Any explicit opinion of the new president, whether positive or negative, is causing all sorts of controversy amongst brands and consumers. All of a sudden, numerous brands have gone from being politically neutral to promulgating their ideological cards. It doesn’t take much – an opinion or two – to change brand perception for good. Condemnation or praise has almost resulted in a split of factions amongst consumers. This isn’t only an American affair by the way. Across the pond we have the Brexit vote causing standoffs between buyers and sellers – Take Richard Branson and his company Virgin for example.
Is exposing your brand to the inevitable onslaught of politically opinionated shoppers – who don’t agree with you – worth it? Maybe. Are brands doing it the right way? I don’t think so. Coming out with a barrage of political statements could win you some new fans (and new foes) in the short-term, but it’s not going to benefit your brand long term.
Brand perception is built around the actions and direction of a brand. Marketing can portray an implicit viewpoint of a brand. Take Budweiser for example, the brand made its views clear regarding a societal issue in its Super Bowl 51 commercial. Where you choose to make your product may not be a decision that takes into account the ramifications of a consumer’s political opinion; however, this is 2017, and a new (peculiar) age of branding and political outcry is occurring before our very eyes.
Brands need to be more aware now than ever of how political opinion could shape consumer perception; moreover, brands need marketing (and business strategy) that provides the public with clarity concerning a brands values and principles. This can be achieved through high quality marketing. Clarity is different than grabbing a megaphone and telling people you love or hate something; people have minds of their own and will decide for themselves how they feel about a brand.
Whatever the political thoughts a CEO or company has, clever marketing is the best way to align a brands identity. Hollering at the top of your lungs you hate or love President Trump is, more likely than not, just going to annoy the life out of people. Strategic decisions and marketing content will let a person know where a brand stands, and it is up to the consumer to decide if they approve or not. Let your marketing do the talking.