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Walmart’s premium strategy meets Millennial expectations

Walmart’s premium strategy meets Millennial expectations

A few months ago, we wrote about Walmart’s pivot in strategy toward a more youthful and higher income shopper. We promised to keep an eye out on the retailer’s evolution to a new class of consumer and bring you some updated thoughts on this progress, which we have for you today.

Walmart is now holding true to its leveling-up strategy by creating a “premium brands” tab on their e-commerce site, featuring clothing brands acquired from new partner Lord and Taylor including Lucky Brand and Vince Camuto. The newly revamped site with a premium store section has just launched.

A similar strategy was recently and successfully employed by Target in its collaboration with the Hunter premium brand. This specific launch focused on experience-based marketing since millennials are now more than ever focused not just on the product, but the value and experience of a shopping trip. The campaign included in store décor that brought the outdoors inside and a music festival brand-matched to the Hunter esthetic. Target was able to grab Millennial’s attention creating an experience that aligns with and build on their emotionally-driven values and interests.

Walmart is now pushing the boundaries of its singular, universal brand ID by offering sub brands that speak to specific target segments such as the aspirational millennial, while still leveraging the strength of its ecosystem.

With marketing to millennials, it is important to realize that they are more likely than any other demographic to be both brand conscious and stick to a brand that they like. They are strongly attracted to brands with a story and that matches their values. Using smart research that connects the emotional dots between brands’ stories and consumer values will win Millennial loyalty and dollars. (If you’re looking to develop a better understanding of, and better harness the power of emotional connections, join us for Magid’s AdWeek webinar on the topic.)

The need for testing these stories manifests clearly in the blunders. In 2016, Microsoft Word tried to be relatable to their interns by “e-viting” them to a chill party that would feature “hella noms” and beer pong. The messaging fell quite out of line with the mission and values of Microsoft as a brand, and was internally questioned in validity. Later, a spokesperson for Microsoft walked back the invite, stating it was not in line with the company values. Even in B2B messaging in an economy of Millennial workers, messaging can attract or repel and must be well-planned.

It’s no secret that Walmart has done well in its niche, appealing to bargain-shopping consumers with a low-price strategy. While the choice to re-target could affect the brand’s competitive edge in this space, it is a step toward servicing the next mass audience with an understanding of what the consumer values.

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