I received an email from a good buddy of mine, Richard Schenkar, about his experience with the new Seattle CityTarget store.
If you haven't heard about this, Target is opening test stores in the downtowns of several major cities. The first three opened the same week in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The experiment is to have a smaller footprint than a typical Target store and higher prices.
And that's where Richard's experience comes in. He saw a Target ad in the local paper for a vacuum cleaner with a coupon for a discount. Richard figured he'd go see the new downtown store and, at the same time, get the vacuum cleaner.
Richard picked up the vacuum, headed for the checkout and presented the coupon. Nope, can't use the coupon here, he's told. This is a CITY Target, not a regular Target.
These are two different stores? CityTarget has the same colors as Target. The Target.com website shows the downtown store when you do a search. It doesn't even call the downtown store CityTarget. It's called Target Pike Plaza. There is no CityTarget.com website.
I don't know about you, but I've always had the philosophy that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
Granted, in the giant picture, this might be a small issue. So they didn't take Richard's coupon? So what?
I think it IS important for several reasons. First, I believe this damages the Target brand. Target has worked hard to build a solid, dependable brand, and now they've made a stupid, typically CORPORATE decision to make policy different for differnt locations. I've said over and over, in branding EVERYTHING WALKS THE TALK. And, as I've also said, it's never the lions and tigers who get to you in the jungle. It's the mosquitos.
Little things matter. Little things, like this, bother customers a lot. And everything, no matter how small, impacts your brand. Every contact…every communication…every touchpoint…does one of three things. It MAINTAINS my perception of you. Or it ENHANCES my perception of you. Or it DIMINISHES my perception of you.
Don't let a hashtag, like #CityTargetFail get sent out for your business. Take a look at those little things that might actually p— off your customers.