Page 1

Brandon Epstein

Richard Best


BRAND AUDIT BU.450.705.82

Fred Katz

Erik Ranson




Brand Audit

The Kennedy family, sometimes JOSEPH P. KENNEDY SR. In addition to amassing an estimated $300 million (over $1 billion today), Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. served several political appointments including US Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Chairman of the SEC.

Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.

referred to as “America’s Royal Family,” has been a prominent social and political family for almost one hundred years. Since 1947, when John F. Kennedy (JFK) first became a Congressman, a member of the Kennedy family has been in an elected office in our nation’s capital (with brief exceptions in 2012 and one month in 1959). While being known predominantly as a political family, the Kennedy’s are also known for their good looks, wealth, and sadly, numerous tragedies.

The Kennedy family, as we know it, started with Irish-American patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and matriarch Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Joe Kennedy was friendly with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was the nation’s first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Kennedys had nine children, among them three very prominent men in 20th century American political history. JFK, Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), and Ted Kennedy all spent time in the Senate through the middle and late 1900s. JFK was the 35th president of the United States and RFK was the US Attorney General. To say that the Kennedy family had a part in shaping American politics would be a drastic understatement. The




developed a brand and image away from politics. JFK and RFK were young, attractive men with very bright futures. Sadly, both men were assassinated early in their lives. In addition to the assassinations, three members of the family were killed in plane crashes while Ted Kennedy played the central role in the controversial Chappaquiddick incident (a young lady in his car died after Kennedy drove the vehicle off a bridge). While tragedy seems a common role in the family, so was prosperity. Amongst the immediate family were several senators, congressmen, ambassadors, and the founder of the Special Olympics. The Kennedys were known to be very successful people and, even with the unspeakable tragedies that affected the family, they continue to have an aura and mystique about them that is difficult to match amongst influential American families. Political, attractive, affluent, and very intelligent, the family has been synonymous with American politics for over a quarter of the nation’s existence.


Brief History



1960 presidential election results showing John F. Kennedy’s 16% lead over Nixon.

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." Famous quote from JFK's 1960 inauguration speech

15.9% 42.9% 14.3%



kennedy Roosevelt Rockefeller BUSH



Brand Audit

Survey results

If a member of the Kennedy family ran for office, how likely would you consider voting for them?

Your district is voting for a new Representative. Please vote for your candidate from the following options:

[ ] Bush [ ] Kennedy [ ] Roosevelt [ ] Rockefeller

44.0% of the total survey population responded that they would be ‘Moderately Likely” to vote a Kennedy

While the 42.9% overall win is impressive, there are other substantial statistics found when breaking down the survey data by gender, race and age group. Among the correlations found was the three primary demographics with a higher desirability for the Kennedy family brand.

22.0% voted that they would be “Slightly Likely” to vote for a Kennedy.

20.0% of the participants stated that they would “Not Be Likely At All” to vote a Kennedy into office.

14.0% of survey participants stated they would be “Strongly Likely” to vote for a Kennedy should they decide to run for office.


AGES 26 - 45



Over 80% of all participants indicated that they would vote for a Kennedy in the future.


were found when breaking down the survey data by gender, race, and age. The data shows that 66.7% of all ethnicities surveyed and 42.1% of women would vote for the Kennedy candidate. The survey data also provided an interesting pattern in separate age groups. While 83.3% of the votes for respondents between the ages of 1825 went to the Roosevelt candidate, all remaining votes went to Kennedy For ages 26-45, there While the 42.9% overall win (16.7%). was also a landslide victory; seems impressive, even 45.7% of the ballets went for more substantial statistics a survey question requiring individuals to vote for a local representative based off of only their last name resulted in a 42.9% win for the Kennedy candidate. Alternatives options, included Bush, Rockefeller, and Roosevelt, did not garner more than 20% each. This landslide victory reflects a very positive brand association with the Kennedy family’s political brand.



