Branding Opportunity or Ugly Concrete Posts? August 2, 2009

As Shareology was circling Target for the 14th time last week, she started to notice that Target may be unique in its ability to turn a 3 foot high red ball or concrete barrier at the store front into a branding statement:
Target and those 3 foot high red concrete balls at the store entrance

Target and those 3 foot high red concrete balls at the store entrance

How do other stores deal with store fronts and the need to protect the random driver from crashing into a very expensive entrance?  Let’s see how Best Buy, Sports Authority and Harley Davidson deal with the same issue.   Let’s see what branding opportunities are hits and which are misses.

Best Buy:  Ya think they park the car here for the sheer Branding Power of Geekness?

Best Buy: Ya think they park the car here for the sheer Branding Power of Geekness?

Further Away:  Looking Good

Lost Opportunity:  Where is the yellow and blue when it comes to concrete barriers?  Beige is bland, bland, bland....

Oops:   Why no beautiful blue or yellow carried through to the concrete barriers?   Like we’re not gonna notice them if they’re beige?

Let’s see how Best Buy’s neighbor handles the same challenge with a tad more integration:

The Black Posts repeat the shading of the Red Logo:  Yay!

The Black Posts repeat the shading of the Red Logo: Yay!

Looking Good!   Sports Authority is making its corporate colors work by repeating the shading color with the concrete barriers.   Didn’t we always say how important accessorizing is?

And the Winner Is!

And the Winner Is!

Shareology has to admit she was very pleasantly surprised how Harley Davidson in Eden Prairie, Minnesota handles the concrete column challenge.  They don’t!   Instead we have this garden wall.   (Don’t you always shop for your bike surrounded by flowers and garden walls?)  Hey, you’re not gonna drive your pickup through this concrete garden wall, trust me!  So function is served.   But on least a couple of occasions, Shareology has sauntered through this garden and the bikes for sale wondering if she shouldn’t consider another mode of transportation.  

So:   what do YOU think?  Target’s use of the 3 foot round red concrete balls on four corners of their lot, plus at the store entrances, is a strong and unique branding opportunity.  Or do you prefer the outdoor shopping environment Harley sets up in Eden Prairie?  Shareology wants to know!

Kay Roseland   @KayLoire


Big Box? Big Lot? Or…Public Art? July 20, 2009

As retail  struggles, some retailers in blue stress low prices. Other retailers in red look to outside store design to draw customers into their stores.  Previous experience in point of purchase suggests that the outside of the store impacts the decisions made inside the store.

Those of us who have been strolling the newly opened Edina Promenade, participating in the “Judge the Public Art” contest, might be excused for considering the Super Target on York Avenue as part of that public art. Instead of the normal flat boring back of store, we are treated to some rolling hills, green grass, trees and structural elements of the new Target architectural language.  

Public Art -- Target Art

Public Art/Target Art

 Proceed off the Promenade and around the store’s north side and you find the best looking rain runoff area ever featuring white chunky bricks replicated in the nearby low rock walls. 

Rain Water Drains
Rain Water Drains

 Next up on our Around the Target Tour? Six red chairs ready for your next conference break, picnic, or just plain contemplating all things restfully red. (Will we ever look at a three foot red concrete ball again and not think of Target?)


 The chairs are just off the colonnade that leads you from Galleria across the street to a covered walkway straight south into the store’s entrance. This shaded walkway does a lot to alleviate the harsh Minnesota sun, and makes quite a refreshing entrance to the store.  

Almost as much fun as the Guthrie Theatre's front porch on  the river
Almost as much fun as the Guthrie Theatre’s front porch on the river

Just to give one a teeny glimpse of how good design permeates all things Target, even the ladies room inside the store offers sleekly designed sinks and faucets. Want still more good design and function? Those hand dryers are super effective and efficient:  how come these weren’t in use years ago?

Great Design in places you'd never think to look.........
Great Design in places you’d never think to look………

I know it’s hard, but we leave the store (picnic supplies in tow) and continue our tour back to the Promenade. These hydrangeas are part of the landscaping that perfectly sets off the south side of the store.

Our final shot shows how Target has used images that support the brand while sending messages about how fun and elegant shopping here can be. (Didn’t think elegant was a word you would use to describe Target? Take another look at the woman striding forth in the red dress.) Not one image on the outside of the store that causes us to cringe; all show various Target customers, all demographics blissfully happy in the red spending zone. Try feeling this good about design in blue shopping cart land; ain’t gonna happen.

The Bullseye Branding Rocks!
The Bullseye Branding Rocks!

A tip of the shopping cart to Target, and the designers, architects and landscapers who made this possible!

Is the U.S. consumer marching into stores because of the design of the exterior? Or will Bentonville take over the world?

Even in a challenged economy, I feel a lot better about spending my dollars in a store that makes me happy before I even enter. What about you? What about the consumer?

Kay Roseland / Twitter: @KayLoire


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