Toys “R” Us Canada, the toy retailer, offers several valuable lessons about how brands can respond to a time of crisis in effective ways.

Nicole Dalton, director/marketing, brand and loyalty at Toys “R” Us Canada, discussed this subject during a session at the DX3 conference in Toronto.

And she explained how the retailer, which was taken over in Canada by holding company Fairfax Capital after its US and UK arms entered into bankruptcy, sought to bounce back.

“As we came out of that bankruptcy, it was very important not only to win back old customers but acquire new customers,” said Dalton. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Marketing under duress: How Toys “R” Us Canada emerged from the shadow of bankruptcy.)

Given the widespread news from other markets, the challenge could not be underestimated. “Everyone thought we were no longer in business,” Dalton said.

A core part of its recovery was reaching “a newer generation of parents” – that is, millennials with children, who could be connected to the brand through Babies “R” Us as well as Toys “R” Us.

“These millennial parents remember going into a store when they were kids – and that magical experience that they felt,” Dalton said.

For the marketing team, the goal is to “find ways that we can cost-effectively bring that magic back into the store” – as well as reflecting the habits of these consumers with its communications strategy.

“We looked at our marketing mix,” Dalton reported, “and how much we were relying on print. It didn’t really align with the media consumption patterns of millennial parents.”

The company’s other strategies ranged from training in-store associates to fit car seats to building an e-commerce platform at speed and focusing on consumer conversations.

And implementing a digital transformation was a tough task at a legacy organisation that was set in its ways, but Dalton’s team proved the value of this shift in strategy.

“We had to demystify digital, because [our colleagues] were asking, ‘If our money is going to go into digital, what does that mean?’” she said.

Sourced from WARC