Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Open Letter to Target Corporation

To Whom It May Concern:

Allow me to preface my issue by saying, “I love Target.” The selection,
the shopping experience, the store layouts, the overall design
aesthetic of the stores, and the brand persona all make me want to
visit Target before any other option. I often share my love of this
store with people in casual conversation, and more often than not,
others tend to agree with me. Now that you have a sense of our
starting point I'll share with you a serious issue I now have –
customer service.

I am disheartened to read through Target's facebook page and find case
after case of similar experiences shared by too many people. For a
company with so many strengths I am appalled that their corporate
leadership are unaware or unwilling to address this apparently
company wide issue.

My most recent (and most severe) personal encounter with this disservice
culture was a week and a half ago on November 25, 2011 (also known as
Black Friday). My husband an I have a Black Friday tradition in
celebration of my birthday for the last 10 years. We usually
prioritize Target and this year was no different. My biggest goal for
the evening was an Xbox Kinect bundle which was advertised as
including the game Wipeout 2. Since we do the stand in line for hours
routine I was easily able to get to the electronics section and snag
a Kinect from the store employee charged with distributing them. I
continued shopping and returned to the electronics department almost
an hour later for a different item. I overheard a conversation
between another customer and a Target representative who seemed to be
in a management position. Apparently Wipeout 2 was not with the
Kinect when I picked it up, I was apparently responsible for picking
up a copy of the game in order to receive it free with my purchase.

Let me stop the story here for a moment to clarify a couple key points. 1
– the employee distributing the Kinect systems did not inform any
of us receiving the box that the game had to be obtained elsewhere. 2
– while the games were in the electronics section, they were not
with the Kinect boxes being distributed. 3 – the representative who
may have been a manager of my location was at best disinterested in
the situation.

After speaking with the representative near the Kinect games I was informed
that Wipeout 2 had sold out. Throughout the brief encounter with this
individual it was clear that dealing with me was a nuisance to him
and he was far too important a person to be dealing with customers on
such a busy night (at this point I was starting to get angry and I
made the mistake of not getting this gentleman's name or position).
Since I had finished my shopping I wandered back to the toy section
to get in the line. Lines are long on Black Friday (people who gripe
about that should be at home in bed) and standing in a long line gave
me plenty of time to think through this problem. So I tweeted.

This is when it began to occur to me that the big corporate Target is
fostering this environment of unwillingness to serve the customer.
With the extensive knowledge of what Black Friday means to a large
retailer and the abundance of wide ranging customer complaints,
Target did not have anyone monitoring their Twitter feed. In fact, no
one got back to me until Monday, November 28th (presumably
when their staff returned to work). At first it seemed like using
Twitter would yield results that dealing with local staff had not.
The woman who responded expressed a desire to help with my problem.
However, upon learning that my issue was instore rather than online
my comments were ignored. After several more days of attempting to
communicate I realized that I wasn't really getting through to
anyone. I turned next to facebook (yes, more social media, but
usually companies respond to social media because complainants are
expressing their issues to potential customers in addition to the
company itself.) But after browsing pages of customer complaints and
the only response from Target is to call their customer service line,
I decided that would have no better result than Twitter.

So this correspondence is posted here and linked to various outlets as
well as printed and sent USPS to a variety of people at the Target
headquarters in hopes that this attitude can change. Realistically, I
only want to feel that my patronage of Target stores is important and
valuable to the Target corporation (and a rain check for the game
would be nice, since I bought the Kinect system that night). I would
like to continue to recommend shopping at Target to the people I
meet. I would much rather extol the praises of a company who made a
problem right, than telling others the story as it stands now.

Your Loyal Customer,
Meredith Page Jones

Monday, January 24, 2011

previously i have shared missives from Scott Shamp, director of the university of georgia's new media institute...this one rolled into my inbox today, and humorous as it is, the point is important...advertizing only works if it is relevant...

Do I need a smoky look? My iPad thinks I do.

No red chili pepper. Go figure! My reviews on Rate My Professor are all over the place -- some love me, some well... But there seems to be universal agreement on one thing. I am not hot. So the advertisement that popped up during my breakfast with the New York Times app on my iPad piqued my interest.
"Get that smoky look!" Hey, maybe that was what was missing -- instead of scholarly, maybe I need to go sultry. So of course, I follow the link to a full page interstitial (that means the ad takes up the whole screen and you can't do anything else).
"New sumptuous extreme mascara.
Swipe for outrageous lashes.
Estee Lauder. Get a smoky look!"
Yeah, I just provided a click-through for a make-up company. And should I start using mascara I can guarantee that "outrageous" would work its way into my evaluations -- but I doubt that it would help my hotness factor.
I thought my iPad and I understood each other. I thought we were simpatico. There is probably no device (and probably no other person) who has more information about me. It knows which sites I visit. We read my email together. It keeps up with the apps I download. I thought the iPad really got me. Now it is pushing me cosmetic ads?

I get asked all the time what is the difference between "new" media and "old" media (hey, as a director of a New Media Institute it comes with the territory). Now I realize that a new difference is emerging. I used to talk about technology. Today, technology is a given. Now the important difference is aesthetics. Think of aesthetics as the criteria that we used to judge the quality of something. A new set of aesthetics is guiding the types of experiences people expect to have with technology. And one of the most important new aesthetics is relevance. We expect new media to provide us with relevant information -- in our news, our entertainment, and, yes, perhaps even more importantly in the ads we have to endure. The new new media consumer (the 18 - 34 demographic that media has to reach to survive) was reared on GMail where the ads down the side of the screen reflected the content of our messages. They are used to following the "Like" links suggested by friends. And, now research indicates that 48% of young people get their news from Facebook where they can attend to what their friends tell them they find interesting while shutting out the rest. They are selective and focused. More than at any point in history, this new consumer is constantly confronted with a media barrage. They expect media to respect their time by not bothering them with irrelevant info. Bottom line, new media consumers only care about what they care about. And my informal analysis from interacting with young people on a daily basis shows that rather than being creeped out by media that knows about them, they embrace media that understands them -- if the pay-off is relevancy.

So that is what bothered me about the Estee Lauder ad. It violated my new media sensibility -- it was irrelevant. With this technology my iPad and the New York Times should have done better. Because my iPad knows that my eyelashes are one of my assets -- I am looking for a blush that accentuates my cheekbones.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

just for my reference...

so this is really just a reference post...i was looking for some solid typefaces the other day and i came across these two lists in my search...if i bookmark them they'll only get lost and i'll have to search all over again when i need here they are

80 Beautiful Typefaces For Professional Design

Die 100 Besten Schriften Aller Zeiten (the 100 Best Typefaces of All Time)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

updating Belk

apparently it's the season for big brand logo redesign...i actually knew this was coming and had signed a non-disclosure agreement (even though i never actually saw the logo)...but i hope the company gets a big payoff from this since they seem to like shooting ads locally, and that means good work for my son

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:
Belk unveils new logo
A department store that has been around for generations is developing a new modern brand.
Reporter: From Staff Reports

LAWRENCEVILLE — A department store that has been around for generations is developing a new modern brand.

Belk, which is three years from its 125th anniversary, created a new corporate logo and tagline — Modern. Southern. Style. — the first significant change since 1967.

“Our new brand clearly communicates what our company is today and what we aspire to be in the future,” Chairman and CEO Tim Belk said. “We want to reflect our increased focus on meeting the fashion needs of our modern customers. While we will continue to meet the needs of our traditional and classic customers, we are changing our brand and expanding our assortments to attract new customers who are looking for modern, updated brands and styles. Our vision is for the ‘modern, Southern woman to count on Belk first — for her, for her family, for life.’”

The re-branding process started more than a year ago and included a survey of more than 30,000 customers, a press release said. The company plans to install new logo signs in its 305 stores over the next 12 months.

In Gwinnett, Belk locations include the Mall of Georgia, Gwinnett Place Mall, the Forum at Peachtree and in the Snellville Pavilion. In Barrow, a Belk is located at Barrow Crossing in Bethlehem.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

so this one gets chalked up to “any publicity is good publicity”...from yahoo! headlines...

Gap's logo back to blue after fans gripe about new
Gap's logo returns to blue after fans gripe about new logo online

Emily Fredrix, AP Marketing Writer, On Monday October 11, 2010, 9:02 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gap is back to blue.

The casualwear chain will keep its decades-old white-on-navy blue logo after all. The move comes just one week after the company swapped it online for a new logo without saying a word. The new logo irritated fans, spurring them to complain about it online.

Gap North America president Marka Hansen said in a statement late Monday that the San Francisco-based company realized how much people liked the old logo after they put up the new one, a white background with black letters and a little blue box. She also says Gap didn't handle the change correctly and missed a chance to have shoppers offer input until it was too late.

