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

May 04 2016

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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