In one day, from last Thursday December 19th through Friday December 20th, Target has already seen its consumer perception drop much further than brands recently damaged by similar large-scale security breaches, such as Sony Online Entertainment (i.e. PlayStation) and Citibank.
Target’s perception dropped more in one day than either PlayStation or Citibank did one week after their breaches became public.
Target’s consumer perception levels have dropped even further since Friday.
Despite CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s offer on Friday for a 10% discount on most store items over the weekend as well as free credit monitoring services for everyone impacted, the retailer has reached its lowest consumer perception point since at least June 2007. This also marks the first time since that same time that Target has had more negative perception than positive perception.
In the cases of PlayStation, brand recovery took about eight weeks while Citibank took four weeks. Recovery didn’t necessarily bring them back to the same levels they were at before their breaches took place either. In April and May 2011, Sony Online Entertainment’s system was hacked through PlayStation, compromising the data for over 100 million consumers.
Here’s how the BrandIndex research breaks down:
Citibank, PlayStation, and Target were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" All respondents were age 18 and over.
YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score ranges from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
Target’s Buzz score for the week leading up to the data breach announcement was 26. One day later, it was -9, representing a drop of 35 points. Today, the Buzz score is -19, making the drop now 45 points. Since June 2007, the lowest Buzz score Target has ever received was around positive 10.
By comparison, using the same measurements, PlayStation went from a Buzz score of 5 the week before to -14 one day after, making it a 19 point drop. One week after PlayStation’s news, the score stabilized at -10. Citibank went from -15 to -36 in the same time frame, making an even bigger drop of 21 points, and then coming up 10 points one week later.