allows Target to establish originality, away from the traditional discount retail stores. Quality products along with trend setting styles keep the big department store feel without having cheap products. The marketing strategy is to be identified as an upscale discount store with trend conscious products. John Geisse, who was a senior vice president and the originator of the discount store concept stated, “We will offer high-quality merchandise at low margins, because we are cutting expenses. We would much rather do this than trumpet dramatic price cuts on cheap merchandise.” Regular discount stores, such as Wal-Mart focus on price and low cost through products.

Target has broken away from the general assumptions of discount stores. With Wal-Mart focusing on price and other retail stores struggling, the company has been unchallenged as a premium discount store. The company has developed a drive to be creative and innovative in their marketing strategy. The differentiation aspect of Target is to outperform on specific dimensions. The cleanliness of the store, shopping environment and overall experience the customer receives is part of the strategy (Lisanti, 2001). The focus is always on the consumer. Every merchandising decision is based on the commitment the company has to its target market.

The company considers their customers as guests and wants their employees to treat them as such. The store attracts affluent customers with in-house brands and national products (Lebhar-Friedman, 2001). The target market is well educated with 48% of the consumers having a college degree and up to 80% that have attended college. The demographics of the target shopper has an average age of 41, and 76% of those customers are women. Most come from low to middle class income levels with an average of $63,000 per year. The customer base is family oriented with 45% having children currently living at home.

The company segments the market by offering a wide range of products that are beneficiary to the consumer. The company is constantly evolving through changing tastes and trends of consumers. The creativity and vision is shown through the extraordinary merchandising and promotion. Every-day commodities are expressed through stylish images in magazine ads. Commercials on television are both whimsical and extreme (Arlen, 2001). The strategy behind such colorful promotion is to create a high brand position based on consumer perceptions. Target has high brand awareness, 97% of American consumers recognize the bullseye logo. The consumer awareness gives Target a competitive advantage against the competitors. Target wants to develop an emotional relationship with the consumers. Marketing strategies attempt to create a relationship between the consumer and the brand.

Customer Insight

By studying advertisements we were able to decide the customer insight for Target. Consumers believe that being trendy and diverse gives them a high social status and an upbeat positive self image. Target has taken the idea of following the latest trends and fashions and incorporated new sleek designs into daily ware and household goods (Arlen, 2001). The huge selection the company offers is diverse and gives consumers a sense or originality. Having a positive image is shown through the stores attitude and upbeat theme. The store associates are fast and friendly and are willing to assist the guests in any way possible. The dramatic d�cor in the store is designed to announce brand position. Aesthetics such as vivid colors and modern art entice consumers that Target is a premiere brand. Quality products at a reasonable price define social status without shopping at a regular discount store. Fun and cheerful commercials tell customers that Target can fulfill their self image. By evaluating customer insight Target has been able to understand and unlock consumer motivations.

Key Brand Benefit

Consumer Driven Strategy

To determine the brand health of Target we interviewed 30 individuals using the task brief questionnaire. The industry category for Target is discount priced retail and supercenter stores. We profiled consumers at Target versus Wal-Mart by using the 4 As measurement scale. We recorded the attitudes and behaviors in a table located in Appendix A. As the table shows there is a difference in percentages between the two companies. The majority of Target customers are classified as adopters with 36 percent of the total sample base. The second highest category is acceptors with 23 percent followed by available. Surprisingly adorers and rejectors had the same percentage of consumers. Only 7 percent of the total sample base is considered an adorer. Wal-Mart on the other hand, has a higher customer base of acceptors, adopters, and adorers. Wal-Mart has 16 percent more adorers and rejectors is 3 percent less than Target.

The result of the survey conducted shows the need for Target to set specific consumer goals. Table B in the appendix shows the result of the consumer driven strategy. Each of the consumer categories were divided up into percentages. Based on the number of consumption and the percent of consumers in each category, Target has great potential to develop a change in attitudes and behaviors. As of right now, adorers only represent 6 percent of the entire category after the number of consumption. Adopters have a much larger percentage of the majority with 71 percent. By changing the number of consumption per category and the attitude towards the brand, Target has an opportunity to increase brand commitment. The consumer goal for Target is to convert 10 percent of adopters to adorers by moving the consumer along the journey. By increasing the volume of adorers the total percentage of consumption will grow to 17 percent. The advantage to having more adorers is customer loyalty through repeat purchasing. Positive word-of-mouth will be spread to other consumer categories and perceptions will transform.

Brand Essence Wheel

Along with the consumer driven strategy we also surveyed the individuals about the facts and feelings that determine the brand image to the consumer using the brand essence wheel. Responses were subject to the rational thinking and emotional beliefs about the image of Target. We received a number of words used to describe the brand from the survey. Both positive and negative words were expressed along with some neutral feelings. Some of the terms used to describe the product include: quality, busy, creative, diverse, atmosphere, and cheap. The diverse use of language shows the different attitudes consumers have toward the product. When it comes to what the product does for the consumer the thoughts are slightly similar. The selection of Target consists of quality merchandise with style and reasonable prices. The store atmosphere coincides with the unique advertised themes. Target creates value to new ideas that attracts middle class consumers.

Responses were distinctive when asked, how the brand makes me look. Individuals have an emotional viewpoint on how others perceive them. Target shoppers give the impression of being organized, comfortable and trendy. Upbeat and friendly attitudes are associated with the open selection the company has. The mindset of want it-need it is satisfied with the sense of having money. The final question referenced to feelings is consumer’s ability to recognize how the brand makes them feel through personal characteristics. Target makes a person feel smart, in-style, and equal to others. Equality is shown through social status and the luxurious taste the product gives them. Consumers relate high fashion models in the commercials to their own individuality.

The inner part of the wheel is broken up into three sections. The first section is facts and symbols that connect the brand to people’s minds. Symbols are recognized by sight, repetition, and memory. The results of the survey had an assortment of language with the target symbol being the main theme. Expect more pay less slogan is widely known along with the catchy advertisements. Colors such as red and white, and the circled shape target are represented in every promotional endeavor. Consumers also associate the dog and cheerful music with the company. The second part is the personality of the brand. Target is both unique and self-aware of the impact it has on society. The brand is a people pleasure and is open and carefree with respect to others. Targets light-hearted personality creates a positive attitude and cheerful mentality. The brand characterizes humble, clean cut, yet has an edge with fashion and new trends.

The final element for the brand essence wheel is the core. The core for Target is represented by value, customer and trend. The company is dependable with quality products and service which create value. The costs associated with the brand are reasonable and fair. Customers assess a value to the merchandise, and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Targets main focus is on the customer. Target’s vice chairman Jerry Storch stated, “It’s all based on a clearly-defined customer, one which remains in the company’s strategic sights even as it embarks on a new era of growth with its Super Target format (Lebhar-Friedman, 2001).” Expressions such as cheerful, friendly and satisfaction are the result of the impact the brand has on the consumer. The layout of the store is designed specifically for consumers to maneuver throughout the different departments. Bold colors and sleek designs attract customers to the brand. The final core value is the trend. Trend is one of the core values because of how much focus is emphasized on creativity and fashion. Encouraging new ideas and following trend lines is a part of the strategy at Target. The consumer associates trend with the brand because of the ever changing products and ideas that are implemented into the stores.

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Target Corporation Brand Building. (2017, Dec 30). Retrieved from

Target Corporation Brand Building
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