The Trump Dump

How did Nordstrom’s move to drop Ivanka’s line affect brand perception?

For the last couple of weeks, social media has been buzzing about Nordstrom’s announcement that it would stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s line of merchandise. Well that’s not totally true — the social media tumult has been more about Donald Trump’s reaction than it was about Nordstrom’s announcement.

When the president of the United States calls out your brand on social media, you can expect that it will have a big impact on your brand perception.
But this is a tricky one. Which side are consumers on? Did Trump’s tweet lead to a positive or negative response from Nordstrom’s core audience? What about Nordstrom’s announcement itself? How did their audience respond to that?
To find out, we used Crimson Hexagon to analyze the conversation surrounding Nordstrom and Ivanka Trump over the last week.
Note on method: We used the keywords (“Nordstrom” OR “Nordstroms”) AND (“Trump” OR “Ivanka”) to generate the posts for our analysis, and then we sorted the resulting posts into custom categories to see whether brand perception was improved or hurt by the recent merchandising decision.

Before diving into a more detailed analysis, we simply looked at the volume for Nordstrom as a whole (not isolated for the conversation around Ivanka Trump’s brand), and we did notice a spike in overall conversation, likely due to this topic.
Instead of just looking at basic positive or negative sentiment, we used Crimson’s custom categories to determine how Nordstrom’s decision about dropping Ivanka Trump’s merchandise impacted consumer perception of the brand online.



The next thing to look at after volume is volume by sentiment category over time.
We see below that conversion jumps on Feb. 3rd and then tapers off until Feb. 8th when it shows a huge spike. More than half of the volume spike is “neutral” while the rest contains a strong mix of “improved” and “worsened” perception of Nordstrom’s brand, with the “improved” category showing much more of a spike on Feb. 8 and the days following.

We then excluded the neutral conversation to isolate only the categories for improved or worsened brand perception, and the resulting data paints an interesting picture of conversation:
While both “improved” and ”worsened” spiked almost identically in the first few days following the announcement, “improved” spiked to a much greater degree from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11.
The top four hashtags of the conversation were well-balanced across #Nordstrom (neutral), #Trump (neutral), #GrabYourWallet (improved brand perception) and #BoycottNordstrom (worsened brand perception). Looking at the hashtags that suggest a non-neutral outlook, in terms of strict numbers, #GrabYourWallet has 4,000 more hashtags than #BoycottNordstrom; when we look at the top ten we see are a strong mix (#MAGA vs. #TheResistance), suggesting that the move is fairly even in improving/worsening brand perception for Nordstrom, with a possible overall net win for “improved brand perception”.
In reviewing the top retweets, we find that three of the top four retweets would align with the “improved brand perception” category:
Beyond volume and our custom-categorized sentiment that looked specifically at brand sentiment for Nordstrom, we also took a look at the audience of people engaging in this conversation.
When we look at the affinity data of people talking about Nordstrom’s decision, we see a mix of affinity groups that would align to the “improved brand perception” (The Daily Show, MSNBC) and “worsened brand perception” (Talk Radio, Fox News, Glenn Beck).
The bubbles furthest left align most strongly with those speaking in the Nordstrom/Trump conversation compared with Twitter as a whole, suggesting again a mix between the two categories, and perhaps a slight edge for “improved brand perception” given the Daily Show and MSNBC bubbles are slightly further to the left of the graph than are the other labeled bubbles.

Has Nordstrom lost or gained more customers by the decision?

A Chicago Tribune article suggests that such outrage by those looking to boycott brands like Nordstrom is usually short-lasted. In this case Nordstrom shares rose 7% following Trump’s Tweet, so it seems unlikely that Nordstrom has any need to worry about the backlash in the near-term.


Want to learn how to do this type of social media analysis yourself? Check out our free guide: The Fundamentals of Social Media Analytics

fundamentals of social media analytics

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