*All quotes are from Jeff Jones unless otherwise stated
Today I had the pleasure of hearing the CMO, Jeff Jones, speak to us as part of a Leadership Speaker Series which Target provides to its interns. I entered the hall with a Vanilla Latte in my hand and left with a mind buzzing with so many thought-provoking ideas Jeff Jones had given. During his speech, times were rare when I could tear my mind away to jot down notes. Here I have summarized the most exciting takeaways that I had discreetly typed into the Notes section of my phone, for all the world to devour. A note I must make before I begin: I refer to him by his full name “Jeff Jones” throughout this entire post; the reason for that is that he goes by his full name. Within the company, you won’t hear “the CMO,” “Jeff,” or even “Mr. Jones,” but rather only hear him being mentioned as “Jeff Jones.” Talk about personal branding.
One thing I really appreciated about Jeff Jones is his realness. He’s candid but composed, meaning his answers are very honest- no fluff- yet he sounds very put-together and eloquent. He was the first to admit that “we are a good/great company trying to become awesome again.” A lot of media outlets and consumers have noticed that Target has been slightly straying off its throne as looked-up-to and aspirational retail leader. A recent Forbes article gives Target a kind of ultimatum: “a return to a unique identity, or a future as a me-too Mass Merchant.” Jeff Jones does not deny that is the actual fork in the road. After accepting Target’s recent shortcomings, Jeff Jones provides several roadmaps that lead to solutions – making Target the Best Brand Ever again.