When Does a ‘Smart Businessman’ Like Donald Trump Consider Brand Damage?

Donald Trump, his supporters tell us, is a smart businessman. Trump is also, in his own words, a businessman whose business is his personal brand. Everything is “Trump.” From the steaks to the suits to the ties to the vodka to the water to the hotels to the golf courses, it is all “Trump.” And when your brand is your business, you cannot afford to have your brand suffer. If it suffers, your business suffers.

Right now, Trump’s brand is suffering.

Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, foot traffic to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses in the U.S. has been down. Since spring, it’s fallen more. In July, Trump properties’ share of visits fell 14% year over year, for instance.

Trump’s fortune is tied into real estate mostly and that real estate is branded with his name. As Trump’s name and reputation decline, business to his real estate declines. As business to his real estate declines, the value of that real estate takes a hit on the income generated side. Certainly, if he were to sell a property, it would still be valuable, but as long as his name is associated with it the value is diminished.

You’d think that Donald Trump, the savvy businessman, would consider what this presidential campaign is doing to his brand. A loss in November, a humiliating one no less where he comes across as a sore loser, is going to deteriorate the brand further.

Makes you wonder if we are getting closer and closer to a fake illness and withdrawal scenario. Not likely, but at this point who knows.

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Erick Erickson

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