“Mr. Trump has been one of the most powerful brands we’ve ever tracked,” said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president, in a statement.
“You could add his name to anything from ties to buildings and the increased perceived value of the products fell into the 20 percent to 37 percent range, which was very high, enviable by any category or brand standards, and what a brand is supposed to do,” he said. “Now, I suppose, he literally qualifies as ‘the most powerful brand in the world.’”
After a videotape showing Mr. Trump making lewd remarks about women was released, Brand Keys polled consumers again.
This survey found that in 100 percent of the categories studied, including hospitality and apparel, Mr. Trump’s comments hurt the perceived value of products or services. Coming as reports surface of lowered bookings at his hotels, this brand erosion was expected to cause consumers to avoid Trump products (see story).
“In becoming a candidate Mr. Trump changed both the brand paradigm regarding consumer expectations and values surrounding the Trump brand and also blurred the traditional lines regarding where the ‘Trump brand’ was expected to compete,” Mr. Passikoff said. “These shifts changed how the Trump brand was perceived by consumers.
“And an oft-contentious campaign didn’t help foster consumer emotional engagement and brand loyalty levels,” he said.
Now that the election is over, things appear to have taken a turn upwards for this human brand. An overnight survey after polls closed showed that these negatively affected categories have all bounced back, with added-value particularly high in country and golf clubs, real estate and suits.
Image courtesy of Trump National Doral in Miami
For instance, golf clubs had an added value of 35 percent in 2015, which rose to 40 percent during his candidacy and then dropped to 34 percent after the vulgar footage surfaced. Today, it is higher than it was pre-candidacy, at 42 percent.
Mr. Passikoff noted that this upswing is likely attributed to the cachet of the brand “Commander in Chief.” For instance, a presidential suite at a hotel now holds more meaning and golf tee times may also benefit from perceived power associations.
“Human Brands don’t generally get a second chance to breath real life back into their brands or rekindle the desire in the hearts and souls of consumers,” Mr. Passikoff said. “Not at their former brand strength, added-value levels, at least. These shifts are incredibly strong.
“A brand that was once deemed toxic by many consumers is now seen as not only a safe option, but an emotionally desirable option,” he said. “Especially given the new set of values that the brand has created around itself: victory, self-confidence and determination, a sense of the visionary, and ultimately greatness. We’ll have to factor those into our next presidential model.”