"There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we'll handle it in a different way," Hansen said, adding that the project was not the right one to offer up to "crowd sourcing."

Crowd sourcing the new logo, or allowing fans to help design a new one, was the company's original solution to the issue of quelling consumer confusion. Marketers are increasingly letting fans help or fully make decisions, including PepsiCo Inc.'s Doritos brand having fans create and vote on Super Bowl commercials. But a logo change left up to the crowd is much more rare.

The new logo was still live on the website Monday, one week after the company swapped it in on Confused fans took to Twitter, Facebook and tech blogs to complain. The company stood by the new logo, saying it would roll it out in stores and advertising next month.

The company plans to return the original logo to the website on Tuesday and is moving as quickly as it can, spokeswoman Louise Callagy said.

Gap announced the change on its Facebook page, where it has more than 700,000 fans. The old blue logo was never removed from the page.

"We've heard loud and clear that you don't like the new logo. We've learned a lot from the feedback. We only want what's best for the brand and our customers," the company said.

Fans reacted quickly and seemed relieved. One responded: "Thanks for listening. The blue box logo is truly classic. We love it as it is." Others wondered why it was even swapped out in the first place.

Originally the company had wanted the new logo to coincide with what it says was its updated image, including having more modern designs of jeans, pants and other clothing.

The company got itself into a jam by putting out the new logo without explaining the change, said Tony Spaeth, president of Identityworks, a consulting firm in Rye, N.Y. It had a reason for the change, but missed a key chance to share it with fans until it was too late.

Spaeth said he was surprised the company decided so quickly to return to the blue logo, but said it was right to admit it made a mistake both in putting up the logo and then reacting by suggesting fans help with the decision.

Logos are key to brands because they convey meaning and are something fans feel connected to. Spaeth said fans might be appeased now, but investors, competitors, and even potential employees may still be scratching their head that the company made such a mistake with something so important.

There probably will not be much long-term damage to the brand.

"They really were in big trouble," he said. "And now they have some breathing space."

Although fans be warned: The blue box will turn red for the holidays, as it has done for years.

Friday, October 8, 2010

design gap?

i saw this today on the yahoo! headlines...colleen said our classes would make us see every flaw with everything we see, and she was right...i have to agree with most of the commentary in the article below...unless gap intends to abandon its place as an upper market clothing store the new logo does nothing for them.

From The Atlantic
Some clothing companies adapt well to changing times, and Gap seemed to be one of those venerable brands.

Apparently not.

With little fanfare, the company decided to redesign its logo and post it on its website. Not too long after, waves of criticism from design firms, mainstream publications and just-plain bewildered bloggers started rolling in.

The company, which has apparently heard the cries of outrage, turned the redesign into a crowd-sourcing exercise on its Facebook page. No word yet on whether that was the official plan all along, or if it was just a knee-jerk reaction to all the bad press.

• 'Looks Like it Cost $17 From an Old Microsoft Word Clipart Gallery' notes Abe Sauer at Brandchannel, who deemed it a "monstrosity." The writer explains: It "demonstrates a prototypical brand panic move. With things not going in its favor, the brand decides to change the one valuable element it has going for it."

• Makes Old Navy 'Look Like a Luxury Brand' scoffs Armin Vit at Brand New: "The shaded square on the corner doesn't help at all either -- I'm not one to critique something by saying it looks as if it were done in Microsoft Word but this one is just too unsophisticated to warrant anything more than that."

• This Doesn't Make Any Sense writes David Brier at Fast Company. "It's all a cosmetic band-aid which is so unbelievable for a brand as big and 'mature' as Gap. I'll be surprised if a few people won't lose their jobs as this is basic Branding 101."

• Gap Sales Are Declining Anyway dismisses Jim Edwards at BNet. "There's a clue to what might have triggered the misstep in the fact that same-store sales at Gap are down 4 percent. ... Brand managers need to resist that temptation when they see revenues decline. There are lots of reasons sales might be down -- the recession, lack of discounts, off-trend product -- and not all of those respond to a new trade dress."

• Everybody Hates The Logo ... Except Us Time Newsfeed writer Nate Jones goes out on a limb saying that he "personally does not mind Helvetica, and so this new logo brings to mind visions of a streamlined, technologically dominant future America where everyone wears white suits and cool glasses. Sure, it's generic, but don't you know that in the future everything looks alike?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

garden magazine examples

i have to create a magazine cover for my type here are some examples of gardening magazines as inspiration