Target strives to patch its image following huge data breach
Public relations specialists say Target is trying to gain on a fast-moving story that replaced last-minute Christmas shopping as the dominant retail-related topic of discussion. National and local media outlets jumped on a report last week by online journalist Brian Krebs about the widespread data theft, which occurred from Nov. 27 into the first weeks of December.
“The fact remains that Target was behind when this first broke,” said Jason Maloni, who heads the data security and privacy team for the Levick strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C. “Any time you are not controlling the release of information, you lose the opportunity to cast yourself in the role of the hero rather than the villain.”
“We immediately alerted the relevant financial institutions and began working with the appropriate law enforcement to ensure compliance with all state and federal requirements,” the company said. “We moved swiftly to responsibly inform our guests, educate them and help them understand what steps they can take.”
On Dec. 20, Target released a video of Steinhafel apologizing for the theft. He also offered consumers free credit monitoring and a 10 percent discount over the weekend before Christmas.
Target has a loyal customer base that is likely to stay loyal. Still, some found the company’s initial response underwhelming.“Ten percent is nice, but it’s not really meaningful,” said Brian Kelly, a Chicago-based retail consultant and former top marketing executive at Sears. “I don’t think people were going to brave the weather and crowds just to get a 10 percent discount.”
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