Does Target need a blog? The short answer is Yes and No.
A Customer Blog is Overkill for Target
Two general reasons to start a corporate blog are to engage customers in a dialogue and to bring a new, authentic and transparent dimension to a company. But is this necessary for a brand as well-known and as popular as Target? It's so well-known that 96 percent of American consumers recognized the bullseye, beating out the apple and the swoosh in a 2002 brand awareness poll.
Target, the nation’s fifth-largest retailer, outspends Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest, in marketing and is one of the most creative marketers in retail. This combination of bucks and brains has vaulted Target to “cool retail icon” status. Affordable design is the common thread integrating everything Target does—from its advertising and promotions to its products and store environment.
And while Target is not officially blogging, the volume is also up to 11 online. AdRants reports that Target offers a desktop application aimed at teen girls to “splash the Target brand all over their desktops.” up2d8 lets them design their own desktop backgrounds, organize their calendar and stay current with the latest fashion, music and Target products. Customers can also sign up for the online version, giving them web access.
Based on its success, I predict Target will turn the up2d8rs into a community. They’ll be able to swap desktop backgrounds, festooned with one of the best logos ever, and they’ll probably gain access to other consumer-generated media tools. Would this, um, target audience create a free blog at up2d8.com? Probably.
Target is one brand that could skip creating their own customer blog, slowly build a community of passionate customers and then give them the tools to promote the bullseye brand.
For all we know, Target is taking Scoble’s advice. Robert Scoble spoke with the retailer’s PR team back in May.
A Blog for Target Employees is Long Overdue
Moving from customers to employees, Target does need an employee-focused blog. The best possible store environment can be dashed by a surly store employee. We’ve all been waited on by someone that made you want nothing more than a hasty exit. An employee blog could immerse employees in the Target brand, identify HR issues, strengthen employee relations and help recruit new employees.
Target could learn a lot from:
- Honeywell: The manufacturer created a ”Career Blog” so potential candidates can get a read on company culture from current, passionate employees.
- Labor Unions: Most alarming is that the union already hosts blogs for Target employees to give them a voice in the hopes they can organize them. The Target Stores Employees’ Web Site aggregates blog posts from current, and even potential, employees.
- Current Employees: Honeywell’s positive experiences impact search results should any current employees blog about a negative experience. As Target is not officially blogging, a quick Google search turns up Target employee B. Ron.
B. Ron writes openly about his experience setting the store with “some f&*^head from corporate.” “I will tell you, if it weren't for real morons this company might be bigger than Wal-Mart. What am I saying, everyone that works at Wal-Mart is a moron!”
Target needs to engage its employees in a dialogue and give them a voice. Left unchecked, labor unions and its unhappy employees will impact customer opinion of this top retailer.