Trump brand and shifting perceptions……

Trump’s pole numbers after a year are remarkably resilient despite his questionable politics. However, this teflon like quality does not extend to his brand and business. The drip drip effect of being associated with hate, racism, nepotism, corruption and now possible impeachment is shifting perceptions. People living in Trump properties are not longer paying to use the Trump name but are now seeing the financial impact of being associated with it. When a brand becomes so toxic financing has a tendency to dry up and Trump has never shied away from his love of debt financing. Are we witnessing the early warning signs of the first presidential bankruptcy in US history?


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Would you go and get open heart surgery without a proper diagnosis or start a lengthy journey without a map? I thought not. However, the question is not as absurd as it may appear when applied to copywriting briefs. There is a commonly held assumption amongst certain clients that copywriters can turn lead into gold at the touch of a keyboard without a proper brief and a superficial understanding of the brand or business. This problem is exacerbated in the go-go world of start-ups where time is short, budgets are tight and the pressure to go ‘live’ is ever present. So for budding entrepreneurs it’s worth remembering a golden rule in copywriting or content production. Time spent developing a detailed brief will shorten the project time and produce better results every time. How is that?

Entrepreneurs have a vision or gut feel of where they want to get to. However, that is not the same as writing it down and formalising it. That is where a decent copywriter can provide a framework for a project by asking lots and lots of questions. Who is the audience, what are the key messages, the SEO keywords and the tone of voice to adopt? How does this project fit into the overall business strategy and what are the objectives of the project. Well you get the idea. However you also need to think about the consequences of bypassing this process. The classic symptoms are too many draft versions, time wasting, general frustration and copy that doesn’t quite hit the mark. .

Going back to the analogy of the map. You can chose to start a long journey without a map. Sure you may eventually get to your final destination using the sun and the stars. But, at worst you may not get there and at best you may arrive late. Essentially a brief is like map that helps you plan your journey and as the old saying goes ‘if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail’.




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To the digital world personalisation is second nature though for traditional food brands it has taken longer.   With breakthroughs in manufacturing and distribution technologies food brands are also able to flex their personalisation muscles. Brands such as Nutella, Heinz, Marmite and Coke have understood that engaging on a personal level with consumers deepens the relationship and ensures long-term loyalty. At the same time it provides an abundance of communication opportunities for getting the brand message across.




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Free Tea


Brand naming can be a fraught business that appropriates foreign languages to provide a veneer of sophistication. This can often lead to hilarious ‘Engrish or Japlish’ brand names targeted at unsuspecting Japanese consumers.

Conversely some names look and sound right, but on further inspection are a source of confusion for English speakers.

The word ‘free’ has several definitions one of which is ‘without charge’ or ‘gratis’. The French telecoms giant Free provides Wi-Fi, which is anything but ‘free’ and a source of bewilderment for the 80 million + tourists visiting France each year.

The brand naming process should involve considerable cultural and semantic research, which will highlight critical ambiguities and issues to save time and potentially huge amounts of money. In both cases ‘Freedom’ would have sufficed to dodge this cultural bullet……….

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Never underestimate consumers’ emotional attachment to brands and their willingness to express it through social media. Iconic brands occupy a central place in contemporary culture and are powerful triggers for nostalgia. The Toblerone brand identity is inextricably linked to the idiosyncratic product shape………….. tinker with that at your peril !

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