From your office decor to your corporate logo to your customer service policies, everything adds or detracts value from your brand — the overall impression you leave in the marketplace.

Target for decades has been looking to change its image from a low-end discounter that was more like Wal-Mart than like Saks Fifth Avenue. In doing so, it brightened its stores and updated its product lines to attract higher-income customers through occasional collaborations with luxury brands such as Missoni and Jean Paul Gaultier.

This week, I went shopping at Target for a luggage set that would be a wedding gift for my nephew and his bride. As my wife and I used a self-pay aisle at a Target not far from my home to complete the transaction, a store employee approached.

“I have to look inside,” she said, as she reached for the off-white, 28-inch Jungalow Travel Collection suitcase. Then she opened the clasps and zippers and looked in every possible hiding place. It took only a few minutes, but it was hard not to be offended, especially when it was presented not as a request for permission but as a demand.

Like all retailers, Target wants to reduce the losses it incurs as a result of shoplifting and employee theft; however, I have my doubts that treating every luggage-buying customers like a shoplifter is a good way to boost financial performance or to differentiate the chain from lower-end competition.

— BOB UNGER

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Bob Unger  508-542-1252
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Barbara LeBlanc  603-486-8760
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