“Never judge a book by its cover, and don’t discount someone until you know their personality.”
Your mother or grandmother probably told you this as a young child when you told them that you didn’t like Billy because he was weird. But just like Billy, you can’t and shouldn’t judge a store by its name or building alone. Each store and brand has a unique personality to them that makes them who they are, for better or worse.
Stores don’t have personalities as humans do, obviously, but each has distinct traits that separate it from other stores. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular examples of differing brand personalities that we know of:
Walmart versus Target
This is probably the biggest example out there of two competitors being essentially the same, yet still vastly different. Walmart has the market cornered for making every day necessities available, and we usually just buy the brand we’re most loyal to (cereal, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.). Target seems to attract the fun splurges that won’t break the bank but give us a shot of that happy feeling following a purchase. This could be a new shower curtain, maybe a bright and cheery bedspread, or even just a cute sweater that’s under $15.
Walmart’s main appeal to customers is their low prices, while Target combines low prices and designer offerings that don’t make us cry when we read over the receipt later on. This speaks volumes about these differing brands, even down to how they attract customers. Walmart goes after America’s concern for their pocketbook by offering discounts on their gasoline, while Target gives customers a 5% discount when they use their Target REDcard.
If you need one more reason showing how these two stores differ, just look at their interiors. You walk into a Walmart and you instantly feel like you’re in a warehouse with its high and exposed ceilings. You can’t help but feel like you’re getting a deal because they certainly aren’t spending money on making the place seem warm or inviting. The first things you notice when walking into a Target are the banners they have hanging down from the ceiling mentioning their latest sale or upcoming holiday. The use of carpet and linoleum tiles separates the departments, but yet still makes it easy to maneuver and wander around. They don’t have night and day differences, but comparing them is like comparing apples and pears — similar yet different.
Google versus Bing
We’ve written many things about Google here on our blog, but we haven’t yet discussed the actual search engine (only their various services). Look at Google’s homepage compared to Bing and you’ll see what I mean when I bring up their unique personalities. Google is nice and clean and easy to navigate; everything you need is right there in the middle of the screen. Type, boom, done. Bing, on the other hand, is like looking at a National Geographic cover, which many people may appreciate more than a white screen staring back at them. If Google were a store, it’d probably be like an Apple store. If Bing were a store, it’d be like a Discovery store: tons of stuff that will make you smart, but there’s a lot of clutter in the way before you get to it.
Starbucks versus Dunkin’ Donuts
I will keep my personal bias towards these two coffeehouses to a minimum (promise). Even though I have written quite a bit about Dunkin’ Donuts (here and here), I still really enjoy going to Starbucks every now and then. Both brands have created a unique feel to their locations and their differences easily stack up. Walking into a Starbucks always reminds me of walking into a living room because it’s nice and cozy and easy to sit for a while with a laptop or book. However, Dunkin’ Donuts has more of a diner feel, in that you get your things and go. Sure there are tables available, but have you ever noticed that people never take their coats off while they sit there? Just saying.
Their offerings couldn’t be any different, either. Starbucks prides themselves on offering hundreds of drink combinations that make even the least decisive people feel like they’ve made a decision. Dunkin’ Donuts is a bit more relaxed with their offerings; sure, they offer mochas and lattes, but you don’t have the customers standing in line rambling off a huge order for one drink. One final note that must be made about these two brands is the experiences they offer to their customers are vastly different. Starbucks has the prestige of being a high-end coffee retailer and they extend that onto their customers with all their available products. Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand, has a more approachable personality. You don’t have to know another language to order a medium-sized black coffee. Neither one is bad nor the “right” one, but they offer different experiences to their customers.
They say you can tell a lot about a person based on a variety of things: what shoes they wear, how clean their fingernails are, and my personal favorite, how they deal with tangled Christmas lights. But, I think you can gain a glimpse of a stranger’s personality based on where the stores and brands they prefer. Are they budget conscious? Do they favor sleek and clean over vibrant and eye-catching? Do they prefer to stop and sit or get going right away? Depending on what their answers are, you can guess there’s a store with that exact same personality out there!
What are your thoughts? Do you share a personality with one of these stores? Is it one that you regularly shop at? Sound off below!