Last week I watched the blog storm surrounding Target’s decision not to talk to a blogger, because it only focused on traditional media outlets.
Today, I see the story has made the New York Times. Yo, Target, is that traditional enough for ya?
“Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets,” a public relations person wrote to ShapingYouth.
“This practice,” the public relations person added, “is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest,” as Target refers to its shoppers.
Word of the exchange quickly spread and the blogosphere did not appreciate the slight. “Target doesn’t participate in new media channels?” asked the Web site for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Target “dismisses bloggers” commented the blog for Parents for Ethical Marketing. “Ahem! So bloggers don’t count!” Ms. Jussel chimed in on ShapingYouth.
Now it appears Target is “reviewing the policy.”
In Radically Transparent, we look closely at when to engage the blogosphere and when to step away from the conversation. While Target may not have had a policy in place to actively reach out to bloggers, it should at least have known something about how the blogosphere works. For example, what did Target think would happen, when it told a blogger, (paraphrasing) “we don’t talk to the likes of you?” Seriously? Couldn’t it have predicted that the blogger would feel slighted and that other bloggers would also feel belittled?
OK, so maybe Target didn’t see that coming–hindsight is 20/20–but surely it watched how the story spread in social media, right? Once the “blog storm” started, Target should have switched into “crisis communication” mode which should apply no matter what what the platform being used. If it had backtracked on its statement, contacted the original blogger, offered an interview, and generally treated them like adults, Target could have avoided this storm in a teacup from reaching the New York Times.
If Target spokesperson, Amy von Walter, would like to email me her office address, I’ll make sure she gets one of the first copies of Radically Transparent–courtesy of this “nontraditional media outlet.”