Bed Bath & Beyond Performs a Simply Breathtaking Brand Makeover
Two months ago, Mark Tritton, CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, took to the media with the first three of the ten esteemed private brands expected to launch over the next two years.. “We have built … a game plan for our store associates to communicate our new brands, the benefits and how they can create real joy in our customers’ homes,” he announced during a CNBC interview with Courtney Regan.
Along with many other retail copywriters, analysts, and tipsters, I have observed and reported on the transformation of the BB&B brand since Target’s Tritton took over as the wayward retailer in November 2019. Mark’s team was faced with a heavy task, which included all aspects of the business. And based on my most recent “swat audit” of my neighborhood store, it meets, if not exceeds my turnaround expectations. And that would have been true even if the world hadn’t been in crisis for almost a year.
Tritton’s strategic retooling began with building a new team, drastically reducing the number of SKUs in the store, opening aisles and generally decluttering stores. However, creating true differentiation and brand distinction involved building an arsenal of signature house brands of the power and profitability of Tritton’s Target triumphs.
With the launch of the top three private labels, Simply Essential, Nestwell and Haven, the team has launched plans to increase sales of owned brands from 10% to 30% of targeted sales (pun intended), over three years. The strategy will help strengthen the exclusivity of Bed Bath & Beyond while increasing its margins.
Strategic vision meets tactical execution
The team’s tactical execution around highly strategic plans, by all outward appearances, appears to be perfect (Macy’s should take note). Buyers who visit online and in-store are re-introduced to a profoundly different customer experience. And it goes way beyond some new product names and SKUs. It’s also close to a remake of any store brand I’ve seen recently.
A first challenge was to give the buyer of Bed Bath & Beyond a high-value “entry-level” brand to compete with Target and Walmart, which had been identified as handy fruits. The Simply Essential brand, which crosses many categories, seems to fit the bill, and more. In fact, in my initial website, followed by my re-visit to the store, I had a decidedly Target deja vu moment, Michael Graves.
For millennials or Generation Z who didn’t experience Target’s “1999 design awakening”, it happened when the chain hired architect Michael Graves to develop a line of housewares. well designed. The Ron Johnson-inspired movement served to democratize design and became a mojo moment for Target, helping to initiate its nickname “Tarjay”.
Online and offline synchronicity
Upon entering the store, a new display knocking point introduces the Simply Essential brand. Its synchronicity with the new Web messaging testifies to the repositioning of the brand, in all capital letters. The message, the brand identity and the clean design of the product are the “makeover moment” when you know something very different is going on. And like a good aperitif, it sets the stage for a tasty new customer experience.
As I suggested in my last post on BB&B, I was quite sure the new private label launches were going to hit a new graphics package, and I was right. A whole new set of lifestyle and product images adorn the store, creating a sense of context and product application. This creates “hot blurs” around the new product. These images build on the already improved category signage that was introduced previously. They also play an important role in unifying the brand across online and offline touchpoints.
Bringing brands home
The Nestwell and Haven brands complement Simply Essential’s ambitious 1200 SKU introduction. Here, a wide range of best quality bedding and bath products combine quality look and feel with great prices. Overall, the color palettes and patterns feel more relative humidity (catering material) than JCP or Target. They have organized the offers well, balancing choice with buying ability, which is a difficult balance to achieve.
The store feels fresher, bigger, more open and happier than its predecessor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Simply Essential grow into a billion dollar brand in the not too distant future. The success of the holistic metamorphosis masks the complexity of orchestrating thousands of moving parts, people, disciplines and departments that such a gigantic effort requires. Mark and his entire team are to be congratulated for delivering a set of this magnitude, on a very tight schedule. Oh, and then there was the issue of the pandemic which was overcome in the process. Congratulations to all.