Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello Canada! Expect More. Pay Less. Is that eh ok?

Target Canada will face stiff competition when it arrives in 2013. I believe that Target  can convince Canadian consumers to chose them over the other guy if they position themselves correctly. That being said,  how can Target accomplish this? Most importantly, can Canadians truly embrace Target as THE new upscale discounter in their fine country?

Similarly to the U.S., Target caters to women. This target audience is characterized as having significant purchasing power, they exercise great influence as opinion leaders and are "multi-minded". As the Canadian economy is quite strong, their purchasing power will work in Target’s favour as they will be instrumental in deciding whether or not their household will shop at Target or continue to acquire their goods at other large  Canadian retailers.

Firstly, Target must ensure that its brand and its "bull’s eye" logo becomes top of mind for Canadian consumers. In order to accomplish this objective, they will need to integrate it into their marketing and public relations tactics and play up its colours as their logo  and the Canadian flag share the same colours. Also, their upscale discounter image can be successful in Canada if Target continuously communicates their strong value proposition of  "Expect More.Pay Less" as part of their overall strategy.

We must also consider Target's competition such as Walmart, Canadian Tire, Sears Canada and JOE Fresh. To counter this threat, Target must continue to position itself as a trendy and hip retailer whose mission it is to ensure its guests live a unique shopping experience while acquiring high quality items at discount prices. This will help differentiate them from Walmart, for example, as they prefer to focus on offering consumers everyday low prices.

This leads us to the exciting part: Tactics! To successfully enter Canada, Target will need  to integrate Canada's cultural diversity into its tactics. As they have never encountered this challenge, I've come up with a few suggestions to help them receive a warm welcome from my fellow Canucks.

My first attempt to create buzz and excitement around the Target brand would be to stage a special event in popular shopping malls across Canada. I would send out press kits to local fashion reporters and invite local bloggers to attend the event.  The special event would feature models wearing Target's designer clothing and Target representatives would give out goodie bags while serving local fare, for example, mini poutines in Montréal.

The main attraction would be a large version of the Target logo. People could potentially win  a variety of Target gift cards by playing darts with the logo. The maximum prize would be $1,000 and presented to people who reached the center of the bull’s eye.

The second tactic will build on Target’s design for all mantra and would be announced a week after the special event. Target would launch a new designer competition and encourage Canadian designers from across the country to create an apparel line for their store. The winner would be awarded $10,000 and their collection would be featured in their own "Shop".

The competition would be promoted through a national TV ad campaign similar to their current commercials yet tailored to engage a Canadian audience. In addition, I would reach out to local fashion reporters as well as local fashion schools. I would also post information on Target's  social media pages and create a Twitter hashtag: #designforcanada to incite participants to share their collections with Target's followers.  

Participants would need to create a full Winter 2013 collection clothing line that integrates at least one revamped traditional Canadian apparel item, i.e. moccasins, or a new Canadian item, i.e. Japanese kimono. The final participants’ collections would be judged by Canadian opinion leaders which would include Jeanne Beker, Marilyn Denis and Flare magazine’s new editor in chief, Miranda Purves. The winner and their collection would be announced on the opening day of Target's first store in Toronto. This will help attract curious consumers and local media who are eager to purchase or view their fellow Canadian's clothing line.

I am confident that by using these proposed public relations tactics to support Target as THE new upscale discounter in Canada that they would not only satisfy Canadian consumers’ stylish and unique tastes but that they would topple their competition in 2013.

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