When Did Rubio Fail? And the Need for Consistent Behavior


Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Job 12:11

It is not fair. Trump was vulgar. Rubio was vulgar. Trump’s numbers go up. Rubio is down. Why?

The answer is in the marketing of the candidates. Trump is consistent with his branding of being brash. Rubio was inconsistent with his Altar Boy Goodness.

The sales maxim reminds us that a confused mind always says “no.” Marketing must be consistent. And if there is to be any surprise — it should delight and not complicate. The wrong combination of behavior and expectation can leave a bad taste.

Your (much younger) Business Professor learned this as a teenager cooking up trouble in a candy factory.

Mixed Messages…

Read the article here => https://stream.org/when-did-rubio-fail/

Then comment at the bottom of this page.


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28 Responses

  1. Jack Yoest says:

    This article is required reading for my classes at The Catholic University of America

    • Philip Caliendo says:

      The article is very interesting about consistency. I liked your comments about Trump and Rubio and how it is relevant in today’s society. It gave great insight into how consistency can win. Although, Trump was inconsistent he can always be known to be inconsistent. It was interesting that Rubio lost because he was inconsistent. I reflect on how businesses operate and how consistency makes a big difference in restaurants. If you are in the fast-food industry, consistency is key. Whatever restaurant you have in one location needs to have the same food and texture in the next location. I recently watched a show called The Food That Built America. Through the show is that each of their franchise’s big contributions is consistency. The way McDonald’s created the Big Mac back in the 60s is still the same as the Big Mac in 2023. I am sure that there were other smaller restaurants that were attempting to compete with McDonald’s. The reasons why those restaurants did not win could be because of their inconsistencies with the other restaurants. Relating back to politics, as you start your journey to attempt to run you should know that if you want to win consistently is the way to go.

  2. Blanca Zelaya says:

    Great article, Professor Yoest! I really enjoyed how you mentioned, “Marketing must be consistent in the introduction,” which is very precise. If a marketing technique changes suddenly, it affects the overall result differently. I also enjoyed the part of the article when you mention the scenario of the salt-water taffy and its effect on sales. While the taffy tasted terrible, you were able to analyze and determine different ways to fix the problem. The more straightforward and simple something is, the easier it is to get somebody interested in your product. This is also a supported statement considering you mention “.. the simple is easy to understand and to sell.” It is much more interesting to listen to something simple but very informative because it will sell itself. Overall it was interesting to learn that these same marketing methods are used in politics; in this case, you had mentioned Rubio and Trump.

  3. Joe Hickey says:

    This article shows what can happen when you present yourself inconsistently and how it can greatly affect your standing. In the example Rubio was a politician known for his “Altar Boy Goodness” who was competing against Donald Trump known for playing by his own rules and being overall bold and brash. Rubio decided to try something different and behave more like Trump and to his dismay it ended up hindering him far more than assisting him. People were supporting him because of his unique disposition and once he began acting like Trump he not only failed to bring in new people to his side but also caused a lot of people on his side to leave. Similarly with the taffy example people expected one flavor when they saw the color of the candy however were surprisingly greeted with a drastically different flavor than anticipated which was off-putting to the customer causing them to not be interested in the product. In the marketing world it is important to constantly adapt and evolve to your environment however it is important to do so while staying consistent and true to your brand. Contradictions make people think and the more people think about a product the less likely they are to make a purchase because they are too busy focusing on the negative rather than the positive.

  4. Isabelle Derham says:

    It is important to be consistent in marketing otherwise it leads consumers to overthink and be confused. Rubio was known for being “predictable, consistent, virtuous and polite.” This was his brand. However, Rubio then decided to change his brand to become more like Trump’s which led his branding to be inconsistent and eventually hurt his numbers. Rubio’s numbers went down, however Trump’s numbers went up. This shows how important it is to have a consistent branding. Even though Trump’s marketing was profane and insulting, it was still consistent and people value a known and predictable brand. When Rubio decided to change his brand to be more like Trump’s people became confused with Rubio. This situation was similar to the taffy example. People expected a certain flavor when they saw the color of the taffy, but then they were surprised when it tasted like a different flavor. As a result, they thought the taffy tasted horrible. This shows how inconsistent branding can be harmful because if people remember one brand and then the brand changes the consumers will be confused and not like the brand anymore. It is important in marketing to know your audience and come up with a brand that is consistent. Brand consistency helps the audience to know who you are and it creates trust between the producer and the consumer.

