The 97-year-old Boscov's became the most recent department store - joining Steve & Barry's and Mervyns, among others - filling up Chapter 11 in a new novel called Crappy Economy. Court language can be trite and confusing, so a PR agency like MWW, tasked by Boscov's in June to handle PR for its filing, must develop a customized customer and vendor communications strategy.
“Our goal is to put together a complete communications package that reaches all key audiences and [explains] what [the filing] means and what it doesn't mean,” said Rich Tauberman, EVP at MWW. He contends that, in Boscov's case, the company's business might actually improve, because it gained $250 million in financing from Bank of America.
But while explaining to vendors and customers that “it's business as usual” and educating them about the filing and the store's intentions - via local outreach and a vendor-oriented Web site - the team is incorporating a message about Boscov's local and national charitable activities, too.
“We can accentuate the goodwill in the community for Boscov's and make sure [customers] understand it's still committed,” Tauberman said.
He explains that in the retailing landscape Boscov's stands apart from retailers like Wal-Mart and Target because it's “local, family-owned, and independent,” so the PR team's core strategy is to reassure people that the store will be there for the long-term.
The agency is also working on communications for Linens-n-Things' relatively recent filing – a reflection, he explains, of what's happening in the home sector. However, MWW is focusing more on the store's national plan.
“We try to talk about the breadth and scope and what they're doing nationally... Boscovs is more a community institution,” Tauberman said.
In the past, MWW also handled Chapter 11 communications for Barney's, Today's Man, and Filene's Basement, among others.
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