Kennedy, with Bush being the runner up at 20%. The trend becomes downward sloping in the higher age groups, and though Kennedy was the victor, it was with only an 11% margin over the runner up, collecting 33.3% of the total vote.

The responses seem to suggest positive awareness of the Kennedy family brand. Interestingly, the results do not suggest an anchoring bias of the participants. This would have been evident if the majority of the respondents voted for Bush, whose brand name was more recently promoted in the public domain.

This trend was also found when participants were asked to rank who they thought was the best United States presidents. Ronald Reagan came in first, Franklin D. Roosevelt came in second and John F. Kennedy (JFK) in at a close third. Though Kennedy came in at third, the victory was marginal. Considering the initial response to the Kennedy name was much more positive, these results suggest that JFK was only partially responsible for the overall Kennedy brand perception. | FLEXIBLE | JANUARY

[ Brand Attributes ]


What is a brand? According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a “name, term, sign,

symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competition.” When examining the brand of a person or a group of persons, it is important to understand the brand personality as well. The brand personality refers to the human characteristics or traits that can be attributed to a brand. Sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness are five of the prominent human characteristics that make up a brand’s personality. In order to identify what the populace perceives as the brand personality of the Kennedy family, we examine five key attributes (or group of attributes) that are closely tied to the Kennedy brand.

Intelligent, Famous, Youthful

"In his first year as President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy showed qualities that made him a promising leader…Those Among the many attributes associated have same qualities, if developed further, may with the Kennedy family brand is that make him a great President." (TIME ,1962) of educational prowess, distinguished fame and youthful vibrancy (sincerity and sophistication). These defining attributes were described by approximately 20% of the survey population. As the survey suggests, these attributes have deep ties to the family brand and its rich history over the past 100 years.

Educational prowess is a trait often associated with Ivy League educations. It is no surprise that the family history is rich in graduates from distinguished colleges including Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Yale, and most notably, Harvard University. Not only did Joseph Sr. obtain a Harvard degree, but so too did each of his four sons, Joseph Jr., John, Robert and Ted. So prominent is the family’s mark on politics and education that in 1968, Harvard named its School of Government after John F. Kennedy. This strategic alliance permanently enriched the brand association of not only the Kennedy family, but also the prestige of Harvard University’s educational program. The co-branding of both the school and the family lend prestige to the school’s educational offerings, as well as credibility and respect to the Kennedy family.

This minor success was a major victory at winning the hearts and minds of the American people. With the validation of such a prominent publication, the Kennedy brand obtained even greater political influence, and instilled a sense of integrity and loyalty to the name while further increasing the family’s fame. Youthful vibrancy is not a characteristic held by any one member of the family. Although JFK was the youngest elected president in United States history, he is not the only Kennedy associated with youth or vivacious good looks. Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) was a good-looking man and, in 1988, at the age of 27, People Magazine named John F. Kennedy, Jr. “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Although health is a commonly associated attribute with the Kennedy brand, in many cases it is far from the truth. It was a closely guarded secret that John F. Kennedy suffered from the deadly Addison disease, had severe back problems, and had been given his last rites three times. These, as well as a host of other issues, contributed to more than thirty-five hospitalizations over his lifetime. While in the Presidential Office, Most notably among the Kennedy JFK was on a heavy regime of drugs to brand attributes is the distinguished combat his medical problems including: fame of the family. This is, in part, due to the political and social successes “500 milligrams of vitamin C twice daily; throughout the family’s history. In 1961, 10 milligrams of hydrocortisone daily; 2.5 after only one year into his presidency, milligrams of prednisone twice daily; 10 Time Magazine named John F. Kennedy milligrams of methyltestosterone daily; “Person of the Year” stating; 25 micrograms of liothyronine twice daily; 0.1 milligrams fludrocortisone

daily; and diphenoxylate hydrochloride and atropine sulfate, two tablets as needed.” (LA Times, 2009) The family’s past has a deep history of both physical and mental illness. Eunice Kennedy, John’s younger sister, also suffered from Addison’s disease. JFK Jr. suffered from a thyroid disease called Graves’s, and John’s sister Rosemary received a prefrontal lobotomy after being diagnosed as psychologically unstable. These and many more were closely guarded secrets of the Kennedy family.

