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Branding's Biggest Winners and Losers of 2018

Branding's Biggest Winners and Losers of 2018

By Thursday, 27 December 2018 04:39 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With the midterm elections playing a dominant role in our political culture, branding must be considered in any analysis of winners and losers.

How well did brands respond (or fail to respond) to market forces in 2018? Here’s my take on the year’s winners and losers.


Senate Republicans

Sen. Lindsey Graham understood that marketing is all about satisfying voter needs and that Senate Democrats at the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings had wandered far from that principle. Sen. Graham took this message and secured an increased lead for Republicans through his savvy implementation of all things marketing for the 2018 Senate Midterm elections.

House Democrats

In the lower chamber, Democrats used marketing and implemented three basics to make the difference in the election’s outcome: segmentation, needs, and money. The Dems identified suburban women who either voted for Hillary Clinton or women who became disenfranchised from and disenchanted with the firebrand Donald Trump. Combine this with the money Democrats spent on TV ads and you see why they won the majority.


Nike reminded us that public relations is changing. The new normal: customers matter more than prevailing public sentiment. Nike knew that men and women under 30 really could not relate to the outrage surrounding Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest police brutality. After featuring Kaepernick in an ad, sales surged. Congratulations to Nike for their foresight.


Women have more seats at the table, with a record number elected to Congress and the growing influence of the “Me Too” movement. This a cultural force to be reckoned with. We should continue to encourage our young (and old) students, daughters, and colleagues.

Kevin Hart

To thy own brand be true is so very true in Kevin Hart and his handling of the Academy Awards fiasco. The talented and well-liked comedian was selected and then un-selected to host the Academy Awards because of anti-LGBT statements he made nearly 10 years ago. After apologizing, and thinking about what he had said some time ago, he decided that he was not interested in hosting the “ratings-challenged” event. This is personal branding at its best.


House Republicans/Senate Democrats

It is amazing how House Republicans along with the Senate Democrats forgot about marketing and branding in losing their respective chambers. But such was the case. If only Republicans had remembered what voters really wanted — a healthcare fix. And had the Democrats not overplayed their ideological hand in the Kavanaugh hearings, the outcome may have been different.


Last year Interbrand ranked Facebook number 8 in its 2017 Top Brand roster. With growth up 48 percent since 2016, Facebook earnings have topped $500 billion. What a difference a year makes. Facebook must be considered a 2018 brand loser, with its stock plunging by 19 percent, the controversy over Cambridge Analytica’s use of its app system to harvest user data, Russian trolls buying Facebook ads and with many other problems.


This Detroit mainstay announced it will no longer make the Chevy Volt hybrid and slash car production in North America, including the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Impala sedans. The immediate result was not good, with headlines touting the company’s 14,000 layoffs. Stay tuned.


The Tesla brand is at a critical point due to concerns over finances and public comments made by Musk. Musk believes his company will be profitable starting in the third quarter. Critics disagree. With complaints from unhappy Tesla owners and an overall rating of 1.5 stars out of 5, the secret for Tesla to become a future brand winner is to respond to the needs of customers.

Boy Scouts

The Scouts need a plan for responding to sexual abuse lawsuits as well as a declining membership, which has damaged the brand. But there is hope for this august organization. In 2019, they will be recruiting girls and re-branding their scouting program to Scouts BSA.

One thing is for sure: it’s always easier when you have marketing in mind!

Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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With the midterm elections playing a dominant role in our political culture, branding must be considered in any analysis of winners and losers.
marketing, branding, nike, facebook
Thursday, 27 December 2018 04:39 PM
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