  5. Jack McGorry says:

    This article shows how when it comes to marketing yourself you must always be consistent. This means that regardless of your views you would rather appeal to people as someone with consistent views. The article tells how Marco Rubio was liked when he was his normal self and when he choose to be more like Donald Trump Rubio’s approval rating went down a large amount. The same is true for companies people want what they are used to when regarding companies and what they offer and how they operate. The best example is if Chick-Fil-a started selling cheeseburgers and opening on Sundays to compete with McDonald’s this would most likely upset consistent Chick-Fil-a customers because it is not the same restaurant they are used to. The best idea is to be consistent and stick to your core values as a company and try not to stray from them just to compete with other companies because like Rubio it could just end up hurting you more in the long run.

  6. James Bevevino says:

    The main takeaway from this article is that when marketing anything it is important to stay consistent. Whether you are marketing yourself or a product your target audience is going to want what they expected. I have not really thought about this relationship with consistency and marketing, but it makes sense now. When you think of a company or a product there is always an expectation of what you will receive and if it does not meet your expectations then you will certainly be let down and not come back for seconds. One phrase that stood out to me was that simple sells. It is not simple when a company goes off-script. This is confusing to customers and will not boost sales or interest in the market. Not only is it important to be consistent as a company but it is important to consistent as a person. I have heard that great leaders are always consistent in how they act. Once a person acts out of character they will lose their following. People like a person for who they are and do not want them to change. If a person changes, especially for the worst then it will create a loss of a following.

  7. Gerardo Gonzalez says:

    “Marketing must be consistent in the introduction,” that is the biggest point I grasped from this article, I thought it was a great point. When a marketing technique is abruptly changed, the total result is affected in a different way. I really like the section of the post when you discuss the salt-water taffy scenario and its impact on sales. While the taffy was unpleasant to eat, you were able to assess the situation and come up with a number of solutions. The easier it is to get someone interested in your goods, the more plain and basic it is. This is further backed up by the fact that you say, “…the uncomplicated is easy to comprehend and sell.” Listening to something basic but incredibly instructive is far more engaging since it will sell itself. Overall, it was fascinating to learn that these same marketing techniques are employed in politics; you highlighted Rubio and Trump in this situation.

  8. Sammy Saada says:

    The most important message from this article is that consistency is key. Engaging with your audience and continuously making the people that engage with your business feel recognized is a great way for a successful business. As society has many opinions and not everyone will always agree with your business’s values and morals it is important to show up everyday and keep consistent. People will gain more respect for the company. Society will always have an opinion on what you could do better… and maybe you do listen to society. But then what? You’re not staying true to your business. People will gain more respect for the company by keeping the consistency and holding themselves accountable! A good piece of advice for companies is to focus on the positive encouragement from the public rather than the negative because the negative will make it way harder to focus on your goals and accomplishments.

  9. Cate O'Grady says:

    Hello Professor Yoest! This is an incredible interesting article and I had never thought about presidential candidates through the lens of marketing. I guess that’s the point of this class though isn’t it. I remember when this happened in the 2016 presidential election and how confused I was watching Rubio stoop down to Trump’s level. I guess when you’re at the bottom you can only go up. Trump’s personality is truly consistent and it makes sense that Rubio’s fall from grace was taken so poorly. It was out of character and, as you said, consistency is key. Something to remember going forward in my career in marketing is simples sells. This sounds bad but people don’t want to think to hard when purchasing and, as I’m getting older, I’m learning you’re always buying something.

