By Andris Pone – President, Coin Branding
What are the top branding lessons and implications to be digested from Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election?
1.Branding is values-neutral. It is OK to have a brand based on hate and indecency. At least, it is OK with a very large cohort of people. Watch in the coming years for brands that take their signal from Trump and position themselves assertively on the basis of bigotry, racism and sexism.
2.Contrary to the opinions of many, the brand of the Republican Party is stronger than ever. Ask yourself: if Trump had run as an independent, would he have won? No. Registered Republicans are going to vote for whomever is their candidate, no matter what. This could very well be the case for Democrats as well; I am not suggesting this immovable brand loyalty – the naked pursuit of power at any cost – is strictly a Republican thing.
3.Trump saved his brand by winning. If he had lost, his businesses – hotels and Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, for example – would not have individuals, organizations and foreign parties of all kinds lining up to essentially bribe the president of the United States by generously supporting his ventures. There is no reason to believe a Donald Trump presidency will not be the most corrupt of our lifetimes – making Hillary look like an abject amateur and rendering curious the logic of “Lock Her Up” Trump voters.
Notably, this is not the same as saying consumers would have abandoned Trump’s brands had he lost. We have discovered that Trump’s apparent amorality does not dissuade 54% and 45% of white, college-educated men and women, respectively, from voting for him, and these people are the most likely individuals to patronize his pricey offerings.
4.Women have a serious brand problem. We of course define a brand as what people think of you, and as Ghomeshi lawyer Marie Henein – owner of Canada’s most powerful female personal brand – tells us, Canadians and Americans don’t think highly enough of women to elevate one to the top political job.
As Henein puts it, Clinton lost because she is a woman. But in this beautiful and powerful piece, she does see a path forward.