Month: January 2015

Target´s reputation: learning with the Canadian Closure.

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I´m a real Target client. I visit their store at least once a week, and I have to admit my shock when I heard the news about them closing their 133 stores in Canada.

Despite what might have happened with Target´s business in Canada, I wonder why this was so badly communicated in-house and for the external audiences. What I have read in the Canadian Media, International media and by the comments I still hear while shopping in the store, I feel a few things were not made to minimize the reputation impact this will have on the brand.

I assume Target has a big PR agency working for them, but honestly, as an outsider, I feel some steps were not followed or, perhaps, the possible reactions were taken for granted. The news spread within social media, and traditional media, before the employees were aware of it. I witnessed as one client shared the news to an employee who had no idea and was not even able to breathe.

I feel surprised because this is not the first time, or company, that announces a huge closure as this one, and there are many experiences that have taught what to do and how to do it to protect the company.

Today some Target stores have closed aisles for the groceries; employees still have no corporate message or training on what to say about this. If Target found out that the business was going to be profitable by 2021, as mentioned on the Financial Post (http://business.financialpost.com/2015/01/19/targets-severance-package-shows-the-good-side-of-employers/ ), why was it so difficult for them to adjust for that to happen. By the way, is commonly know that the 5-8 years is the basic North American time frame to see some profitable growth on any business.

Trying to share something about the complex communications and PR field on this blog and looking forward to read some feedback, here are some of the Basic Crisis communication strategy things you can think about before announcing a big closure:
• Establishing the creative and “decision making” team, including Canadian CEO, Legal Advisors, HR, and PR or communications team. Determine the responsibilities as spokespersons and set their ability to be reachable 24/7. Media training (this first step should have been done at least 3 months ago).
• Develop strong key messages that serve as the backup to explain the decision. Numbers, statistics and any information with the options the company managed to survive before. Next steps (the Calendar).
• Creativity with a detailed FQ&A inspired with what would internal and external audiences would worry and ask about.
• Prepare immediate Media relations, offering one on one session with top Canadian Media and opinion leaders for the business.

A Person on the Road

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By Lucia Lecuna

I love planning, programming and having all figured out within a year or a decade. That is my ideal world, but not the real one. My reality made me get trained to be able to adjust to changes in a pace that was absolutely complicated and uncertain, almost every day.

In Venezuela, the country were I grew up, the last thirty years have been actively changing times. I will not give you all the details, because they will lead me to write about economics and politics, two words that should never be together but they are; but I can say that planning only worked for some gift list and dinner plans.

I have to acknowledge that I got very good at adapting and I consider myself as a very flexible person. So my comfort planning zone changed to the unknown reality. Flexibility has come to be absolutely necessary in the changing world we live in, especially in the international business fields.

Recently I finished a Scott Pilates course that will lead me to get my Instructor Certificate, something that I always wanted to do, since exercise has been one of my passions, and that. So, why would a journalist want to teach Pilates, since she has grown in a career in PR?

The extra income will sure help me, but I will do it because I enjoy teaching and I know this exercises really help people with back pains, posture problems and getting more strength in their stability muscles. Yes, I love finding health related information, sharing it and making it grow, but along the way, I have found that balance in my life requires extra activities that can actually complete the 24 hours a day with something more than sleeping.

My relaxing zone comes after work and after exercising. I love doing crafts too and I have a small business creating earrings, which gives me a great satisfaction too. Being a mom it’s actually my other professional career. And it may have uncertain moments too, but it’s a lifetime career.

One thing I would love to share: the road is now more different that it was for my parents or grandparents. To be certain about what’s going to happen in the next ten years it’s impossible. I know that more scientific developments, mobility and technology use, as well as social progress focused on equality and safety are going to impact the world we live in. I only hope nature holds on us as we get to reduce our impact on it.

Lucia Lecuna is a PR and journalist professional who has worked in the Global International corporate world. She moved in Canada in 2013 and joins several social justice organizations as a volunteer. She follows health organizations along the world and in Canada, finding her passion when new ideas and solutions help different communities. After years connected to the fitness and health business, she will include Pilates Instructor in her complementary professional profile.