  10. Abdullah Alghoraiyr says:

    An interesting article about inconsistency and consistency in marketing as well politics. Consistent people are the people who succeed in politics and the right messages. Having consistency in marketing so that customers feel the same when seeing the brand. Inconsistency marketing leads to mixed messages for the audience and the regular customers. It raises questions about the brand and the business. For instance, why did they change the voice of the commercial? It kills the pattern and creates a flaw in the brand. So does in politics, in campaigns, there is only one who speaks for the candidate. If they keep changing the person who speaks for the campaign, the audience will acknowledge this candidate has unusable influence and behavior. It undermines the trust between the audience and the campaign. Likewise with marketing, it builds trust for the brand and increases revenue. The article, tells us that building brand recognition is more important than being consistent. I believe overthinking is precedence that allows us to have the power of being thinking control. There is a Netflix movie that talks about how the Trump campaign rigged the election, it is called “The Great Hack.” It was in the UK, and it started the first election when Trump ran for president. I think this a good movie for marketing students who want to learn how they use marketing strategies and what skills they used.

  11. Joseph Savino says:

    Thanks for the insightful and informative article! Before reading this article, I had little knowledge of Marco Rubio and was prompted to do a little research on him after having read it. I find it interesting that he went off his brand to attack Donald Trump, and the article left me wondering if Rubio’s attack was born of emotion or if one of his staff told Rubio to break from his brand. If it is the former, Rubio definitely isn’t the best leader, to begin with, seeing as he has trouble controlling his emotions under pressure. If it is the former, I would hope that Rubio’s staff learned from the mistake or Rubio should find new staff. I completely agree with the fact that mixed messages can hurt a companies brand. For example, Olds Mobile tried to rebrand itself as not just a car for seniors but as a car that could be driven by young people too. This pivot proved highly unprofitable for the brand and subsequently, the brand was shuttered when GM faced bankruptcy. I was also left wondering if your experiment regarding the saltwater taffy is a common part of food science. I am always hearing how certain brands make their logos and packaging certain colors in order to make you hungry.

  12. Brian Schurr says:

    Marco Rubio’s campaign against Donald Trump in 2020 was a prime example of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. When Rubio changed his campaign from predictable and virtuous, he lost followers due to his branding issues. What attracts the buyer the most in marketing is consistency, and these buyers ultimately decide to buy a product or service that meets their needs and expectations. When there is fear, customers do not know what to expect, and this causes doubt in the product. Although Donald Trump is very unvirtuous at times, his brand as the egocentric, manipulative, and conceited businessman made him more popular than Rubio. Since voters know that Donald is consistent in his image, they also feel confident about Trump’s proposals. Likewise, since there is no faith in Rubio’s image, voters do not trust his campaign and proposals. This scenario is the same in the business sector, as companies that have a clear and concise marketing scheme always perform better than the ones that are inconsistent. For example, McDonalds, the fast food capital of the world, is consistent in their image with convenience and good service. However, Burger King usually changes their marketing strategy, and it is known for bad service and less quality food than McDonalds. This is why McDonalds always performs better than Burger King, because consumers always know what to expect at McDonalds as opposed to Burger King.

  13. Cecilia Craig says:

    This was an interesting take on the downfall of the Rubio campaign. Breaking away from your established brand is risky, and not something politicians should do once they are well-established on the campaign trail. Sure, rebranding is wise for some, but it’s an endeavor that, in order to be successful, requires a lot of time and planning. It’s not something that happens spur of the moment, with weak planning and hasty implementation. At the end of the day, Rubio compromised on the personal values that his “brand” held so dear. You lose those who are staunch supporters of your manifesto, being that they want someone who lives and dies by their ideal rule of life, and you drive those on the fence over on the other side out of confusion and distaste for the inauthentic. Trump’s unpredictable nature was predictable. Rubio’s predictable nature was predictable. Until it wasn’t. People don’t like when you break out of the mental box they put you in. Yet, there is an exception. Science has shown that most human brains love surprises. But this refers to pleasant surprises. Rubio’s surprise was not pleasant, leading to the end.

  14. Bailey Reilly says:

    The main message of this post reflects the primary goal of marketing by being simple and to the point: Marketing for a product (or a person in the case of Trump vs Rubio) should be positive, easy to digest, and unwavering. Consumers do not like any sort of confusion with whatever, or whomever, they invest their time and money into. They appreciate simple messages that are consistent with what is promised. They do not appreciate surprises, especially negative ones. As the article asserted, consumers found that positive changes were easier to digest than negative changes. With negative changes, consumers might feel betrayed and jipped out of what they were originally promised. This is why voters appreciated Trump more than Rubio. Trump was unwavering in his disposition. What was said about him, both positive and negative, was true. Rubio, on the other hand, tried to show a false identity and voters were surprised when his identity was not what was portrayed by his political team. This is where the marketing tactic of FUD comes in because consumers will consistently choose what has a stable “track record” over that that is uncertain and untrustworthy.

