Market Trending: Kmart Raps Its Way to the Top

August 23 2013

Retailers go through cycles in which they gain and then lose market share. Of course, the reasons for these cycles are complex, ranging from everything to being out of touch with consumer tastes and trends, downturns in the economic cycles to making mistakes in repositioning their offerings and brand voice. Currently suffering mightily in public perception and market confidence is the Kmart franchise. In 2012 they shut down eighty-four stores, but they have been dealing with declining sales for the past six years.

Market trends have shown the business’ decline is mainly due toe loss of popularity among younger consumers. Feeling desperate to staunch their losses and bad PR, and In order to appeal to a hipper teen audience, Kmart is now trying to refine their brand image by teaming up with viral sensation Da Rich Kids, a group of young rappers all younger than age thirteen. Kmart asked the group to create a rap song about the discount store and thus “My Limo” was born.


                                                       Image via

My Limo has already received millions of views and is featured in the retailer’s latest television commercial. This new partnership may push Kmart back up the ranks and sway younger generations to shop at KMart, but the affiliation seems a bit out of left field. In addition, there have been a few reports of older customers being unhappy that the rap commercial portrays only African-American children promoting a brand that is known for low prices. However, the ads are too new to calculate exactly how big or small the effect has been so far with any of their target audiences.

Keep in mind that brands must be credible in order to cement consumer loyalty and maintain longevity in the marketplace. Kmart would need a family of products with legs that are in alignment with the spirit of My Life and that would continue to attract the same type of audience. A flash in the pan doesn’t work long term at retail, as it’s critical to maintain your brand voice in everything you do. Hence the consistent success of brands such as Burberry, Diesel, and Vans, who really know what they are doing in this regard.

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Deliverance Delivers: Building a Sustainable Food Brand

August 09 2013

Last night I was sitting and eating with some friends at Pizza Express in London. It was much better than it sounds, as many restaurants in the UK are part of chains (or chainlets) actually serve fresh, locally sourced food. Anyway. A delivery moped passed the window from, painted in red, with beautifully modern typography. First of all, the name is so smart, a great play on words that references the biblical ways in which food delivers us. The offering itself is unlike anything that I know of in NYC. Incredibly high-quality food cooked to order and delivered to your door. It's a modern version of a personal chef.

This brand is very well managed. Like many British companies, they focus on the provenance of their food sources, naming the family farms and butchers with a Royal seal of approval, purveyors to the Crown. Given that London is a wide, horizontal city where it takes hours to run an errand in Central London, communities tend to focus around the local High Street. That High Street will have Indian, Arab, and Thai restaurants plus a few pubs with gastro pub aspirations. At the same time, Brits tend to lavish lots of love and care on their homes, are very social, and just like their American counterparts, are working too hard. So Deliverance has filled a hole in the market.

It's a branding and marketing rule that the first one successfully out of the gate with a new offering will own 50% of the market. In London, you can get your food delivered from the supermarket, from a shop that stocks only frozen ready meals, like Cooks, or from you local pizza place. It seems to me that Deliverance is delivering on their name, and their service, which is another factor in building and maintaining a brand: credibility. As they've been around for 15 years, they are sustainable, credible and differentiated, the three hallmarks of brands that are set up for long-term success. New York foodies, take note!

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