It’s Okay to Be Smaller

Fast Company senior writer Linda Tischler writes that the Michael Graves-Target partnership is the very model of a successful designer-retailer collaboration. Now, a new book, Simply Better, reveals what makes Target great — and why the company has surpassed Kmart and become the No. 2 behind you-know-who.

According to an excerpt of the book, Target’s success is due to two key factors: the right kind of differentiation and distinctive marketing communications. Target associates its name with a younger, hipper, edgier, and more fun image than its competitors. It’s even pronounced in French as “Tar-zhay” to give it a culturally sensitive if not ironic or sarcastic — twist. This differentiation has enabled Target to coexist profitably with Wal-Mart.

Now, can you help fix Kmart? Is there anything it can learn from Target? How should it spin itself? After all, it’s okay to be smaller — but you’ve got to be smarter.