The Keyhole makes observations about consumers, brands, ads, & marketing, through a predictive customer loyalty lens. Most marketing is ineffective to today's bionic consumer, given undifferentiated products, loss of "brandness," & hard to come by profits. Marketers talk about "engagement" but nobody seems to be doing a very good job measuring or integrating it into what they do & it shows! The Keyhole opens a dialogue on this subject & suggests real-world solutions with the marketing community.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Can Brand Trump Become President Trump?
In 1968, Joe McGinniss wrote The Selling of the President,
analyzing the marketing of Richard M. Nixon. It was the first-of-its-kind intro
to a concept of stage-managed presidential branding and a primer for taking a
human politician and turning him into a brand – the creation of the “new
Nixon.” Now, 47 years later, the American electorate faces a new paradigm shift
– turning a human brand into a candidate, this time the creation of candidate
No matter how you feel about Mr. Trump personally, his
political positions, his standings in the polls, his grandiloquence, or even
his hairstyle, one thing is undeniable – Donald Trump is a human brand
extraordinaire! We’re talking real “Human Brand,” here folks. Not a celebrity,
but an actual human being who embodies100% of the values of the company he
“Human Brand” is a designation representing the highest
level of imbued meaning, values, and differentiation any brand can be. And
despite how many marketers prattle on about how everything and everyone can be
a “brand,” Mr. Trump is one of a very, very, very small club of Human Brands,
with values and qualities that allow him to successfully expand into multiple
and diverse categories, well beyond foundation products like real estate or TV
shows. Here’s just a few: catering, sales, leasing, hospitality, golf, home
furnishings, ice cream, vodka, wine, men’s shirts, ties, jewelry, and
fragrances, books, bottled water, and the list goes on.
When it comes to bringing added-value to a product or
service – a critical obligation of 21st century brands and the ultimate acid
test of Human Brands – adding the Trump name increases the perceived value of a
product or service anywhere from 20% to 37%, enviable by any category
standards. In terms of emotional engagement, adding the Trump brand causes the
products or services to be seen as better meeting consumer expectations for the
values that drive positive behavior in a particular category.
So here’s the question: Can brand Trump become President
Trump? Sure, we’ve seen the polls, but to answer that particular question we
went beyond the polls and looked at the category engagement drivers for the
electorate’s Ideal President.
These engagement drivers have been validated for every
Presidential election since 1980. The order of engagement drivers (and the
expectations voters hold for each) will vary in terms of what’s important to
members of different political parties. But while there is – as there is in any
category – detailed and complex values involved in the composition of engagement
drivers, generally speaking the drivers can be concisely described
(alphabetically) as follows:
Action: Does the candidate have a plan or the capability for
solving the problems facing the country?
Compassion: Does the candidate care about all the people?
Perception: Does the candidate have an understanding of the
problems facing the county?
Resolve: Does the candidate have the doggedness and determination
to make things happen?
Republicans view their Ideal President this way:
While the Republicans seem to have lots of politicians
talking themselves red, white, and blue in the face, if one were to “voice” the
Ideal Republican Presidential candidate, he or she might sound like this:
“I have been successful solving all the problems I’ve faced
over the years.I look at solutions and
have learned to focus on what will provide results. We need new thinking and
not the same-old, same-old hackneyed promises. Things are broken and they need
to be fixed. We need to make America great again. One measure of our greatness
is its ability to show concern for all citizens in fair and equitable ways.”
Sound familiar? Keep in mind that during a Presidential
campaign the air is full of speeches – and vice versa – so if you were to sift
through all the current political rhetoric, the sound bites and tweets,
underplay a bit of the bombast, and overlook some of the more unpleasant and
belligerent statements, who does that sound like to you?
Anyway, back to the original question of whether Brand Trump
could become President Trump? To answer
that we asked 1,350 registered Republicans from the 9 U.S. Census Regions to
assess Mr. Trump using our emotional engagement evaluation and compared those
results to the Republican Ideal for President. To facilitate comparisons, each
of the Ideal’s category drivers have each been calibrated to100% to reflect voter
expectations, with “Brand Trump” measuring up as follows:
On the basis of those assessments – an overall 84% – the
answer to the original question would be “yes.” It seems eminently possible to
migrate this particular Human Brand to a Presidential Brand.
For those of you who had other parties and candidates in
mind, remember that those results represent only one variable, absent a
Democratic challenger, 411 days before Election Day. A lot can happen in that
Just ask a candidate like Hillary Clinton. Or a brand like Volkswagen!
Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.