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Will Ivanka Trump's White House Gig Boost Her Brand?

Will Ivanka Trump's White House Gig Boost Her Brand?
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrive for a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 22 March 2017 11:48 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Ivanka Trump has a new White House gig. Will this pop in prestige boost her retail brand?

It’s complicated.

Ivanka Trump will reportedly occupy an office in the West Wing’s second floor. According to Fox News, she’s not an official government employee and will receive no salary — but will get government-issued communications devices and a security clearance to access classified information.

Here’s the rub: Ivanka Trump has spent her career in real estate and retail, neither of which imbued her with policy-advisory chops.

Yes, you can say the same about her father, but the American people voted for him, and that makes a difference. Besides, he’s had to surround himself with people who do have policy credentials.

Despite the strict nepotism law, dating back to 1967, Ivanka sidesteps it because, without a salary, her father technically didn’t “hire” her.

Make no mistake: while unpaid, Ivanka’s a staffer — and much more. She physically works in the White House, has a bloodline to the commander-in-chief, and is married to Jared Kushner, also working in the White House, also bereft of policy chops — although he played a key role in getting Trump elected.

Why does the president want Ivanka in the White House? First, given the travails of the election, he needs all the credibility with women that he can muster. Second, Mr. Trump trusts and values Ivanka’s counsel, prizes her passion for empowering women, and admires her success in selling to them.

Why counsel on women’s issues requires a security clearance is a mystery.

On February 13, 2017, President Trump had Ivanka attend a White House policy meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of the nascent U.S. Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders and Female Entrepreneurs.

So, how will this new prestige affect Ivanka’s clothing, shoes, and accessories?

On one hand, Ivanka, the name and face of her eponymous company’s lines, and a working mom of three young children, now has one of the most prestigious jobs in the world — in the most famous office building in the world.

This enhanced status helps boost the prestige of her brand and products, which are designed for working women. And, because Nordstrom and other retailers shafted her, as I analyzed previously in this column, most women are motivated to help Ivanka succeed.

On the other hand, she didn't earn her advisory position, as did others in the White House. She has the job because she's the president's daughter.

Now, if her role and contributions benefit Trump’s voters and aren’t overly controversial — conservatives like Mark Levin have blasted her coveted childcare program as an expensive entitlement — Ivanka will overcome the nepotism label.

And, that’s a non-trivial “if.”

Also, Ivanka must avoid violating any ethics laws (Kellyanne Conway is still taking heat for urging Americans to buy Ivanka’s clothes after the Nordstrom debacle). Namely, she must prohibit her executives from using any mention or photograph of her White House activities in company promotions.

Finally, given the aforementioned, I predict that Ivanka’s loyal customers, duly impressed with her achievements, will vote “approve” with their wallets, in increasing numbers.

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs, speaker, media commentator, and author of "Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line" and "Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding." Find him at MarcRudov.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Ivanka Trump has a new White House gig. Will this pop in prestige boost her retail brand?
ivanka trump, white house, clothing, brand, retail
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 11:48 AM
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