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In retailing, Kohl's is not just a discount store but a department store that carries national brands. Still, the chain has grand business aspirations.

To help achieve its goals, the retailer hired Gary Vasques as exec VP-marketing some 18 months ago. Upon taking control of marketing, Mr. Vasques conducted hundreds of thousands of dollars on consumer research.

"Kohl's had a very, very good reputation with our customers for selection, value, and service, but our marketing did not take advantage of it," he says.

During the sessions, Mr. Vasques got the inspiration for what was to be the company's tagline.

"One of the descriptions of the store was `that's more like it'," says Mr. Vasques, 49. The "That's more like it" tag appeared on all communications, from newspaper ads to the sides of Kohl's vehicles.

At the same time, Kohl's launched its first TV branding effort from J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit. The campaign helped introduce the Midwest-based retailer in new markets in the mid-Atlantic states and the Southeast.

During the holiday season, same-store sales were up 10% while year-end sales were up 11%. New-store introductions were so successful that Merrill Lynch, in a recent report, called the company a "sustainable growth retailer" with the potential of "delivering Wal-Mart type growth over the next several years."

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