  15. Jack Dee says:

    The examples provided in this article show us that consistency is key. When people are used to one thing and they see an unexpected nuance this can lead to distrust. Rubio came across as an actor when he was losing popularity to Trump and he switched from his calm and honest approach to his attack. It showed people who liked his character for the way he was that it may be just an act. This article reminds me of a situation that many of my peers may be able to relate to. In 2012, Taylor Swift released her first pop album. Prior to this she was a dominant country artist that introduced an entirely new audience to country. When her pop album “Red” came out people were furious and it turned fans away from her for years. Her change of pace was unexpected and confusing, leading people to hate it. Now, 10 years later, she re-released the album as a bunch of remastered songs and it is one of her most popular albums to date with many of the songs being some of her most popular of all time. I find this interesting because her brand change although unexpected ended up being a huge success because she was consistent in her change, but the initial backlash shows me how important marketing is and that consistency is key. Rubio’s situation is somewhat the same. He strayed from his brand but unlike Taylor Swift, he didn’t have 10 years to make up for it, causing him to lose the race.

  16. Dashaun Dunmeyer says:

    In the article, “When Did Rubio Fail” it unveils that in the marketing of candidates it’s essential to be consistent with your branding in order to gain one’s trust. You cannot brand yourself on being respectful one day and vulgar the next day because it sends mixed messages. During the 2016 Presidential Campaign, Mark Rubio prided himself on being very respectful and kind as a candidate, but suddenly began to act vulgarly like Donald Trump causing his numbers to decrease as Trump numbers increased. In marketing, a confused mind always says no so it’s important to remain consistent, concise, and clear with your message to the targeted audience.

  17. Caitlin Mier says:

    I never thought about consistent marketing relating to politics. I always thought of it in a non-business related sense, the more likeable the candidate the more votes. But it is clear now that the more consistent the brand, the more likely a person is to vote for the candidate. Trump was vocal, straight to the point, and at times vulgar. Whereas Rubio was polite, even-tempered, and virtuous. When Rubio went off brand and spoke out in attack, voters didn’t like that. Rubio was not following the original brand that his campaign had introduced. The takeaway is that simplicity and consistency are key. When flavors of taffy get mixed up, and brands change consistency it isn’t always a recipe for success. Often times it can lead to failed attempts. If Rubio would’ve maintained his character, I think he would’ve continued to have more support. We saw that despite Trump being at times vulgar and unpredictable, he never went off brand. That is what ultimately got him the presidency. Even in salt water taffy making simplicity is key. Mixing grape and lemon is not a good recipe for taffy. We can apply this to Rubios campaign, mixing attack with prudence and virtue end in less votes.

  18. Parker Nguyen says:

    The article is a great read because it shows that consistency is key and that being simple and to the point is very effective. This article reminds me of a book I recently read, Atomic Habits. Being consistent in whatever you do is the key to seeing any real results as we can see with Taylor Swift. Being consistent also ties in with being persistent. Though making a change may not reap the results one would want, being persistent and consistent in what you do will ultimately lead to real results. Like Atomic Habits states, small consistent habits will eventually lead to lasting changes. As we can see from the article, Rubio didn’t necessarily follow this blueprint and saw defeat in the race.

