Is the Trump brand a LOSER?
Until his strange, alienating and toxic campaign for President of the United States, the Trump brand had a kind of Midas attitude. The name shouted winner in all CAPS, it was golden, flamboyant, an excess of success. There were hotels, casinos, golf resorts, beauty pageants, an airline, business best sellers, Trump branded water and bathroom slippers.
Sadly, The Donald should have known: branding and politics are not a good mix. In the last 12 months of campaigning for president, Trump has undone all the positive associations of his personal brand. Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Undecided, there’s no argument that his political actions have had a seriously negative impact. The Donald is in decline.
Someone needs to drag Donald into the nearest Branding agency and run through the core essentials – because this is a brand about to crater.
Brand Positioning – You’re going from Winner to Loser. This is fundamental flaw – The Donald has turned his back on his own key audience promise. A landslide loss to Hillary in front of 325 million Americans is no way to energize your brand.
Brand Personality – Half the country has taken an intense dislike to you personally. Again, this is basic attitudinal stuff. Accusations like tax cheat, racist, overly exuberant kisser – these new and dangerous attributes are, shall we say, way off-brand.
Brand Architecture – Your structural foundation is a total mess. What happened to your pillars, Donald? You crossed out Business Genius and let somebody write in “Lost Almost a Billion Dollars.” Let’s admit your RTB’s – those critical Reasons To Believe have become Grounds for Second Guessing.
Target Customers – Your Personas are a disaster. This is trouble, in big red bullet-points. You’ve alienated Latinos, African Americans, Muslims, veterans, people with disabilities, even Republican party leaders. To borrow from your own vocabulary, “So sad.”
Trump sales are down across the board – hotel bookings, golf packages, condo rates, branded merchandise and licensing fees. Companies like Macy’s, Perfumania, Serta and the PGA have cut ties. No beauty contest wants you anywhere within 100 miles.
The Washington Post, Politico, Slate and the New York Times are all reporting a consumer backlash. To cite one news article, a study by Redfin, a real estate brokerage, discovered that the price premium on Trump-branded condos had disappeared in the months since he launched his presidential bid.
We’ll also guess sales on Trump branded furniture, bedding, eyewear and spring water are drying up, too. Worst of all, it would be a terrible shame if your signature fragrance, Empire cologne, should stink up the bottom line.
Donald, this is why Branding agencies put together those detailed brand guidelines. We know you’re not a reader and more of a gut instinct guy, but a guidance system is essential for a consistent verbal and visual identity. It goes without saying, this is a tough sell for candidate chaos.
Once upon a time, Trump the Marketer lived his brand, he was the embodiment, the ultimate proof point. Trump the presidential candidate has had the opposite effect. He’s lowered brand values, perceptions and knocked down every brand pillar he had erected.
Then again, Donald Trump has deified critics, political experts, the media and pollsters for an entire year. Perhaps this is a mad genius at work, tearing up the rules of political discourse and conventional brand wisdom. Against inconceivably long odds, he may yet elevate the prestige of his own brand to a shocking new highpoint : President Trump.
That, of course, would be unexpectedly YUGE.