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Let us un­pack this board­room favourite for you

char­i­ties, like the LGBTQ re­source cen­tre Qmu­nity and the Im­mi­grant Ser­vices So­ci­ety of BC, be­cause it made peo­ple feel he wasn't just prof­it­ing off a dis­as­ter, he notes. “We had a tiny hand­ful of an­gry Trump sup­port­ers get mad and threaten to boy­cott the place,” Ka­palka says. “I think one wrote us a bad Yelp re­view com­plain­ing we `pan­dered to mi­nori­ties worse than Tru­dope.'”

Stan­dard re­tail gospel rec­om­mends avoid­ing pol­i­tics. Why alien­ate cus­tomers? Nord­strom Inc. in­sisted that its re­cent de­ci­sion to drop Ivanka Trump's cloth­ing line was purely a busi­ness de­ci­sion driven by slow sales. But it still re­flects the re­al­ity that po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion made the Trump name anath­ema to many Nord­strom shop­pers.

A Star­bucks Corp. pol­icy to hire 10,000 im­mi­grants in­spired an on­line boy­cott drive. But Car­reen Win­ters of PR firm MWWPR sug­gested that sup­port­ers prob­a­bly weren't no-fat-latte drinkers any­way. “Peo­ple talk­ing about a boy­cott and an ac­tual boy­cott that at­tacks your busi­ness are two different things,” Win­ters told Mar­ketwatch.

Still, it's a tricky en­vi­ron­ment when a Bud­weiser ad that tells the story of its im­mi­grant founder can in­spire a “Boy­cott Bud­weiser” hash­tag. Ap­par­ently some Trump sup­port­ers were sur­prised to dis­cover that none of the Pil­grims were named Bud­weiser. Do they know where pizza came from?

Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc. boss Travis Kalan­ick re­versed a de­ci­sion to join Trump's team of eco­nomic ad­vis­ers when #Dele­teu­ber gained on­line trac- tion. “As the ker­fuf­fle with Nord­strom shows, it's pretty tough to avoid get­ting sucked in one way or the other,” Ka­palka says.

As a rule, con­nect­ing a brand to pol­i­tics is risky, says David Ian Gray, founder of Dig360 Con­sult­ing Ltd., a Van­cou­ver-based re­tail mar­ket re­search firm. “That said, if a re­tailer or brand re­ally knows their cus­tomer base is pre­dom­i­nantly po­lit­i­cal with an aligned point of view, then per­haps it is ac­tu­ally on-brand to make a state­ment.”

Ka­palka un­der­stands his clien­tele. “I know some bar own­ers in places like Florida,” he says. “They said they would have been cru­ci­fied for pulling some­thing like this. We felt pretty sure that Van­cou­ver was not a strongly proTrump de­mo­graphic.”

Gray be­lieves many of th­ese con­tro­ver­sies have to do with the na­ture of Trump him­self—a brand turned pres­i­dent. “Trump is forc­ing busi­ness to rec­on­cile op­pos­ing is­sues in a way they have never pre­vi­ously ex­pe­ri­enced” he says. “Nord­strom was pulled into the fray be­cause the Trumps were mar­ket­ing them­selves through the store, both be­fore and af­ter the elec­tion....[t]he emo­tional en­ergy of con­sumers is be­ing pulled one way or an­other by Trump.”

As for Storm Crow, it may not be done mess­ing with the menu. “De­pend­ing how crazy things get, I'd like to in­tro­duce a Steve Ban­non cock­tail, con­sist­ing of may­on­naise, whiskey and bro­ken blood ves­sels,” Ka­palka muses. “But we're still work­ing on the recipe.”

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