On Target? A Modified Grounded Theory Approach to Target's Blogger-aligned #NOFOMO Swimwear Campaign

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Virginia Tech


A modified grounded theory approach was used to analyze the 2016 Target #NOFOMO swimwear campaign in which Target partnered with top bloggers and social media influencers to promote their inclusive swimwear line. Public and public prioritization as well as message themes, message styles, and message consistency were analyzed in research questions one A through F. Relationship management theory emphasizes that the organization-public relationship is key to organizational success. Constructs of trust, openness, and transparency are important measures of this organization-public relationship. Thus, research question two analyzed the frequencies of these constructs in public commentary on Target and blogger related content. Findings indicate that there was overall campaign consistency in both message themes and message styles across Target, the bloggers, and their publics. Moreover, the campaign prioritized the social media platform Instagram and, in doing so, created an intentional online social community of strategic publics that helped facilitate trust between Target, the bloggers, and their publics. Trust was the most frequently used construct of relationship management theory in public commentary, transparency seemed to be assumed in trust, despite the low frequency findings. Target mainly prioritized small-bodied white models/bloggers despite the campaign's inclusive messages and the greater opportunities for public interaction when medium- and large-bodied, non-white models/bloggers were featured. Finally, campaign disclosure and disclosure placement by Target partners were inconsistent across social media platforms which remains troubling in light of FTC requirements and Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Code of Ethics guidelines.



organization-public relationships, relationship management, bloggers, influencers, social media