During the 2012 Holiday Season, Target announced a partnership with Neiman Marcus, which was supposed to “set the stage for a redefining moment in retail”. What it redefined was how a company can totally miss the mark on understanding their own customers. It also redefined the too all too common disconnect between brand message intentions and store execution. The official explanation:

‘There are two spikes during the Christmas season, Black Friday and last-minute shopping just before Christmas… with a lull between”… “We underestimated that lull.”… “We believe we created a price barrier.”

I don’t disagree with that assertion, but I think it has to be noted that product presentation plays a key here. The first image suggests fashion, whimsy, and attitude. This display in the second pic does nothing but create confusion in the middle of Softlines.



The takeaway? You must execute your brand message at every touch point. Both Target and Neiman Marcus have historically been great at this, so what gives?