Target’s Brand Perception Drops After Security Breach

Shopping carts are stacked inside a Target store in DallasMinneapolis–While just what impact Target’s recent security breach involving 40 million credit/debt cards have had on its sales may not be fully known until February when its fourth quarter earnings will be reported, some reports indicate the retailer already has suffered.

Target’s woes over the hacking incident have only worsened in recent days. At the end of the last, Target admitted that in addition to other security information, million of PIN number were also stolen.

However, Target noted that all the stolen PINs are encrypted, the only people who could decrypt them are at Target’s external independent payment processor.

That may be a relief to millions of Target’s holiday customers who had have to pay close attention to their credit and debt bills to make sure nothing is awry, but Target, on the other hand, may have long-term repercussions over the hacking incident.

According to YouGov’s BrandIndex, which surveys an online panel of 2.5 million people in order to measure how consumers rate corporations, Target’s perception has plummeted.

In the day following the company’s disclosure of the hack, Target’s brand plunged by 35 points on BrandIndex’ scale, which ranges from a high of 100 to a low of -100.

In other words, Target’s score dropped to -9 on Dec. 20, from 26 points the week before the security breach was announced.

Despite Target’s efforts to offer shoppers a 10% discount the weekend before Christmas and provide call centers to reach out to afflicted customers, its BrandIndex score was -19 on Dec. 23.

“The retailer has reached its lowest consumer perception point since at least June 2007,” BrandIndex managing director Ted Marzilli wrote on the company’s website. “This also marks the first time since that same time that Target has had more negative perception than positive perception.”

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com