Since President-elect Donald Trump nominated Rex Tillerson, Steven Mnuchin, and Andrew Puzder for top cabinet positions, consumer perception of their current or former corporations dropped significantly.
YouGov BrandIndex measured Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s with its Buzz score, asking respondents: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"
A Buzz score can range from -100 to 100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position.
Goldman Sachs’s consumer perception dropped 36% from -9.5 at the end of November to its current -13.5, its lowest point in several months. Treasury Secretary nominee Mnuchin was formerly a partner and senior manager who left in 2002 to run a series of hedge funds. Recently, Trump named Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser.
Right after CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder was nominated for Labor Secretary on December 8th, both of its fast food chains -- Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. – lost perception ground. For the past two weeks, Carl’s Jr. dropped from its low positive levels down to a neutral zero score, its lowest mark since October 2012, while Hardee’s saw its perception levels cut in half.
ExxonMobil began sliding around the same time as the CKE restaurants, when CEO Rex Tillerson's name was first being floated around in the press as Secretary of State, which he eventually received on December 12th. In the past two weeks, ExxonMobil’s perception score dropped from 3 to 1.
Not surprisingly, each brand was pulled down far more by sinking scores from Democratic-affiliated consumers than Republican consumers, which went either neutral or mildly positive.