I had an interesting conversation with someone yesterday. She had tried on a dress at a women’s clothing store and really liked the way it looked on her. Curious about the brand, she looked at the label and discovered that it was labeled Ivanka Trump. She told me that she just couldn’t bear wearing something with the Trump name on it so she put it back and left the store without buying it.
As a brand consultant, this was interesting to me. Ivanka Trump deliberately chose a label that featured the Trump name so that it could draw from and contribute to the Trump brand equity. As the Trump name is becoming more well known with Donald Trump’s run for the GOP presidential nomination, awareness of the Trump name is increasing but the Trump name is also taking on more positive and negative associations, depending on one’s view of Donald Trump, his values, his personality and his position on issues.
So, extending the Trump brand into politics has perhaps made the brand more interesting for some and less palatable for others. The woman with whom I had this conversation really liked the dress itself (the product) but couldn’t stand being associated with Trump (the brand). This is a clear example of how a brand can add to or subtract from the appeal of products or services. In this case, a sale was lost due to the brand name. I suspect that the Ivanka Trump name helps more than it hurts sales as it creates immediate recognition. Having said that, it clearly stands for something other than quality for some people.
Any time one extends a brand into a new category (in this case, politics), the brand's associations in that category can have an impact on the brand’s perceptions in other categories.