Report: Donald Trump’s Populist Campaign Ascending, As His Luxury Brand Descending

People greet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, after he spoke at a rally in Reno, Nev., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (
AP Photo/Lance Iversen

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump made his living marketing his luxury brand to the wealthy. But now that he’s expressing populist political views, Trump’s brand has been taking “a major hit in the wake of his presidential campaign,” according to Politico Magazine.

Trump – who values his brand at $3 billion – is atop nationwide political polls. But according to data released by Politico Magazine, that’s hammering his luxury business brand.

“Among the people Trump’s business depends on—the consumer making over $100,000 a year—the value of the Trump name is collapsing,” argues Will Johnson and Michael D’Antonio in Politico Magazine.

Johnson and D’Antonio note:

A December survey of American consumer opinion, fielded by the BAV Consulting division of advertising and marketing giant Young & Rubicam (and the largest and longest running study of brands in the world), found that since Donald Trump’s run for president, the Trump brand has lost the confidence of the people who can afford to stay at one of his hotels, play at one of his country clubs or purchase a home in one of his developments. It is also rapidly losing its association with the gilded traits Trump has long promoted as the essence of his business.

In categories such as “prestigious,” “upper class” and “glamorous” the Trump name has plummeted among high-income consumers. Within the same group, it is also losing its connection with the terms “leader,” “dynamic” and “innovative”—quite a blow for a man who criticizes others for being “low energy” and considers himself an industry trailblazer. The brand has been a survey subject for BAV Consulting’s regular surveys for over a decade and has never before experienced such a precipitous drop in reputation. It’s the kind of change that usually follows a big corporate scandal, like a product recall or financial misconduct. But in Trump’s case it’s a man’s personality that is in play.

Because the Trump Organization is a private company, it is not required to report any such losses, but Politico Magazine argues that “any CEO will tell you that a brand deterioration like this is likely to have a significant financial impact, affecting sales, borrowing and even efforts to attract high quality employees.”

Johnson and D’Antonio cite canceled business dealings with NBC, Univision and Macy’s after Trump made his remarks on illegal immigration during his presidential announcement to support their article.

Adding about Trump’s marketing to, “the luxury, or “aspirational” market of those making over $100,000 a year. The wealthiest respondents in the BAV survey—those with incomes over $150,000—judge Trump the harshest of any income bracket.”

In this group, as measured by BAV’s consumer opinion index, Trump’s reputation for being “obliging” and “upper class” has declined by more than 50 percent since the outset of the campaign, followed by “leader” (with a 41 percent decline) and “prestigious” (down by 39 percent). The next lower income level—households making between $100,000 and $150,000—wasn’t much kinder, with a 56 percent decline for “obliging,” a 45 percent decline in “prestigious” and a 38 percent drop for “upper class.”

Following Trump’s presidential campaign, 65 percent of the wealthy view Trump’s brand as more “traditional” than they had prior to his campaign launch.

“Although Trump’s political loyalists might cheer his standing as a traditional figure, this quality is not a good thing for a business seeking to sell glamour and luxury,” notes Politico Magazine.


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