Liberal, Powerful, Political

With fame, intelligence, and good looks, also came three very powerful political careers (competence). JFK (7), RFK (3), and Ted Kennedy (47) spent a combined 57 years in the United States Senate. In addition to senatorial careers, JFK was the 35th president of the US and his brother RFK acted as his Attorney General. Memorability and likeability are two brand elements that exemplified what the political service of the three Kennedy men brought to the family name. Although other Kennedys had very successful careers inside and outside politics, JFK, RFK, and Ted are the three predominant Kennedys that drive this particular group of attributes. Liberalism and prominence in the Democratic Party are closely tied to the Kennedy name as well. Conservatives may not agree with everything the Kennedys stood for politically, however

they were highly respected by both parties. Ted Kennedy is known as one of the most bipartisan senators in recent history (US News, 2009). RFK was known by many to be one of the first prominent civil rights activists while acting as the Attorney General. 78% of respondents stated they agree the Kennedys supported civil rights, with only 2% stating they disagree (20% were neutral). 60% of respondents stated they believe the Kennedys were an icon of freedom worldwide. These are extremely powerful statements to make regarding a family name. To borrow from the brand value chain, the evidence of relevance, distinctiveness, and consistency clearly play a role in a program multiplier. This gives the Kennedys a greater presence in customer mindset and market performance (to be discussed later).

Without closely guarding these ailments, and actively ensuring that the family and its politically engaged members were seen as healthy and vibrant, the family may not be what it is today. It is always important to ensure the brand’s success, even in times of turmoil. Brand management, particularly in trying times, is a hallmark of the Kennedy family.

John F. Kennedy Jr. - People Magazines 1988 "Sexiest Man Alive"




BRAND ATTRIBUTES Controversy, Scandal, Womanizing As much as the Kennedys are known for their fame, good looks, and political influence, they are also associated with negative descriptors such as controversial, scandalous, womanizing, or “players” as well.

[+] The Kennedy's


Over 19% of respondents gave attributes that fell in to this category. Two of the largest presidential controversies in history, the Bay of Pigs Invasion and Cuban Missile Crisis, occurred during JFK’s presidency. In addition, RFK’s concurrent term at Attorney General saw an 800% increase in convictions against organized crime figures. All of these events were extremely controversial

at the time, however, are generally viewed favorably today. One of the purposes of a brand is to lend credibility. In these examples, the Kennedys were able to use both their name and their political position to influence a greater change and gain personal benefit. Without RFK’s success as Attorney General, which led to a successful Senatorial run, he may have never run for president. Another major controversy surrounding the Kennedys is Ted’s involvement in the Chappaquiddick Incident. One night after a party, Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, killing the other passenger in the car. While there are different versions of the story, Kennedy was found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident for which he received a suspended sentence. Many believe that, without the Kennedy brand name standing behind him, the penalties would have been far harsher. The final major point of discussion within this group of attributes is the

womanizing nature of the Kennedys. With JFK in particular, extramarital affairs were commonplace. In addition to the political controversies and the Chappaquiddick Incident, the Kennedy name helped the individual brothers avoid major negative press with this potentially devastating personal story. By having the general public place more value with the good that the family did as opposed to the bad, the brand was able to continue to prosper. The brand occupied a distinct place in many people’s minds, which remained unaffected through the various indiscretions certain members of the Kennedy family made.

Marilyn Monroe, along with many others, were known to have had an affair with both John and Robert Kennedy.

