The day of brands quaking at the thought of a presidential tweet may be over, thanks to the Nordstrom surge. The retailer made a business decision to remove First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion line from its stores, saying the line’s sales were dropping.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump railed against the brand, saying Nordstrom treated his daughter unfairly.
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
In the immediate aftermath of the tweet, Nordstrom’s stock fell 1 percent, but ended the day up more than 4 percent, reports Fortune on Wednesday in “Nordstrom Stock Just Broke the Donald Trump Tweet Curse.” (His previous tweets have either harmed a brand’s stock price, in the case of a negative sentiment, or raised its worth in a positive update.)
While it’s unclear whether Nordstrom’s stock rallied because of Trump opponents, due to Nordstrom making a sound business decision or some other factor, the stock rise that continued on Thursday appears to have broken the “Trump tweet curse.” In my article on Jan. 31, I’d suggested that brands take a stand, because customers appear to want it and it may stabilize public sentiment that a Trump tweet may otherwise sway. (In a related matter, CNNMoney reports on Thursday that the White House counseled Kellyanne Conway about a conflict of interest for saying on Fox News that consumers should buy Ivanka Trump's fashions.)
While the Fortune article seems to say brands may be able to relax about the Trump tweet effect, others are calling for political brand planning.
First Fortune: “Donald Trump appears to have lost the power to move markets with a single tweet — and now his Twitter attacks may even be backfiring.”
Here’s what Owyang suggests marketers do in this age of polarizing politics:
- CMOs Will Hire Political-Brand Advisors. “No, I’m not talking about lobbyist or government relations professionals, but experts in political campaigning and brand influence,” he writes. “For example, a few years ago, Uber hired David Plouffe, who worked on the Obama campaign.” [Author’s note: A recent backlash against Uber’s choice to continue operating during a taxi driver’s strike in New York that protested Trump’s immigration ban, #deleteUber, caused serious problems for the private company and resulted in the CEO stepping down from a presidential advisory board. That announcement came on Feb. 2.]
- A New Professional Category Will Emerge. “Agencies, consultants, authors, speakers will emerge that tie together political and brand strategy that aids the CMO — and achieves bottom-line growth,” Owyang predicts.
- A New Feature of Enterprise Marketing Software Will Emerge. Owyang says it will “measure customer political preference and affiliation — with a dashboard for the CMO to manage.” [Author’s note: Target Marketing blogger says data geeks already pay attention to political affiliation in order to target customers. For instance, conservatives tend to respond well to NASCAR marketing, Yu says. The software Owyang is suggesting, though, seems to align brands taking political stands with similarly aligned customers.]
- CEOs Will Discuss Political Stances With CMOs. Owyang says before taking stands, “CEOs will lead a discussion at board level, with the CMO, to discuss if a brand should take a political stance, after carefully examining the impacts to government relations, regulation, customer preference.”
- Brands Will Politically Poll, says Owyang, “their customers, partners, prospects and competitor base to ascertain the political bent of their constituent base. Some bold brands will publish these polls in public.”
- Brands May Endorse Candidates. “A more public association between brands and their preferred political ideology and perhaps candidate will emerge,” Owyang says. [Author’s note: I’ve covered financial disclosures for political campaigns when I worked for newspapers, and brands have always given to candidates. But marketers making those donations and publicly endorsing a candidate would be new. This recently backfired for L.L.Bean, but may not for brands in the future.]
- Customers Will Wear Political Brands. Owyang says customers “will sport their favorite product as a form of political activism: Supporting, advocating or boycotting online and in front of their real-world friends.” [Author’s note: This is already happening.]
What do you think, marketers? Who’s right?
Please respond in the comments section below.