Cyber Stick Ups At Target & Neiman Marcus (& Others) Discounts Brand Engagement. Up To 85% Off.

Jan 15 2014, 11:29am CST | by

Cyber Stick Ups At Target & Neiman Marcus (& Others) Discounts Brand Engagement. Up To 85% Off.

We figure that one in three of you are pretty concerned about this because, as it turns out, the cyber attack on personal and credit/debit card information previously reported by Target to have included 40 million consumers, turns out to be closer to 110 million. So about one-third of the U.S. population.

Neiman Marcus, working with the U.S. Secret Service and a forensics team, is investigating a similar, mid-December breach of yet-undetermined size, but the term “millions” is being bandied about there too. Neiman Marcus tweeted last Friday that they “are taking steps, where possible, to notify customers who cards we know were use fraudulently after purchasing in our stores.”

Target ran full-page newspaper ads this week apologizing for not protecting the consumer information they gather when you shop with them, indicating what ‘next steps’ they were taking in order to “earn back your trust and confidence and ensure that (they) deliver the Target experience you know and love,” which we’re pretty sure didn’t include turning all your personal and financial information over to cyber criminals.

OK, so a nice sentiment and an interesting turn of phrase. Apologies and contrition are always the first steps in trying to turn around a brand debacle of any magnitude, let alone one that touches a third of the population. But to avoid a real disaster you need to understand the degree to which and in what specific ways values – in this case – those of trust and security – affect brand engagement in the category in which your brand competes.

Looking at the Discount Retail category, “Trust and Security” (defined precisely as related to this specific set of circumstances) is the 3rd most-important engagement driver in the category and makes a 28% contribution to consumer engagement and loyalty. That’s based off what consumers expect from the category Ideal. (BTW, it makes an even bigger contribution for Online Retailers).

Before the breach, the Target brand met consumer expectations for those values about as well as Walmart and Kmart. None of those three brands actually met expectations consumers held for those values for the Ideal. Consumers expect a lot these days and almost always more than brands deliver, but in this case all three retail brands fell within perfectly acceptable ranges, which is important even if we’re not talking about personal and financial information. Brands that better meet expectations for specific values or on an overall, category basis always do better than brands that don’t.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, Target isn’t meeting trust and security expectations in that acceptable range anymore, having lost nearly 85% of their brand equity on those values. In fact, according to assessments from our 2014 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, Target’s current brand engagement level – the degree to which the brand is seen by customers to be able to meet their expectations for those values – is currently assessed at about 6%. So not doing too well and, based on metrics that correlate very, very highly with consumer behavior, not likely to in the near-term.

Target has already seen effects to consumer behavior or, more precisely, the lack thereof, and has already reported sales as being “meaningfully weaker” after the cyber-hack was disclosed. They expect same-store sales to fall in the quarter through January. Based on these engagement measures, so do we.

This has not, of course, been the first time retailers have been hit in this way, but Target may turn out to be the biggest. In times past retailers had days to reach out to customers quietly to try and deal with breaches and mend brand fences. But with the kind of mobile and social networks in place now, news of such attacks go viral in a matter of hours.

W. Edwards Demming, American statistician and professor, who made significant contributions to Japan’s reputation for innovative, high-quality products by creating design and quality standards that exceeded customer expectations said, “In God we trust; all others bring data.”

But under the circumstances, perhaps satirist Jean Shepard’s version is a better catchphrase for Target: “In God we trust; all others pay cash!”

Connect with Robert on LinkedIn.

Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Korea Ship Tragedy: Parents Go From Anger To Acceptance While Nation Wallows In Shame
On the crowded floor of the gymnasium in the incredibly pleasant town of Jindo, on the southwestern Korean coast, hundreds of people are going through all the stages of grief. There has been anger, denial, bargaining...
 
 
How To Choose The Right Medium For Your Message
From music streaming services to magazine mobile apps, the last few years have brought us an array of options when it comes to choosing a message’s medium. New platforms, like Vine, have even reinvented publishing...
 
 
New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors
Ten days ago, the federal government released a huge data set detailing how it spent $77 billion in Medicare funds in 2012 to over 880,000 health care providers. The release of this data is part of a new transparency...
 
 
Vault-Like Services Could Be Next Fantasy Sports Success Stories
Billions of dollars are being exchanged among fantasy sports participants, which has led to the rise of subsectors within the fantasy gaming industry.  The most well-known subsector is the rapidly rising daily fantasy...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Korea Ship Tragedy: Parents Go From Anger To Acceptance While Nation Wallows In Shame
On the crowded floor of the gymnasium in the incredibly pleasant town of Jindo, on the southwestern Korean coast, hundreds of people are going through all the stages of grief. There has been anger, denial, bargaining...
Read more on Business Balla
 
What's Japan's Guiltiest Secret?: (Hint) It's Not The Comfort Women
For anyone who follows East Asia, here’s a question: what is Japan’s guiltiest secret? The “comfort women” scandal? The Nanking massacre? Official homage to war criminals at the Yasukuni shrine? No, no, and no. If by a...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
How To Choose The Right Medium For Your Message
From music streaming services to magazine mobile apps, the last few years have brought us an array of options when it comes to choosing a message’s medium. New platforms, like Vine, have even reinvented publishing...
Read more on Business Balla
 
New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors
Ten days ago, the federal government released a huge data set detailing how it spent $77 billion in Medicare funds in 2012 to over 880,000 health care providers. The release of this data is part of a new transparency...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Vault-Like Services Could Be Next Fantasy Sports Success Stories
Billions of dollars are being exchanged among fantasy sports participants, which has led to the rise of subsectors within the fantasy gaming industry.  The most well-known subsector is the rapidly rising daily fantasy...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Pain & Pleasure Of Branded Social Media
During a recent Bulldog webinar on the subject of media relations 2.0, a senior communications professional from the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) noted that when the organization wanted to announce news, it simply...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Counting Jack Ma's $5 Billion Shopping Spree In 2014
So, how is your 2014 going? For Jack Ma, the past five months were one crazy shopping spree. The 49-year-old billionaire founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group has been involved in eight major deals with a...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies
The Weekly Oil and Gas Follies – Volume 42, April 21, 2014 In which we drill down into the @GDBlackmon Twitter feed to briefly chronicle the week’s silliness, shenanigans, fake news and real news related to the oil and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Challenges Of Remote Management: One Manager's Perspective
Sometimes it seems you can learn more about management from sitting at a bar than from reading a textbook. I was recently sitting at a bar at a resort with my wife, and began to chat with the man sitting next to me. ...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Weekend Box Office: Johnny Depp's 'Transcendence' Flops, 'Heaven Is For Real' Soars
Heaven Is For Real is to The Grudge as God’s Not Dead is to The Ring. As the first major Christian-centric film to drop after the surprisingly successful God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is For Real got to capitalize on being the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla