“Hey, where the party at?” “Target,” would be my answer to that question, once posed by R&B group, Jagged Edge. It sounds somewhat odd to say, but I reached that conclusion after attending the retail company’s lively NBMBAA gathering, recently. Target just knows how to “do it,” whether it’s relative to the shopping experience (first lady, Michelle Obama gives me a high five) or an event that they host as a brand.
The National Black MBA Association chose Atlanta to host its annual conference this year, and Target sponsored one of the after-hours affairs associated with the gathering of black professionals. The Target team descended upon the Tabernacle, which is a music venue in the heart of Atlanta’s downtown area — and dare I say — turned it out. The dark and gloomy ambiance the venue typically offers, was transformed into a vibrant “grown folks” party, that made you forget you were in the old Gothic church that it once was. Target’s bold red logo cut through the darkness, and was everywhere — even on the delicious signature cheesecake lollipops that were served. On the stage, there was a boldly-branded DJ booth, from which the the special guest DJ would keep the party jumping and give the old building a serious shot in the arm.
From the time you approached the entrance — also decked out in all things Target, of course — the vibe given off was exceptionally festive and inviting. I overheard a young lady say as she was approaching the red carpet entrance, “I’m about two seconds from moving to Atlanta … I’ve already updated my Facebook page with all the positive reports from this experience and this may just push me over.”
There were hosts at the entrance to greet and direct each guest (what Target also affectionately calls its shoppers),and clearly distinguishable ambassadors inside making sure those guests were comfortably accommodated and food and drink were being served in abundance.
Then the music. Solange Knowles was on the wheels of steel and effectively transcended the sensibilities of her own generation and tapped into exactly what would make the MBA generation shake what their momma gave them. She weaved in and out of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Frankie Beverly and Maze, creating an undeniable frenzy on the dance floor. At one point, an old school dance battle even broke out between Target associates and some of the MBA-holding guests.
Short of Solange Knowles as resident DJ, and an entertaining a capella group, there were no big names to coerce the conference attendees to come to the gathering … they were there on the strength of what they know and love about the Target brand. I shop there and have great respect for the consistency the chain provides in terms of the shopping experience, but now I have to add the way they party to the my list of reasons for loving Target and its team.