Wealth, Affluence, Prestige Another strong brand attribute of the Kennedys was wealth and money. Nearly 15% of all survey takers responded with the words “money” or “wealth” when the name Kennedy was brought up. The family’s initial fortune was made with Joseph Kennedy Sr.’s business dealings in the stock market (illegal insider trading) as well as bootlegging during the prohibition era. When Fortune magazine published its first list of the richest people in the United States in 1957, it placed him in the $200–$400 million band ($1.65 billion–$3.31 billion today), meaning that it estimated him to be between the ninth and sixteenth richest person in the United States at that time(Fortune, 1957). By 1990, Forbes projected the personal wealth had grown to $850 million, carefully protected in trust funds and ultra-conservative investments doled out periodically in small checks to family members (Staff, 2012)

The family goes to great lengths to keep the actual wealth of the family away from public scrutiny. Although $850 million is no pittance, the families wealth judged against its peers no longer stands out. It is fair to say that with an estimated $850 million in net worth, it would not even crack the Forbes 400 list today. It is interesting that wealth and money are still attributes that are perceived to be a strong brand attribute of the Kennedys, but in reality is not really so.

The Kennedy half dollar, comprised of 90% silver, has a face value of 50 cents. However, much like the family brand, its present worth is much higher. Many associate wealth with power and prestige,

which after culling through the data of the survey, the Kennedy family has in spades. Some of the branding strategies the Kennedys have employed are to associate their brand with important foundations, buildings and other public works. If you type the word Kennedy into a Google search, the first three options are not one individual or a family member, but The Kennedy Center (theater for the performing arts), Kennedy Krieger Hospital (institute dedicated to helping children and adolescents with disorders of the brain) and the Kennedy Space Flight Center. This simple test shows that the name Kennedy is bigger than any one family member, and has in fact become a brand more associated with doing good works than any one specific individual.

Tragedy, Death The Kennedy brand also signifies another group of traits that is not so positive. Respondents overwhelming identified the Kennedy name with tragedy and death. It is an interesting dichotomy that, along with wealth and privilege comes tragedy and death. The "Kennedy Curse" has come to describe the way in which many members of the Kennedy family have tragically died from unnatural or unfortunate causes. Of the nine Kennedy siblings of Joseph Kennedy’s brood, seven have died from tragic causes (Dallek, 2003). Joseph Kennedy, Jr. died while serving in the Navy during World War II; the eldest son had volunteered for a top secret,

highly dangerous raid and his plane exploded midflight. John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated – JFK midway through his first term in the oval office, and RFK right before a presumptive Democratic nomination for the presidency. Rosemary Kennedy was born with learning disabilities and received an early lobotomy in 1941, leaving her permanently incapacitated. Moreover, many of the children of the Kennedy siblings have also died because of tragic causes (Kenney, 2000). Although sad and tragic to have so many lives cut down in their prime, it adds some mystique to the legend of the Kennedys in the public’s eye. JFK was assassinated in 1963. The US had just started to ramp up its engagement in Vietnam and his extramarital affairs had been kept out of the press so far. If JFK had been able to finish out his presidency some would wonder what his legacy would have been. Creating tragedy is certainly not a brand strategy, but it lends itself to “what could have been” and massive press coverage resulting in more brand awareness. In addition, with so many passing away at a young age it keeps the brand image of the Kennedy’s intact with so few wanting to speak ill of the dead.




94.0% MARKET RESULTS What is the importance of brands to consumers? In this case, what is the appeal of the Kennedys to voters? The importance of a brand, in politics and marketing, is that it is a risk reducer, search cost reducer, and signal of quality. As we can tell from our survey, the name Kennedy alone would receive 42.9% of the votes against other strong political brands (Roosevelt, Rockefeller and Bush). If the Kennedy name would garner nearly half the votes against well-known names, imagine what would happen in an election if it were a Kennedy running against a Smith, Miller and Johnson. A list of election results that involved the Kennedy family was compiled and the results were quite compelling for the brand (see Appendix A). The Kennedy family’s first foray into politics dates back to the post-reconstruction era in the United States, led off by Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy winning all nine elections he was involved in both the State House and Sen-

