Learn & Network With More Than 500 Senior Executives at the 2014 DiversityInc Fall Event Series October 21 - 22 | NYC

11 CEOs Confirmed!  | Tickets Selling Quickly!

Register Now

Macy’s Brand Loyalty Falls Sharply After Trump’s Gaffes

Will Macy's Fire Donald Trump for His Racist, Sexist Comments?

Update: Donald Trump may have singlehandedly destroyed the “magic of Macy’s” right before the holiday shopping season. Widespread support for the @DumpDTrump petition caused Macy’s brand loyalty index among women to plummet 45 percent in just 10 days, according to the latest YouGov Brand Index. This time of year is the retailer’s most critical, accounting for 60 percent of Macy’s annual net income.

The report was released just two days after Macy’s Chief Marketing Officer Martine Reardon publicly stated that the company would not drop Trump as a celebrity spokesperson, despite the real-estate mogul’s history of sexist, racist rants and birther accusations against President Obama.

“We try to separate from that and we try to let the customer vote on that. … As long as that customer is still voting by wanting to buy that product, then that’s what it’s all about,” Reardon said during at Business Insider’s Ignition 2012 conference.

Macy’s originally had forecasted its sales would rise 4.2 percent during the holiday season between online sales and its 840 stores in the United States, which brought in higher-than-expected earnings last quarter, with sales increasing 24.1 percent. At the time of publication, Macy’s had not replied to DiversityInc’s request for comment on the impact the controversy may have on its sales.

Plummeting Loyalty? You’re Obviously NOT Listening to Customers

Dump Donald Trump protest leader Angelo Carusone is leading the protest and determined to hit Macy’s where it hurts—in revenue. Carusone, the activist who also led the successful large-scale advertiser boycott of Rush Limbaugh when the radio-show host called university student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute,” threatened Macy’s that he’d urge the 670,000-plus people who’ve signed the petition to cut up their Macy’s credit cards.

“The rapid drop of Macy’s’ brand reputation is, I believe, directly attributable to their insistence of defending Trump instead of listening when their customers told them that Trump’s brand of bigoted bullying is inconsistent with Macy’s,” said Carusone in a statement.  “These latest numbers illustrate what we’ve been saying all along—Macy’s should dump Trump. For brand loyalty to drop so rapidly over the course of this effort, particularly during the start of the holiday shopping season, is no coincidence, and the damage will only deepen the longer Macy’s refuses to listen to their customers concerns.”

The Dump Trump protest, which went viral on Nov. 19, is demanding that Macy’s drop real-estate mogul Donald Trump as one of its celebrity spokespersons. The petition cites Trump’s history of “unpleasant, nasty and despicable behavior,” personal attacks and sexism toward women, including his own daughter, and perpetuation of the “racially charged birther conspiracy theory” against President Obama as a severe misrepresentation of Macy’s corporate values.

Macy’s issued this response to the protest:

Macy’s marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position. Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy’s—or at any retailer, for that matter—express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company.

Additionally, Macy’s, one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies, told DiversityInc:

In our merchandise assortment, we strive to meet our customers’ expectations for unique and interesting products across a broad array of styles, categories and brands. This allows our customers to choose what they prefer. A longtime focus of Macy’s holiday advertising has been to celebrate the season’s spirit of generosity and goodwill through our ongoing “Believe” campaign, and that is the sole message of our holiday television commercials.

Our company’s philosophy of [diversity and inclusion] is well-known, and at the core of our approach to doing business. We expect our associates, our advertising and our in-store presentations, and the companies with which we do business, to mirror the diverse multicultural marketplace we serve. Macy’s is a company that respects diverse points of view and welcomes all customers into our stores and online sites.

Macy’s has featured Trump in advertisements and carries the Donald Trump Signature Collection menswear line, comprised of 65 items including dress shirts, ties and other accessories. Trump also is featured in the retailer’s 2012 holiday commercial in which he plays a skeptic opposite footage of Edmund Gwenn from the 1947 Miracle on 34th Street film.

“Macy’s says it has a strong obligation to be ‘socially responsible’ and that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Indeed. It’s time to act,” writes Carusone.

Donald Trump’s Rants: Racism & Sexism at Their Finest

Trump’s most recent zinger, which triggered the petition, occurred two weeks before the election: He offered to pay $5 million to a charity of Obama’s choice if the president released his college transcripts and passport applications, saying it “would be doing a great service to this country.” This follows previous remarks contesting the president’s credentials—including his ability to get into Harvard and Columbia—which CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer called “code for saying he got into law school because he’s Black” and “an ugly strain of racism.”

