Target Misses the Target in Responding to Massive Security Breach

Target credit card crisis communication

By Stephen Burkhart

The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

Target’s tagline is “Expect More, Pay Less.”

But after Target’s massive security breach, the new slogan really should be: “Expect the Worst, Trust Less.”

A recent article on CNBC, tells the tale about who is paying a hefty price in inconvenience:  It’s the consumers who trusted Target to protect their information against malicious hackers.

Target made an effort to mitigate the harm by giving customers a 10 percent discount for two days.  Target also agreed to be responsible for any fraudulent use of consumers’ credit and debit card information.  This is all good and right, but it is also massively underwhelming in the larger scope of things.

Target misses the point.  It doesn’t answer the fundamental and overwhelming questions:  Can I trust Target again with my credit card and debit card information, along with any associated PIN numbers? Should I shop at Target in the future?

Forty million cards stolen really show a substantial security failure, but Target isn’t saying how it happened

And most importantly, Target doesn’t say what it is doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If Target and its corporate communications department want to restore the trust and faith with its millions of customers, it must answer these fundamental questions.

When I go to the Target web site, I expect to see a video from the CEO with such an explanation.  Or a microsite for help on how to deal with problems associated with the security breach.

When I went to the Target splash page, I saw a headline to click about the security problem (I am excited that Target is getting this right).  But then I click and it leads to a dead link with a message that says,


sorry, something went wrong.

We might be having technical problems. Please try again later or check our help section


Hopefully, the irony is not lost on Target, who must desperately work harder to get it right. 



Update: Target has since resolved its technical mishaps and has posted a page including a video response from Gregg Steinhafel, Target President and CEO. You can view the page here.



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