Univeral Amplifier

Universal Amplifier

Amplifying the topics that power today's PR professional

So the PR team at Target is having a bad holiday season

Just about 40 million people (including me) are now logging into our credit card and debit card accounts to check on whether a hacker is using our information to buy things or drain bank accounts. Ho-ho-freaking-ho. Target just went from being an easy and ubiquitous shopping stop to being a hapless target and the victim in one dreadful news cycle on Dec. 19

Target Public Relations Manages Credit Card Theft

I’ve been at the center of crisis communication events during my career, and I understand what Target is trying to do. The company has issued information to the public and media, reported what happened to law enforcement and financial institutions, set up a dedicated phone line for concerned consumers, and hired third-party computer experts to investigate how this black hat computer problem occurred. It’s also certain that the PR team is working around the clock to monitor any and all media stories (print, broadcast, web, and social media) as they come in during this crisis.

Watching what news outlets are printing and broadcasting and following what people are tweeting and posting is absolutely essential as an organization tries to figure out its short-term and long-term strategy in the aftermath of a huge bad news. All-day, every day news monitoring can also be exhausting. It may be self-serving, but PR measurement and news search experts are best set up to help company executives watch their media footprint . . . especially when it feels like the wheels are coming off.

I wouldn’t wish a crisis communication event on anyone. That being said, crisis does underscore just what an organization and its people are made off. Some pass tests by fire, some don’t. Either way, here is a guarantee–the public is watching. And it’s best practice to know what that looks like.

BREAKING NEWS: Now Target and Amazon, with just two days until Christmas, have rejected to carry Beyonce’s smash album because of a one-week exclusive deal with iTunes. I would have probably put a little more distance between my crisis management efforts.


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