ate. JFK then followed him in to politics after returning from World War II to win three terms in the House, one in the senate, and the presidency. Ted Kennedy (nine consecutive terms in the Senate representing MA) and RFK (one term in the Senate representing NY) followed those victories up with their own winning Senate elections. Joseph P. Kennedy II (six consecutive terms in the House representing MA) and Patrick J. Kennedy (six consecutive terms in the House representing RI and two terms in the State House) continued the Kennedys winning ways through the 1980s. Patrick Kennedy, at the time of his first election, was only 21 years old. Even though he had numerous run-ins with the law – including drugs, DWI’s and rape accusations – he still contin- ued to get re-elected. Out of the 49 elections the Kennedy’s have run in, they have won 46, resulting in an overall winning percentage of 94%. The three elections they lost involved Sargent Shriver, a Kennedy who did not

use the Kennedy last name, and Kathleen {Kennedy} Townsend, who did not use her maiden name in the first election she ran in and lost. When Kathleen then subsequently added the Kennedy name back, she went on to won the next two of three elections she ran in. It pays to be a Kennedy! The Kennedy family needs to continue to manage their brand if they want to continue their successful run in politics. With Ted Kennedy passing away nearly four years ago, Joseph Kennedy II has once again made the Kennedy name ring in the hallowed halls of Congress. He was elected in 2012 to the House to represent the State of Massachusetts.


1.Failure to fully 4.Failure to be patient with 7.Failure to understand understand the meaning of the brand the complexity of brand the brand: equity measurement and The family needs to stay management: The family needs to understand what the name Kennedy has come to represent. To the voting public, Kennedy represents “American Royalty” and all that entails wealth, success and politics.

2.Failure to live up to the brand promise:

true to who they are and not shift because of momentary changes in the political landscape (i.e. Tea Party or Blue Dog Democrat’s popularity).

The family needs to remember that they receive their power from the people in an elected office. They should never act “holier than holy” and they need to continue to understand that they serve at the pleasure of the voting public.


5.Failure to adequately control the brand:

Although there have been some lapses in judgment by family members, the brand has carried them through. They must continue to try to avoid situations that could be scandalous and potentially harmful to the brand.

The family has been come to be known as a supporter of the common man and a proponent of the underdog. Civil rights, health care, environmental protection and social programs have all been an integral part to properly of the political platform 6.Failure the family espouses. They balance consistency and must continue represent change with the brand: their ideals that they have While being true to the become known for. brand is important, knowing 3.Failure to adequately when the political opinions have evolved is important support the brand: to stay relevant. With Ted’s death four years ago and only one Kennedy namesake in political office, they need to be cognizant of the adage “out of sight out of mind.” The Kennedys must continue to have family members in the public eye if they want to continue to build their brand equity.

Thank You Dallek, Robert (2003). An Unfinished Life: Smith, Richard Austin (November John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963. Boston, 1, 1957). "The Fifty-Million-Dollar Man, MA: Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 978-0- (sidebar:"America's Biggest For 316-17238-7. tunes")". Fortune. Kenney, Charles (2000). John F. Kennedy: Staff. Consumer Price Index (estimate) The Presidential Portfolio. Public A 1800–2012. Federal Reserve Bank ffairs. ISBN 978-1-891620-36-2. of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 22, 2013. John F. Kennedy: 1961 - Person of the Year: A Photo History - TIME. (n.d.). Break Ted Kennedy: Late Senator Sought Biparti ing News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, sanship - US News and World Report. News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - (n.d.). US News & World Report | News March 1, 2013. & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hos pitals, and more. Retrieved March 3, 2013. John F. Kennedy's Addison's disease was probably caused by rare autoimmune disease - Los Angeles Times. (n.d.). Featured Articles From The Los Angles Times. Retrieved February 27, 2013.


deadly sins



Brandon Epstein

Richard Best

Erik Ranson

Brand Audit

Strategic Brand Management BU.450.705.82 Fred Katz March 12th, 2013


Kennedy Brand Audit  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you