Trump’s woes highlight human risk to brand values

BVWireIssue #170-1
November 2, 2016

If a human being is part and parcel of a brand, there’s a great deal more risk potential in terms of valuation. This is not a new phenomenon. Before World War I, Camel cigarettes were almost named Kaiser cigarettes! Recently, the Trump brand has taken a beating, according to a report from the Associated Press. A representative for Trump maintains the brand is “incredibly strong.” But some event planners are shunning Trump properties, travelers are preferring rival hotels, and consumers are staying away from Trump retail products.

Control issue: You never know what a human advertising mascot or spokesperson will say or do to impact brand value. But there’s no worry if a human is not part of the trademark. Was Speedy Alka Seltzer ever involved in a scandal? Was the Pillsbury Dough Boy ever caught in a love nest? No, they didn’t have morals clauses in their contracts. They stayed squeaky clean because they were controllable fictional characters. So maybe when valuing a brand tied to a living person you should consider a discount for lack of control?

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