Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not what I'd expect from...

...WalMart. Yep, a post about the massive store that I have to say I rarely visit, because at the store nearest me, some of the clientèle, they're pretty scary. The brand who has made classic social media blunders in the past, from the fake RV-ing blog, to the super-forced, and therefore totally rejected, teen "community" attempt.

They surprised me twice last week.

First, Kevin Roberts had a post about the December-new WalMart blog, Checkout. It features a core group of bloggers for different departments, real employees who also give movie reviews, talk about pets and causes and whatnot. I glanced quickly at it and the tone and content don't seem forced or fake to me - I also noted that their "most commented" posts get quite a bit of feedback. As always, I need to explore it further, stick it in my feeds and watch it for a while. But a Kevin Roberts endorsement goes quite a ways and it seems like they've done a pretty good job this time.

Then, I got a catalog in the mail for Canopy. I took a look, thinking this was a new store along the lines of Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel. Before anyone objects, I often peruse their catalogs, but besides a few wedding registry oddments, I don't ever get to shop there. The variety is more limited, but the presentation of the product was spot on, I thought. Only when I glanced at the fine print in the back did I make the WalMart connection. Google proved that I must have had my head in a hole in March, when the line was announced and many sites picked it up. I was neck deep in strategy data at the time, so I cut myself some slack.

So, maybe I'm coming to the game late, but moves like this, while still not as cool as our friend Target, do boost the brand in my eyes.

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