Trust and Target – a lesson in marketing for brands

Published: April 04, 2023

min read

Gen Z is all about trust.

They grew up in a landscape of political, social, technological and economic flux which understandably has shaken their ability to trust a brand or its promise at face value.

With Gen Z now ‘growing up’ and finding employment and increasing their buying power, it is that demographic that marketers need to place front and square when they craft and build their campaigns or messaging.

And Gen Z is all about trust.

Take Target for example. While talking about their business strategy, they state that their aim is to stand the test of time and have a unique differentiator in the marketplace. They go on to say –

Our vision is to co-create an equitable and regenerative future together with our guests, partners and communities… Our strategy is centered on leveraging our size and scale to benefit people, the planet and our business.


A cursory glance at their website speaks volumes – there is a section to cut down waste, a section where you can choose alternatives that are kind to the planet to products that one normally uses, cleaning products with safer ingredients, clothes that are sourced responsibly, etc.

According to various consumer reports, Gen Z turns to Target for beauty private label products, household goods, clothes, accessories, and personal care products as well. Of course Target is not just for Gen Z – there is literally something for everyone – it is a ubiquitous presence across generations, so to speak.

Clearly they walk the talk!

So it is not at all surprising that Target is the king of TikTok! Kallie Davis and Jenna Wood have a TikTok, BestOfTarget which started as a project during the pandemic. They just featured their favorite Target finds, and within six weeks, had as many as 75,000 followers! Their most recent video went viral and has over nine million views! And they are not alone. There are plenty of Target fan accounts which showcase appliances or plush toys or hair care products – the list in endless!

The bottom-line is that Target has stayed true to the values of Gen Z. They are focused on sustainability. They focus on diversity, gender and inclusion and are very vocal about it. Which is why Davis says that there is always something for everyone at Target – and you can find something you like by just wandering the aisles!

Take-away for Marketers

The future is Gen Z – as they are now starting to move into their prime purchasing years, to earn and spend more. So brands need to focus their attention on them, doing what Gen Z would like, offering products that Gen Z would buy and most importantly, building their trust.

One of the fundamental concerns that Gen Z and even Millennials have is that brands don’t have the interests of the customers at heart. They think that brands are there just to make money and only have their own business agenda that they chase.

Trust is not easy to build – but that must be the top priority for brands today. With all the tools that are available, brands can gauge customer sentiments and find out what customers deem imperative, and why. And then take it from there.

Today, brands are not defined only by their products or their messaging. It goes a lot deeper than that. Today, everything is out there for everyone to see. And it is a CMO’s job to ensure that the brand’s position and initiatives on matters that concern customers are highlighted. A huge thing for the current generation is supply chain transparency. They are also concerned about fair wages, DEI and environmental friendliness.

Institutional trust among millennials and Generation Z is at an all-time low.

Diana O’Brien,

Global CMO, Deloitte, in WSJ

So brands need to do what it takes to create and sustain relationships with customers. CMOs need to understand what makes this present generation tick – what moves them? What inspires them! And go the distance in doing what it takes to address their concerns and gain their trust.

That is the secret to a brand’s success, going forward.


Jasmine Jackson

Jasmine is a social media maven with a talent for building engaged communities. She's a natural storyteller and has a way of making complex ideas accessible to everyone. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and exploring new cuisines.


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