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  • Writer's pictureAgenz PR

Target: The Retail Giant On A Mission Of Authentic Inclusivity

A company that has done public relations right.

By: Michelle Monari

As a new Gen Z public relations professional, I’m always having to explain to my peers what PR is not. I’m constantly explaining that PR professionals don’t spin certain agendas to favor our clients, we’re not advertisers and journalists (though we’re also storytellers) and we're not salespeople. So, what is public relations? According to Rebecca Poynter, an instructor at the University of North Texas, “positive, proactive strategic public relations are actions by an organization which builds goodwill with audiences, support the brand and maintain a positive reputation.” Public relations professionals are key contributors to the success of an organization. A company I feel does an amazing job with public relations is Target, especially through its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. When I started my natural hair journey, I was shocked at how little inventory other big-name retailers like Walmart had in natural hair care products. Hair products that cater to my hair type are always hidden in a small section of any Walmart’s hair aisle, limiting my options. However, I was pleased to discover that Target dedicates an entire aisle and sometimes more to Black hair care products derived from Black-owned businesses. This is just one of the many ways Target has shown its ability to make all its consumers included.

Target’s “Black Beyond Measure” social media campaign

Target's 2020 Black Beyond Measure campaign

For Black History Month in 2020, Target launched its Black Beyond Measure campaign which aimed to “amplify success stories and celebrate blackness” by featuring various collections of Black-owned products in its stores. To its over 29 million social media followers and in television commercials, Target highlighted Black entrepreneurs and Black Target members. Earned social mentions of Black-owned brands at Target increased by 560% and accumulated 3.4 billion impressions. The company’s organic content for the campaign also amassed 1.1 million engagements. The force behind the Black Beyond Measure campaign was Target’s African American Business Council, which consisted of 1,000 of its team members. The inclusion of Black voices was

evident in the campaign’s outcome. Everything the company put out through this campaign felt genuine. It was all authentic, nothing seemed performative. When reflecting on the campaign’s success, Erica Anderson, a store director in one of Target’s Atlanta locations saw how it evoked great reactions from guests who visited her store. “Recently, a mother came in to shop the collection with her two daughters and they were looking at the ‘Inventors’ tee,” said Anderson. “ The daughters were going back and forth naming Black inventors and guessing what he or she invented. I found myself joining in with them and having a great time, in awe of their knowledge.” In addition to this 2020 campaign, Target features Black-owned businesses year-round, not just during Black History Month. In 2021, the company vowed to spend more than $2 billion on Black-owned businesses by the end of 2025. In this commitment, Target promised to add products from more than 500 Black-owned businesses and establish resources such as the Forward Founders program to help Black-owned businesses grow.

Target’s accessible platforms

Another thing Target has done well is its commitment to accessibility to all communities. There are multiple ways the company has made online shopping through its website easy for everyone. The company uses appropriate headings, lists, paragraphs and other formatting features on so that guests can easily use the site with assistive technology. All images and multimedia are fully accessible through alternative text, captions and transcripts for people who are unable to see the images or hear audio. Target also remains consistent in the way it builds its websites and apps so guests aren't confused by sudden changes.

Target’s response to COVID-19

Target's safety measures during its Covid-19 response

In addition to its efforts regarding diversity and inclusion, Target has done a phenomenal job in aiding communities through its COVID-19 response. The company increased its safety and disinfecting measures in stores and distribution centers. It also gave its team members a bonus of a combined $75 million at the start of the pandemic. Target also partnered with CVS to offer COVID-19 vaccines to guests and its team members. The company also donated $3 million to support national nonprofits that were helping communities with COVID-19 recovery such as Feeding America and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Additionally, Target committed $5

million to local foundations such as United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and $1 million to global organizations such UNICEF. Target’s commitment to helping communities in response to COVID-19 displayed its giving nature. Target has embodied the meaning of positive proactive public relations. According to a survey done by Morning Consult, Target is the 7th most popular brand with Gen Z adults. This shows how its initiatives to be more inclusive and accessible have appealed to many among Gen Z.

About the author Michelle Monari is a new public relations professional in Denton, Texas. Monari is a recent graduate from the University

of North Texas where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a focus on public relations. She plans to pursue a career in corporate communications.


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