A recurring theme with branding, especially for an industry as removed from mainstream branding as edible oils and fats, is to learn from other areas and then apply the lessons to your own.

Mostly this means looking at product- or industry-branding, but the US presidential election is no exception. The most recent one involved such a strange mixture of surprises that we can only think that there must be useful lessons to be learnt.

Branding and marketing have something in common with events in history in general: after they have happened, events take on an air of inevitability. It is as if, as human beings, we have a strong leaning to look at an event, after it has happened, to say: ‘Well, I guess it just had to be that way.’

Now that we are in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory, it is all too tempting to think along similar lines. But it wasn’t that long ago that not only the US population generally, and Trump’s own party particularly, regarded him as a no-hope outsider.

Near enough every poll had Jeb Bush – with fatherly and brotherly links to two previous US Presidents being massive factors – for an easy win for the presidency, with nomination by the Republican Party being almost a given.

branding-beat-the-odds-trumpPutting all this together meant that Trump’s odds of becoming president were miserably low:

  • In October 2013, 150/1 against  
  • In June 2015, 55/1 against

Right before the election, Hilary Clinton was the pollsters’ favourite to win. Yet all these ‘expert opinions’ turned out to be wrong. So what happened?


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