Inclusivity and diversity are among Target’s core values, as demonstrated in the brand’s popularity across varying demographics across the country. How has Target succeeded in imbuing its brand with an authenticity that buyers feel is genuine in an era of retail missteps? At the Cannes Lions panel, “A Circle Big Enough For Us All,” Caroline Wanga, Target chief diversity officer, and Todd Waterbury, Target chief creative officer, shared insight into how Target implements access for all and builds “soul” at scale.
To date, Target has developed more than two dozen brands sold only at Target stores. Cat & Jack, Target’s apparel line for kids, was created two years ago. Yet in its second year, the brand reached $2 billion in sales.
Next came Cat & Jack’s adaptive apparel collection which was created after a Target employee and mother voiced her disabled child’s need to feel included. The collection, inspired by children with disabilities, catapulted the brand to a distinctive position, offering products that resonated with parents and children.
As part of a video spot that chronicled the inception of the brand, we learn a Cat & Jack jacket, made for children in a wheelchair, earned a spot in Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s exhibition of the best design work worldwide for people of differing abilities.
“No matter where you are and no matter how you approach it, there’s room for you as well,” Waterbury said about the Target bullseye, likening the symbol to a bonfire. “A brand is the connection that exists between a company’s beliefs and its behavior. What defines you at your core informs how you show up and how you make decisions. When that happens over time and it shows up in meaningful ways in your audience’s life, it’s an expression of what makes a brand incredibly powerful and also what makes a brand incredibly fragile,” he added.
The brand credits “courageous listening” for the success of understanding the needs of its buyers and informing design, urging brands to utilize this practical method to cultivate true inclusivity. Wanga noted that it’s more important than ever to hire across all demographics to ensure the brand is actually inclusive, with a chorus of many voices guiding you from within the organization.