  19. Alex Reardon says:

    It is very interesting to see this dilemma play out in an example that is not strictly a relationship between producer and consumer. Keeping concepts simple often times allows people to understand what they are doing, making it easier to justify decisions. I imagine that the slogan “Just do it” plays very nicely in Nike’s favor. Although they are a well known clothing and athletics manufacturer, the simplicity of the slogan speaks to people. It says, “Don’t think, just do”. A simple concept that many people like and are happy to wear on their person. In terms of marketing, it is as simple as it gets. It doesn’t give consumers time to think about it as it is such a straight forward message. It works as motivation, whether it motivates to simply buy the product or motivates to get tasks done. It is versatile, yet straight to the point. Additionally, this idea of FUD is one that I think can relate to many celebrities. In marketing their own brand, many celebrities will create images that appeal to a niche group of people. However, their have been many instances where these marketable images have been proven false or misleading, often resulting in loss of fans or simply questioning of what the celebrity’s true persona is. When it comes to marketing of any sort, one thing reigns true: keep it simple.

  20. Emerson Sheldon says:

    I found the article informative as it emphasized the significance of keeping marketing simple and consistent. The article begins with a quote from Job, which helps the reader connect Yoest’s examples to Catholic Social Teaching. This quote emphasizes the significance of words and how they can shape how one’s audience perceives them. In marketing, it is essential to maintain consistency with one’s brand to ensure the satisfaction of existing followers and customers. If a company intends to alter its image, it is best to minimize any potential disruption gradually.

    I would like to highlight Yoest’s example: Making minor adjustments to the taffy flavor over time could have allowed Professor Yoest to better adapt to and eventually accept the new taste. His reaction may have been affected by the shock in taste difference. Similarly, if Rubio had gradually adjusted his behavior, it’s possible that his ratings would have been better. Since his audience perceived him as virtuous and polite, his sudden brashness caused confusion and anger from his followers.

    To conclude, customers are sensitive and like to have confidence in the quality and consistency of a product. Introducing new changes should be done gradually to avoid FUD or shocking one’s audience.

  21. Julia Varraso says:

    This was a very enjoyable article to read and made a lot of great points. Consistency is a key factor in marketing. Without consistency you can lose the trust of your audience and it can become confusing, as said in the article “a confused mind always says no”. It is important to focus on keeping things simple and consistent in marketing as you want to stay to whatever image you are trying to perceive. By keeping things simple it makes it easier on both parties to understand what they are doing and can help justify the decision making process. A great example of keeping’s things consistent and simple in marketing is Trump vs Rubio. Both got slander for vulgar language, both used vulgar language but Trump’s numbers went up while Rubios had fallen. This is because Trump is consistent with his branding while Rubio whose typically seen as Altar Boy Goodness you would not expect that from him and can become disappointed by the results. For Rubio he was known for being consistent, predictable, virtuous and polite and when he became inconsistent with this behavior it affected his campaign he drifted off from his normal branding to try and become more like his competitor Trump. The overall message from this article is to stress the importance of keeping your brand simple and consistent in order to get the best results.

  22. This is a a great Article, I loved it so much! To describe, the article compares Donald Trump with Marco Rubio to highlight the significance of consistency in marketing as it relates to political candidates. It contends that Rubio’s inconsistent use of his “Altar Boy Goodness” brand damaged his campaign, whereas Trump’s image as bombastic and anti-establishment helped him succeed. The author uses a personal example of a trick using candy tastes that were accidentally mixed up to show how confusing marketing messages can be. The essay strongly emphasizes the necessity of clear and consistent messaging to sell a candidate’s platform and win over voters effectively. Consistency in marketing is crucial for success, whether in political campaigns or any other form of branding and messaging. By maintaining a consistent and clear brand image, candidates can effectively communicate their values and ideas to voters, fostering trust and understanding. This article highlights the negative consequences of veering off-brand, as seen in Rubio’s attempt to inject fear into Trump but ultimately create concerns for his image. In an era where voters are adept at detecting inconsistencies, candidates need to craft a cohesive message that resonates with their target audience. Doing so can build trust, reduce confusion, and increase their chances of success. Success in marketing depends on maintaining consistency, whether in political campaigns or other types of branding and message. Candidates may successfully express their principles and views to voters, creating trust and understanding by upholding a consistent and clear brand image. This article emphasizes the drawbacks of deviating from one’s brand, as seen by Rubio’s attempt to intimidate Trump, which eventually raised questions about his reputation. Candidates need to develop a consistent message that appeals to their target audience at a time when voters are skilled at spotting deviations. Doing this may boost their chances of success, foster trust, and clear up any confusion.