Among the 673,000-plus who are fed up with Trump’s overzealous tongue is singer and songwriter Cher. “I didnt [sic] know they sold Donald Trump’s Line! If they don’t care that they sell products from a LOUDMOUTH RACIST CRETIN, WHO’D LIE LIKE ‘HIS RUG’ TO GET SOME CHEAP PRESS ! I CANT BELIEVE MACY’S THINKS HE’S THE RIGHT ‘MAN’ 2 [sic] REPRESENT THEIR NAME !” Cher posted on Twitter (@cher), swearing to boycott Macy’s until the store cuts ties with Trump.

Trump had berated Cher as “somewhat of a loser” and “very miserable” for posting an anti–Mitt Romney tweet back in May. Other victims of Trump’s uncensored public tirades include:

  • Rosie O’Donnell and Cher: “Like @Rosie O’Donnell, a total loser!”
  • Arianna Huffington: @ariannahuff is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.
  • Barbara Walters: Barbara has become a sad figurehead dominated by a third-rate comedian … Rosie just pushed her out like a (‘pathetic’) puppet.”

Trump seems unfazed by the petition. He’s even leveraged the added publicity to plug his new fragrance:

“My fragrance—“Success”—is flying off the shelves @Macys. The perfect Christmas gift!” he tweeted.

Corporate Values & Clear Messaging

Macy’s is the latest in a series of companies to fall under public scrutiny for its corporate decisions over the last year: Boycotts impacted sales at both Lowe’s and Chick-fil-A, while Popchips was berated by social-media users for its racist ads featuring Ashton Kutcher in brownface.

In order for consumer-facing companies to be successful and genuinely connect with the marketplace, companies need to understand their customers, according to John Bryant, CEO of Kellogg Company:

“We have a very special bond with our consumers. Our goal is to help us understand our consumers so well that every day we’re in even better position to bring our best to those consumers. And to do that, we need not just a diverse organization, but an environment which is inclusive, where the ideas of that organization can come into our products, so we can create even better products for our consumers,” Bryant said at our event, where he accepted the DiversityInc Special Award for Top Company for Diversity-Management Progress. That diversity is key in meeting customer needs, increasing marketplace engagement and subsequently results in brand loyalty and increased sales.

Read more on the importance of clarity of values and consistent communication:

Ask the White Guy: Decision Making, Clarity of Values & What to Do When It Goes Horribly Wrong

Are Political Donations That Conflict With Your Diversity Policy a Shareholder Issue?

Lessons on Values From Ellen & jcpenney

 

–Stacy Straczynski

Tags:

20 Comments

  • John Howell

    I encourage Macy’s to drop Trump !

    • You are going about the wrong way. If his product is selling and Macy’s takes it off Nordstrom, or another store, will be glad to put it on their shelf and make a profit. Macy’s may take it off the shelf but the product may resurface Get the word out to the people not to buy it. Word of mouth can be a killer. Email, Tweet, Facebook, text, anyway you communicate, send the word out not to buy and why. Stop watch his show too if still on the air.

      • I agree boycott and do not buy Trump’s inferior junk made overseas. Trump is a joke that the banks had to bail out years ago to keep him in business. He thinks he is so smart but he is an inbred hatemonger who had to pay his kids way into Wharton and pay someone else to do their school work like all rich people do. His kids are not bright and they look like they are all inbred like European royalty. He has no class or taste with all of that horrible ghetto gold in his homes. Who does that except rappers? It is safe to see that class cannot be bought. I will admit his most recent wife is attractive but she only married him for his money. Who would marry him for any other reason? He is so afraid he will lose his woman to a black man. He hates Obama because the President is intelligent and did not inherit his life from a rich slumlord father. The President worked his way up from a poor life in Kansas and Hawaii with a white mother and grandparents that could not buy him a heritage like Trump purchased for his kids. Nobody really likes Trump, they just work for him to make money when their careers are so pathetic they have no where else to go. He is an embarrassment and if he had kept his mouth closed we would not have known how illiterate and dumb he really is. I used to admire him many years ago, back when he wrote The Art of the Deal. I thought he was a legitimate businessman but now I realize he is the current Barnum and Bailey huckster type. I am not sure who is the bigger liar Trump or that fat drug addict Rush Limbaugh. Do not buy his crappy clothes or anything he sells since the items will always lack quality.

      • Nordstrom will not sell brands that are made outside of the U.S., which is why they stopped selling easy spirit shoes and other items. Trump (with his cheap, gaudy brand) is not appropriate. but yes, please don’t buy anything from trump.

