target data breach ronn torossian

Department store, Target, has been having a pretty rough 2014 to date. Soon after having to report that millions of customers’ data may have been put at risk, the company had to come back recently and admit that the breach may have impacted tens of millions more than originally thought.

Now, despite earlier assurances otherwise, experts are saying millions of Target customers have become vulnerable to identity theft. Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations, said the one-two punch of negative information could have a lasting impact on the number two retailer in the nation.

Initially,  when the breach was announced on December 19,  Target said about 40 million debit card accounts had been affected. Customers still shopped at the retailer through the holidays, but there was definite trepidation. Now, Torossian said, the company faces a haymaker of a negative PR punch.

Not only do they have to get back out there and reassure the public, they have to start the conversation admitting that the breach was nearly twice as bad as initially believed.

Worse, when the final tally is delivered, Target might be stigmatized as being the company at the center of the “largest data breach on record for any retailer.” Which is a brutal designation in the bloodsport that is big box discount retail.

The worst sting for the retailer is that, just before the latest announcement, Target announced its sales had started to recover from the PR crisis. Many in the financial world expect this “black cloud” to linger for several quarters this year and New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is participating in the investigation, called the latest release, “very troubling.”

Target needs to get out ahead of this, and do all they can to make it as easy as possible for customers to regain consumer confidence.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.