Does Ivanka Trump Need to Rebrand?

Photo Credit: Michael Vadon

Due to political boycotting, clothing retailers, starting with Nordstrom have begun to drop Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand. Consumers are associating Ms. Trump’s clothing line with her father’s controversial policies. As a result, her business has taken a major hit.

Putting politics aside, Ms. Trump needs to review her business strategy and assess the direction she intends to bring her brand. Besides political backlash, there are other considerations as to why her brand is being dropped by retailers, such as the fact that Ms. Trump’s clothing brand is nearly a decade old. Ivanka Trump has to treat this matter like as any other PR Crisis. With the bottom line in mind and as with any other brand, Ms. Trump needs to consider how the public perceives her and how it might impact her brand and business.

With more retailers including Belk, Neiman-Marcus, TJ Maxx and Marshalls rejecting her brand, Ms. Trump should consider rebranding to limit unnecessary attention. From a Public Relations perspective, damage control must begin with refocused, and effective brand messaging.

The best course of action would be for Ms. Trump to distance her brand from politics, and focus solely on her business. She might consider flying her brand under the radar by reintroducing her line under a name other than “Trump”. While many believe she has already attempted to distance herself from her father’s politics with her infamous dress post, the name “Trump” is believed to already hold too much baggage, and stunt the growth of future damage control initiatives.

Below are the results of a SWOT Analysis, a popular planning method AWG’s Public Relations Professionals use to assess their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. For a reactive campaign such as this, it’s clear to AWG that the Opportunities section suggestion should be Ms. Trump’s primary course of action. When considering the shape of Ms. Trump’s brand, the analysis reflects as shown:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Quality products are well-targeted

Current identity crisis

Opportunities

Threats

Weaknesses can be turned into strengths

Current damage can increase if not attended to

To address and repair the initial damage, AWG would recommend a proactive approach, involving her new brand with charitable and environmental causes, to specifically avoid the stigma associated with her father’s politics. The goal is for Ivanka Trump’s brand is to address her audience and represent opposition to the stigma that has created the initial boycotting of her brand.

Beyond charitable donations, Ms. Trump’s new brand might benefit largely by building partnerships with non-profit organizations specifically those focused on building environmental and cultural awareness. Creating a system of positive press will force consumers to focus on one thing – the clothing, which is the primary objective.

In addition to positive press, Ms. Trump might find an opportunity in selling domestic-made goods, which will not only silence critics, but will generate applause, and build value for her brand. This is another way to communicate that she is listening, also that she will do whatever it takes to please her current and potential customers. By distancing herself and her brand from her father’s politics, then and only then will Ivanka Trump find her own voice, and, most important- her brand’s new followers.

By accentuating the positive aspects of the brand (the focus on charities and environmental causes) and away from her name’s negative connotations, Ms. Trump would rebuild and refocus her brand. Branding is largely about capitalizing on opportunity – and this is Ivanka Trump’s chance to shine, stand out, and silence her critics.

Ivanka Trump’s brand dilemma underscores the fact that not all publicity is good publicity; effective PR is about communicating strategically and effectively. Is your brand communicating the right way to the right audience? Contact the experts at Active Web Group and experience the true power of professional branding at 1-800-978-3417!