I’m not really sure how anyone can quantitatively measure a brand’s “buzz” (Twitter mentions? Facebook likes? Drudge Report headlines?), but Brandweek BrandIndex Report by YouGov “is a weekly consumer perception report that analyzes the most talked about brands based on buzz: The scores are based on weighing positive and negative perceptions of a brand. A +100 score is positive, a -100 score is negative, and a rating of zero means that the score is neutral.” So based on that scientific model, how do you think Target is doing since it decided to spend $150,000 to help elect an anti-gay man governor of Minnesota in exchange for losing tens of millions in gay consumer dollars?
Just as you’d expected. Or at least hoped.
Target itself in political hot water in early August when it was revealed that it donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a group that supports gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who has aligned himself with radical anti-gay groups. Despite CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s Aug. 5 apology on the company’s site, Target lost one-third of its buzz score in the course of 10 days.
Although Target’s score recovered modestly from Aug. 12 through Aug. 24, it sunk again due to a rash of major newspaper op-eds, blog posts and publicity surrounding televised boycott ads from MoveOn PAC.
Of course the metric that matters most to Target isn’t buzz (although for a media chic brand like theirs, it remains a factor) — but profits, which includes the tax bill Tom Emmer will have some control over, and that’s how they’ll direct their cost-benefit analysis to see if the donation was worth it.