Target's reputation plummeted immediately after gay rights activists called for a boycott of the chain over its support of an anti-gay candidate, and has yet to fully recover.

According to Brandweek, Target lost one-third of its BrandIndex score, a measure of a brand name's buzz, over the course of 10 days in August when the news first broke. While the retail giant has rebounded some since, its score remains 14 points lower than in July.

Brandweek says its index “analyzes the most talked abut brands based on buzz: The scores are based on weighing positive and negative perceptions of a brand.”

The Minnesota-based Target donated $150,000 to the group MN Forward, an independent political fund supporting Tom Emmer, the anti-gay Republican nominee for Minnesota governor. Electronics giant Best Buy also donated money.

Target apologized for the donation but rejected a request by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, to give an equal amount of money to a pro-gay candidate. HRC has said it will drop Target and Best Buy from its annual Buying for Equality Guide.

The progressive group has launched ads urging shoppers to boycott the Minnesota-based retail giant for its $150,000 contribution. The group says corporations should stay out of politics.

Institutional shareholders are pressuring Target to rethink its donation policies to avoid future political stumbles.