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, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.