  • MThompson

    The solution is simple! If Macy’s chooses to keep Donald Trump as one of their spokes persons, then boycott Macy. There is no hard decisions when it comes to this jerk.

    • John Pisello

      I agree. I am on the fence about this petition. Most of the readers of this site applauded JC Penny’s’ hiring of Ellen DeGeneres, yet this caused some outrage among right-wing socially conservative groups (Family Research Council, One Million Moms, etc.), and those groups filed similar petitions. While I don’t begrudge anyone expressing their views, I do think it’s more effective to vote with our wallets.

  • Andrea Stone

    Donald Trump is an a—— and a jerk. How can he possibly talk about anyone else’s morals or status with three marriages and several bankruptcies? He is nothing more than a publicity prostitute. A fake, wanna-be-relevant idiot. I would never purchase anything with his name on it because he stands for cheap, poor quality, and no class whatsoever.

  • Trump proves himself to be nothing but a racist, sexist blowhard. Both prior comments are right. Macy’s should disassociate themselves from Trump, or face the financial devastation of a boycott.

  • The power of social media to mobilize consumer activism is just a part of what makes this a great age.

  • Yes, dump Trump.

  • Not everyone can be bought with a price. Donald Trump, we would like to place a microscope into your life, your ancesters and from what ever rock you were born under. Who cares about your satisfaction. You need deliverance. Serious. Why don’t you give $5million dollars to advance jobs in your corporations for the jobless.? Do something productive TRUMP rather then spewing poison on National TV. You are getting old and are very dried up. Better Hurry and repent. Life is not promised even to you. Can buy it. I SUPPORT YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA! YOUR ARE THE BEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE USA. Including those presidents who OWNED SLAVES, promoted racism, and participated in adultry & greed.

  • These troubles for Donald Trump are the result of his questioning President Obama’s qualifications to be President. It’s scary, the number of Obamabots that there are. I think Macy’s has the right idea. If you don’t like Donald Trump, just don’t purchase his products.

    • Excuse Me One Iam, you are mistaken. These troubles for Donald Trump are not because he is questioning President Obama’s qualifications to be President. It is because he is a beligerant hate-monger who spews lies designed to inflame and divert from the truth, not to reveal it. That is why he is a canchor. If he questioned President Obamas credentials with any intelligence, sanity or respect he wouldn’t be having these ‘troubles’ as you put it. Do you know why no one with actual clear minded intelligence has questioned Mr. Obama’s citizenship or education records or whatever Trump is screaming about this week? Because there is no story there. There is no issue there – it is all racist crazy talk and everyone with any sense knows that. If you don’t, then I’m sorry for your obvious willingness to cling to ignorance.

  • I quit shopping at Macy’s long time ago – have no idea how they made it on the Diversity List. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and Mr. Trump can have his but is that what Macy’s wants to portray.

  • Max Repplemeyer

    Angelo Carusone’s bullying of White, conservative males is clearly morally superior to Donald Trump’s right to feedom of expression. Macy’s shall be destroyed because Mr. Carusone dislikes the politics of one of their strategic partners. Saul Alinsky would be proud.

    • Trump absolutely should be allowed to enjoy the rights afforded by the many pillars of our democracy. No argument there. However, he and the companies he represents must endure the results of his exercising that right. They are not mutually exclusive. Carusone is exercising his as well, as it should be. At the end of the day maybe we take one step closer instead two steps back. One the best lessons I ever learned came from my daughter when she was about seven years old. Some unfortunate event had happened, I don’t recall the detail, but I had said something to the effect of asking why was there evil in the world. Her response was “so we know what good is”. Thanks to Mr. Trump I have an idea.

  • Sweetfire

    There is something to be said to people, organizations, and corporations that have not accepted we are living in a new age of instant collective interactions to things that matter to us. Expectations like positive human relations and the vocal affirmation that everyone has the right to be treated like a human being have become the antidote to four years of vitriol and the demeaning of those who don’t look, speak or think like us.

    November 6th was the first proof of the political will of the new demographic that includes young people, progressive men and women, informed persons of color. They have proclaimed that the Ostrich Syndrome and the desire to turn back the clock will no longer be tolerated. Instead individuals, organizations and corporations suffering from these maladies can expect to receive instant tough love or possible quarantine until cured rather than the annoying silence and disappointed head shake of the past.

    We are a nation moving forward. Avoid the dust by keeping pace.

  • It amazes me that people like Cher and Carusone feel they have the right to ostracize someone like Trump because he says similar horrible things about people they support. Isn’t this the heigth of hypocrisy?

  • Very well stated Sweetfire. The people have spoken.

Leave a Reply


Close

Receive DiversityInc Newsletters and Alerts