Is Trumps Reputation Damaging Trump the Brand?

Donald Trump has created a billion dollar empire through endless self-promotion. His reputation of having a glamorous lifestyle and personality has formed his distinctive trademark. Trump considers this reputation alone a hugely significant part of his business and rightly so, as financial documents released by the candidate earlier this year set the value of his company’s “deals, brand and brand developments” at a whopping 3 billion dollars. This reveals that his name is the single most significant item in his portfolio. Trumps brand recognition was also his first advantage as a presidential candidate. Although his run for candidacy is ascending due to the series of controversial statements he has made, we cannot say the same for Trump the business. The value of the Trump name is collapsing. A December survey of American consumer opinion, fielded by Young & Rubicam reflected this. The survey revealed that since Donald Trumps run fro President, the Trump brand has lost the confidence of the people who can afford the many products and services he offers.

The Trump name is losing its association with the categories that he has long promoted as the essence of his business. Categories such as “pretigious”, “upperclass”, and “glamorous” have now seen a decline among high-income consumers. Within the same group, the Trump name is also losing its connection with the terms; “leader”, “dynamic” and “innovative” – which to a man who considers himself “high-energy” and an “industry trailblazer” is quite a blow. This deterioration in brand status would be seen as a major crisis in the offices of any major consumer-oriented company and public companies would usually claim losses in net worth when customers turn against them due to a PR disaster. They call it a decline in “goodwill”. The fact that Trump is a private organisation, they are not obliged to report any such loss or report it it correctly. Yet, it is common knowledge to any CEO that a brand decline like this one is likely to financially impact the business as a whole.

Decline of Trump Brand

One of the first visible signs of this brand name decline came after he announced his candidacy last June and made inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants. NBC immediately dropped him as their host of the tv show “Celebrity Apprentice” which netted him millions of dollars per year. Macy’s and others began to dismantle marketing relationships with him and some real estate partners began talks of removing his name off of developments. A home furniture retailer in the Middle East also took Trump products off display. Speaking about his Father before he ran for candidacy, Donald Trump Jr. said;

“He will be out there, and he will question these things in a way that you don’t see anyone doing today – or certainly not anyone that has a brand.. There could be potentially ramifications to his business for taking these stances.” The ramifications, we may never know. However, it is worth noting that these kind of incidents can be massive. Businesses have had multi-billion euro write offs in “goodwill”. With Donald Trump being a 69 year old man with an obscene fortune, he will very likely remain wealthy and comfortable for the rest of his days. Unfortunately, those like his children who have a future in the brand cannot be so certain.

sources: http://www.politico.com & BAV Consulting/Young & Rubicam