An 8-year old girl had her birthday party at a Target. Social media wanted an invite.

As if we didn’t already love Target, a store in Georgia showed us why this company continues to get the little things right.

An 8-year old girl wanted to have her birthday party at a Target. Apparently she’s a huge fan of the retail chain. Sometimes you can’t try to understand what makes kids happy. If it’s spending a day with your friends parading around as Target employee, so be it. Kids are weird. If it was Walmart I’d be concerned, but Target makes sense. Great stores, clean, pleasant atmosphere and overall a very easy shopping experience.

The family got special permission from the manager to have the birthday party at the store in East Point, GA. The girl’s niece documented the festivities on Twitter, sharing photos of the birthday girl and her friends drinking Icees, ringing up gift cards in the check out line and living the dream as a Target employee.

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“We bought all the kids gift cards to spend on an item of their choice and my niece got to check them out! Seriously Manager Albert was the best!!! Thanks so much Target!” – @RikDrip/Twitter.

 

Target owes so much to the store manager, Albert, who went above and beyond for this girl and her friends and family. He made them name tags, helped with a scavenger hunt around the store and agreed to host the party in the first place. He could have easily said no, and this heartwarming story would have never seen the light of day.

It came from the kindness of his heart. He had no idea millions of people would see his efforts recognized on social media. It’s these moments where brands can capitalize on the power of a good story. If you create a memorable customer experience, show some compassion and go the extra mile, people will want to share these special moments online.

It was organic, unforced and the best PR money could never buy. For Target, it reinforces their reputation as a creative brand that continues to stay relevant in a congested online and brick and mortar retail sector.

I’ll cheers to that.

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Jason Collins And The NBA’s Unique Branding Opportunity

If you haven’t heard of Jason Collins before today you’re not alone. He’s kept a low profile during his 12-year career as a professional basketball player in the NBA, but today he became the first openly gay male professional athlete in a major American professional team sport.

For the professional sports community, this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. While society becomes more accepting of equal rights and treatment for the LGBT community, there’s been a growing stigma surrounding homosexuality in professional sports. Collins broke that barrier this week, and he will go down in history as a man and player who forever changed the face of professional sports.

This amazing story of courage and strength should push the NBA to build on this narrative and strengthen their global brand with the LGBT community and its supporters. It’s a great opportunity for Collins, David Stern (NBA Commissioner) and the league to lead the conversation surrounding this controversial topic. Athletes should feel comfortable coming out during their careers and not being discriminated against for their sexuality. An NBA campaign that focuses on LGBT issues would unite players and bring together fans to create a new culture around homosexuality in the NBA. Other professional sports leagues might even be inspired to create their own campaigns and come together as people to address this issue.

Organizations try to identify worthy causes to get behind. The NBA should use Jason’s story as a way to align their brand with progressive values that are more prevalent in sports and society today.

It’s 2013, public sentiment is shifting in support of LGBT rights and equality. Strong support of Collins and the overarching issue will show the world that the NBA values authenticity, acceptance, fairness and equality. Branding aside, it’s something truly special to witness for Jason. After years in the dark, he finally gets to live an honest life and hopefully inspire other athletes to come out and embrace their sexuality.