Brand Toxicity is a reality.
It sounds like something medicinal or some sort of liver defect however I think ,in the last weeks ,we have all seen what is probably the prime example of brand toxicity form none other than presidential hopeful “the Donald”.
Numerous times marketing has gone haywire such as with the Chevy “Nova” marketed in Mexico..sadly, nova ,in Spanish , means doesn’t work!
Try and sell a car called Chevy doesn’t work to someone..not very likely.
Some other good examples are the “AYDS Diet Candy”…you wont need any help figuring that one out, and even furniture giant IKEA somehow came up and agreed upon the name of “FARTFULL” for one of its desks.
We also shouldn’t forget that language , as mentioned in the example above, plays a huge role in a brands chances of success for particular products.
Star Goal Keeper Walter Zenga from Italy was promoting the newest console from SEGA during Italia 90, Sega just happened to overlook that SEGA in Italian means something that couldn’t be more different that what it actually was.
The fact that the full name of the product was actually the “Sega Master System”, sent Italians into hysterics. It is something that is still laughed about today.
In a nutshell the above don’t really constitute brand toxicity, they are blunders, some are very bad blunders that really affected the shares of the company and sales however , they were honest mistakes.
A bit of toxicity might have been there but it was overcome in most cases.
Today we have huge global brands all fighting for space , forging alliances to increase value and sales, awareness and market share.
TRUMP’s alliance with DAMAC would have seen the TRUMP Brand explode in the Middle Eastern Market.
Everything was proceeding well and everyone thought they were moving towards pure gold.
That is until “the Donald “opened his mouth.
Lets forget about the brand for a second and analyse the awful, ridiculous, uneducated and offensive and incendiary remarks he made during his current presidential run.
He wants Mexicans out, wants to build a wall, wants the Mexicans to pay for the wall, says that the Mexicans that come across the boarder are rapists and drug dealers.
That was pretty bad by any standards and did have some hints of fascism in it.
When we thought things couldn’t get worse, Trump came to the rescue!
He now wants ALL Muslims, not just Arabs, but ALL Muslims sent to camps until “they figure out what to do with them”. This of course includes , I suppose, Muslims in the armed forces, Muslim stock brokers, business owners, politicians and all Muslims living in the US.
If this is not fascism I don’t know what is.
Lets view the USA as a brand.
How do you think these comments have affected it?
Not well this is for sure and this ignorant Umpa Lumpa is running for president!
Now lets get back to his brand, the TRUMP brand, this is a prime example of Brand Toxicity.
1.6 billion Muslims around the world.
He managed to insult and alienate them all on the biggest platform there is!
Now the toxicity that he created will spread to brands associated with him such as Damac.
Can you imagine how they feel? Being stuck in a contract with the man who said that ALL Muslims should be barred from entering the united states until” we figure out what to do with them”?
Brand Toxicity at its best.
Now lets move back to the USA.
Lets say that our favourite Umpa Lumpa becomes president.
What are relations with Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt to name but a few going to be?
Which leader of the Arab world would want to be seen next to such a bigot, slanderer and fascist? Which leader would want to shake his hand on a picture?
I don’t think any would survive the PR disaster of being seen shaking his hand.
His products are off the shelves, posters down, his name was taken off the project for a day possibly by “vandals” projects cancelled and more will be cancelled.
He has rendered himself and his brand along with him completely toxic.
Not just with his racist slanderous rants against entire ethnic and religious groups but also with his honest stupidity, I mean ” we have to go and talk to Bill Gates! we have to talk to Bill Gates and shut the internet!” …still makes me laugh! But people, he is the republican front runner! its disastrous.
This man single-handedly set America back 60 years!
What he is saying is reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
He has empowered bigots and managed to turn his brand into a political mistake for any company that wishes to use it or country that wishes to host it.
Why did he do it? well , good question, Im pretty sure that he wanted to shock, and he did, however I am also equally sure that despite what he says, he actually didn’t think things through at all! I am sure he didn’t anticipate the backlash and now he is stuck having to move forward with it.
There is no coming back from what he said.
This will be remembered wherever he goes for 5,10,15 ,20 years and beyond his lifetime.
It will probably pass on to his kids as well.
Prince Al Waleed bin Talal and Khalaf Al Habtoor have both spoken out publicly withdrawing their support for Trump and denouncing him as what he is
These are 2 highly respected and extremely successful individuals, when you incur such a response from them you know you messed up..
The TRUMP name is now toxic to 1.6 billion people, the number is actually, at least, double that as most people have a brain and can see that it is pure insanity.
Truthfully , I cannot see why any Middle Eastern nationals would want to identify with his brand any longer.
This is why PR is so important. It is very important as the head of a brand to “filter” comments and emotions especially if your brand carries your name!
Never isolate your brand, and never assume that your brand is immortal because the truth is that brands are extremely delicate and fragile and can crumble very quickly because of simple things such as words.