  23. Alexandra Pinkerton says:

    This article gave me a different perspective, not only on marketing but politics as well. In order to succeed in either of the areas, it is very important to stay consistent. The Mixed Messages example is a great way to describe how certain things can look better than they ought to be. I always think of this with Brussel sprouts. They don’t look great and they also smell terrible, but they actually taste great. Some people just presume they don’t like them because of the stereotype around them and look, and smell. When all in all, they have potential. Though this may be a funny example, it is actually just another great experiment to put to the test like the candy. Thinking about this, and going off the Trump vs Rubio topic, it makes total sense. They both are vulgar and have no filter, some may argue they are very similar. But, Trump had way more consistency with his campaigning. In politics, campaigning is just another word for marketing. Running for office, or for anything, is all about what you bring to the table. This is where marketing becomes very important, to present information to grab the audience’s attention. Overall, I just found this very interesting to relate marketing to political campaigning and is definitely eye opening.

  24. Joris Van Straelen says:

    This article was a great read. Focusing on the point that consistency is key, this can apply to many different aspects of life. From politics to marketing consistency is key. When a candidate runs for office they are basically marketing their ideas and “brand” to potential voters. For example from this article we learn about how Rubio veered away from his consistent brand and in the long run it ended up hurting him more than helping. Trump’s numbers were doing great, so Rubio decided to change the way he presented himself and went on the attack against Trump, which ended up back firing. The reasons people liked Rubio were completely opposite of the reasons why they liked Trump, so when Rubio tried to switch and act more like his opponent voters could see right through it and did not like it. Away from marketing and politics consistency is key still applies. Growing up I played all types of sports and one similarity between all coaches is the talk of consistency. Training and practice need to become part of a routine if one is to excel in any sport. Wether that’s shooting 200 shots a day or swimming 100 laps a day, that consistency will help you grow as an athlete. For marketing being consistent will help you grow as a brand.

  25. Sophia Costa says:

    Loved the message in this! Really asserts how marketing and personal brands extend beyond the typical business application. In all facets of life, consistency is crucial to success. When consumers expect one thing, such as a certain flavor of saltwater taffy or actions consistent with a virtuous politician, and receive another, it will negatively affect your success. In the case of Rubio v Trump, voters expected Trump to be brash and unpredictable; his unpredictability was predictable. However, Rubio was expected to be one to play fair and be polite, so when he tried the Trump approach, it diverged from what his supporters knew him to be like, and what they expected him to be like, causing him to lose support. Suddenly “switching it up” when it comes to marketing yourself is not often successful: it puts off any potential supporters and can drive away current ones. Picking a brand and staying consistent with it is the best marketing approach, both in business and in politics. I found that relating marketing to a political campaign is a great way to reemphasize how important and versatile marketing can be.

  26. Robert Nero says:

    One thing about this article in particular that I found interesting was the analysis of image and consistency. Once the image of a brand (or political candidate in the case of this article) is developed and well known, the consumer (or voter) expects the image to remain the same. Once the image changes, the consumer becomes uncertain and uneasy about the brand, and they develop FUD. A recent example of this is Bud Light beer. Bud Light built an image of masculinity and manliness, but they made the decision to start a partnership with a transgender influencer. This decision caused FUD in the normal consumers of Bud Light (straight men), and many called for boycotts and even the destruction of Bud Light. Like Marco Rubio, Bud Light tried to change their image in an attempt to emulate their competition, and it appears that both plans backfired. In the case of Rubio and Bud Light, the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should have been applied. Rubio was a polished and well-rounded candidate, and Bud Light was a man’s beer. Both saw success before they decided to change their images. And both had troubles after they changed. Because consumers do not like change.

  27. Lauren DEmilio says:

    Consistency is the key to marketing, but also the key to life! Being consistent is encapsulated in each aspect of a persons’ life. That is why in order to gain consumers, megafans, and loyal costumers a business needs to be consistent. We see this shown within the article, the tester being confused as to why they are not tasting grape flavor as they are eating something purple. Consistency is natural, comfortable and above all else, SIMPLE. Consumers want their products to be simple and also to stay the same, that is why it is very hard for a brand to reinvent themselves and change as times change.