Renata Razza, a brilliant coach and the owner of Being Daring Coaching
, forwarded an article from the San Francisco Chronicle
about Old Navy’s efforts to reengage with its current customer. The effort began when Tom Wyatt, President of Old Navy, had an epiphany about Old Navy’s typical customer. The effort resulted in the creation of a fictional character named “Jenny,” who represents Old Navy’s typical customer.
Jenny is a 25-to 35-year-old mother who earns $50,000/year and is pressed for time. According to Mr. Wyatt, Old Navy now has “45,000 associates that literally talk about Jenny." Sales are up by 2%, and analysts agree that Jenny has brought fun and excitement back to the store.
I frequently refer to Old Navy when discussing strategic brand positioning with my small business clients, because of the skillful way GAP parses between its three major brands.
- GAP, for example, provides “great style, value, and service.”
- Banana Republic “is known for casual luxury.”
- Old Navy “makes shopping fun again!”
Jenny wouldn’t make sense for GAP or Banana Republic, because her “character” doesn’t match up with those brands.
Jenny likes to have fun, so she is
the perfect character to represent Old Navy.
The company now keeps Jenny in mind when making decisions about product, store layout, and the non-clothing items for sale in checkout aisles, which are meant to “stir nostalgia for the chain's target customers,” like Jenny, who grew up in the 1980s. (You can now find superhero lunch boxes and Mad Lib books at Old Navy's checkout counters.)
When we talk about target market, we usually refer to demographics
, but these are difficult concepts to understand – especially if you haven’t taken the time to imagine your typical customer.
“Just as a character in a story must come to life for the reader, so must a brand for the consumer
,” according to Bart Cleveland, columnist for Communication Arts Magazine
So, before you start listing demographics, psychographics, and other intangible concepts about your target market, take some time to imagine your Jenny.
And do your best to follow Old Navy’s lead by making sure your brand character represents your business’s core values
. That’s going to be the most important element of your brand character’s character.
Let us know if you have any epiphanies along the way, and give us a shout if you need a partner to help you conceive your Jenny. We can help.