Target's stores use PR to soothe locals confused by name change

MINNEAPOLIS: Target Corporation is facing a PR challenge related to a January 12 announcement that it will change the names of its venerable Dayton's and Hudson's department stores.

MINNEAPOLIS: Target Corporation is facing a PR challenge related to a January 12 announcement that it will change the names of its venerable Dayton's and Hudson's department stores.

MINNEAPOLIS: Target Corporation is facing a PR challenge related to a January 12 announcement that it will change the names of its venerable Dayton's and Hudson's department stores.

The company, which is known nationally for its Target discount retail chain, is changing the stores' names to Marshall Field's, consistent with its third major department store brand. It made the decision in anticipation of launching an online gift registry this year.

According to Lynne Galia, PR manager for Target, the name change will create a national identity for the company's Internet efforts and is likely to enhance its competitive position.

Target plans to use direct mail, instore brochures and inserts in customers' charge card statements to explain the change.

The move has caused major PR issues in both Minneapolis, where the Dayton's name has long been a fixture, and in Detroit, where Hudson's was a local icon. Target currently manages 19 Dayton's stores, 21 Hudson's and 23 Marshall Field's.

'This always has been Hudsontown,' said Fred Marx of Marx Layne Marketing and Public Relations in Detroit. Marx worked at Hudson's from 1978 to 1985 as senior vice president of marketing. Dayton's bought Hudson's in 1984, forming Dayton Hudson. And last year, the company changed its name to Target, reflecting its ownership of the fast-growing chain of discount stores.

'Certainly we understand that it's an emotional issue,' said Galia. The message PR will deliver to consumers is that 'the essence of the stores is going to stay the same,' she added. For example, Dayton's and Hudson's will continue to sponsor events in their respective communities, a point that will be mentioned in information given to shoppers.

PR for the name change is being handled internally.



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