Can Target Survive the Bad PR on the Transgender Bathroom Issue?

May 4th, 2016   •   2 comments   

Time and politics will tell if Target Corp. can survive the bad press they are getting and the stock decline on the recent controversial “transgender bathroom” policy—which in my opinion, they didn’t need to address.

If you are doing public relations and communications for brands like Target, you are likely trained to view all policy strategies from multiple views. I am wondering if Target really took the time to do this. If studies are correct, the “transgender” community is less than .004% of the population. Consider that statistic for a minute.

If you are a brand—like Target—you must know your shopper and customer demographics and stockholder positions. As a brand, it is imperative to get Board and stockholder agreement prior to initiating a national, controversial policy such as “transgender friendly” bathrooms.

If I were Target’s PR counsel (and they have the best who have said this will not effect Target in the long run) I would do the following:

* Reverse the policy immediately and apologize to the majority of Target shoppers for being out of touch with their views

*Issue a new policy: one bathroom for all and construct single bathrooms like so many others have done

* Stay out of the social issues and stay more in touch with family values and support customers who shop Target and are loyal

* On the heels of a poorly managed data breach, Target cannot afford more bad customer experiences and they must own up to mistakes.

* Fire their PR counsel and get a new PR professional who understands the issues and doesn’t dismiss this 2.5 billion dollar stock slide.

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  1. amy howell says:

    Update: As of today (May 17) Target’s stock has slid by $4 Billion. I wonder how long it will take for the stockholders to fire the CEO and I also wonder if the Board of Directors for Target had any involvement in this transgender policy. Target is in real trouble because Americans are sick of PC and the timing of such a policy could not be worse for Target. Previously loyal shoppers will go out of their way (and are) to stand by their guns on this one.

    My take: Chik-fil-A could afford to take a stand in 2012 (another big boycott over social issues) because they know their market, they know their numbers and in contrast to Target, their sales soared following the “boycott.”

    Analysts for Target keep saying the boycott won’t last…I think they are wrong. I think this boycott will last. What’s different between 2012 and now? America is fed up, angry with PC and far left liberal agendas and Donald Trump is saying what nobody else has said. America is awake. Target is in deep trouble.

  2. amy howell says:

    Well it’s been 10 days since my last update on the @Target issue and seems not much is changing for the retail giant. The CEO reported on earnings and blamed the stock price decline on cold weather and consumer spending declines.

    I still believe Target has missed the mark on this, further damaging their brand by digging their heels in on this transgender bathroom issue. What they don’t seem to get is that most Americans don’t want this and that is likely a big shopper demographic for Target. Additionally, at a time when Americans are “fed up” with political correctness and big government, Target could not have picked a better time for Americans to act on something tangible. The boycott is real and Franklin Graham called for more Americans to sign the boycott drafted by the AFA.

    Can Target survive this? Only time will tell but I’m sure the stockholders are not too happy about this!

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