Spitfire Strategies

The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) approached Spitfire for support in developing a strategy for communicating about a settlement with Target.

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

LDF was helping to represent two complainants who had been discriminated against by Target through the use of overly broad criminal background checks. These criminal background checks are often used a proxy for race, because people of color have disproportionate contact with the criminal justice system and are, therefore, more likely to be flagged in a criminal background check – even when the flag is not related to the job or stems from old charges.

Our goal was to make a big splash so other corporations could not ignore this settlement – and we succeeded.

Target had notified LDF that they were going to settle the case, but the timing was unknown. So, Spitfire worked with LDF to prepare an advance strategy for communicating about the case that could be deployed once the settlement was filed. Since LDF works primarily to achieve nationwide change, the strategy focused on using Target as an example for other large companies about why they should do away with these broad criminal background checks. Our goal was to make a big splash so other corporations could not ignore this settlement – and we succeeded.

Spitfire generated a strong media list, secured an exclusive in The New York Times, and helped pitch the piece to secure coverage in other national outlets including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Affairs, The Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, Bloomberg, and CNN Money. We also received strong coverage in regional outlets including The New York Daily News, The Tampa Bay Times, and Target’s own home newspaper, The Minneapolis Star Tribune. Further, the conversation continued on social media, with a reach of nearly 95 million people.

Spitfire Tools Used

“This has been a tremendous eye opener. It shows us how to pull the aspects of communications skills, from the message, to the audience. It forced us to identify our strengths and our weaknesses in an effort to become more strategic in how we prepare our messages and communicate them.”

- Training Participant

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