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“We think this brand relaunch is really going back to the real strength of the brand, which is all about affordable quality,” Richard Pearson, Target Australia’s managing director, told Inside Retail.
“We’re trying to execute it in a way that resonates with families with a nice warmth and humour to the tone of the communications.”
In one of the ads, a father entertains his kids by allowing them to dress him up, while he simultaneously makes a purchase from Target on his phone.
“There’s a big digital leaning to what we’re putting out there to reflect our transition to being a more digitally oriented business,” Pearson said.
While Target Australia has had brand relaunches before, Pearson said this one is intended to “stand the test of time”.
“We’ll always bring new creative and obviously our products will change with the seasons, but we think we’ve got a DNA of the brand that will stand the test of time, and we think we’ve got a platform that we can use for consistent execution over a long period of time as well,” he said.
“This is a pretty major pillar of the whole reset of the business. It’s something that we can really build upon over time.”
Part of Wesfarmers’ Kmart Group, Target Australia has undergone a major restructure after several years of declining sales. In FY21, the store network was reduced to 140 locations after some stores were closed and others converted into Kmarts.
At the same time, more focus was placed on its digital offering, including improvements to the user experience of the website and the creation of a hybrid fulfilment model to speed up delivery.
Under Pearson’s leadership over the past year, new design and fabric standards were introduced to improve the quality and style cues of Target’s private-label apparel offering, while still keeping prices affordable.
The brand relaunch is meant to communicate these changes to customers and signal that the old Target they knew and loved is back, albeit in a more modern and relevant form.
“We’ve done a lot of listening to customers. We’ve done a lot of listening to team members,” said Pearson.
“We have some tremendously passionate, long-serving team members who are really good advocates for the brand, and they were able to succinctly describe what Target was about when it was at its best.”
These conversations helped inform the retailer’s new slogan – ‘that’s Target’ – while the recent restructure influenced how the ads were rolled out.
“We still have TV content, but the weight in the campaign is now dedicated to digital channels, both in terms of paid media, social media and organic channels,” Pearson said.
“That’s really drawing upon the strength of the Target business, which, like many retailers, has had the catalyst of lockdowns and store closures really accelerate our digital capability. While it’s been very tough, and we’d all obviously rather it hadn’t happened, we’re a far better digital retailer than we were going into it, and that will benefit us in the long-term.”
New charity partnership
Alongside the brand relaunch, Target has also announced a new partnership with the Australian Childhood Foundation. The retailer has pledged $250,000 to the charity organisation, which will enable the development of a program to support vulnerable young mums and their children.
“The Australian Childhood Foundation is all about helping families, and families are at the heart of our customer demographic, so there’s a really strong alignment,” Pearson said.
Target has also released an exclusive Gingerbread-themed family pyjama set in the lead-up to Christmas and will donate $2 from every sale to the Australian Childhood Foundation.
“We’re going to have more products next year that will do similar things, which is a really nice sweet spot for us,” he said. “Doing our bit for society, it’s helping to put the brand back in the right place, and we can bring our product expertise to help as well.”
Pearson said team members are proud of the partnership and energised by it, and he expects many to get involved in the organisation going forward.
“I think it’s an obligation of a large business to do their bit for the community and play a role in society to help people who need a bit of assistance,” he said.