The best brands can flex with the times, absorb cultural shifts and tweak their DNA to stay relevant. But, at their hearts, they have a set of values that gain appeal through deliberate repetition. These brands pull in a diverse crowd but ultimately they speak with a singular clear voice.
President Macron is a brand – and one that has been tested to its core on the streets of Paris by the gilets jaunes, or yellow vest, movement every weekend since last November. Now, as we report below, fresh poll numbers show that he has weathered the storm and is seeing his popularity rise modestly again. This gentle rebound owes much to the listening project he has conducted across France in recent weeks, where he has been widely lauded for his calm explanations and gentle atonement for any misunderstanding between the presidency and the people. Yet his understanding of brand means that he has not undermined his core values – he has just restated them with improved clarity.
Meanwhile, the gilets jaunes protesters have seen their all-inclusive brand tarnished beyond hope, having provided space in their ranks for racists and anti-Semites. They have lost all control of their image and reputation.
“Brand management” gets a bad rap: it’s too often seen as little more than PR. It’s not. It’s the ability to stay relevant while moving with the times – and remaining anchored to a core set of beliefs. Macron could yet give a masterclass in its delivery.