Trump's brand is bleeding in the wake of the election, but will it ever die?
Ask any Trump-thumping conservative what they love about The Donald and they’ll undoubtedly bring up his business success. They’ll recite the trite phrase, “If he runs the economy like he runs his business, we’ll be in good shape!” And no one can truly deny that he’s a successful businessman. The guy has dipped his toes in nearly every market: from steak, to higher education, to professional wrestling. While it’s true that some business ventures were catastrophic failures, some were savvy investments that contributed a considerable chunk of money to his $3.7 billion net worth.
However, with the onslaught of alienating statements Trump’s made in his campaign, he’s offended a large subset of the population, including women, Mexicans, Muslims, the disabled, and veterans. It now seems that in the midst of this polarizing speech, Trump’s brand is bleeding. Many Trump customers are now rebelling against his hostile campaign by throwing out their Trump brand merchandise. The New York Times interviewed over two dozen upset Americans who hope to punish Trump’s financial backing by protesting his products. They’ve called off their reservations at Trump hotels, dumped their Trump wines down the drain, and cut their Trump ties into shreds. Why they owned any of that shit in the first place is beyond us.
While these small acts of protest may seem insignificant, these disconnected protests may have produced the desired effect; new reports indicate that Trump’s most precious investments - his hotels - are taking a financial pounding. Trump Organization won’t release its hotels’ occupancy rates, but according to recent data released by the travel site Hipmunk, bookings with Trump hotel have plummeted nearly 60 percent in the first half of 2016. Less dramatically but indicative of a pattern, Trump’s hotel bookings with luxury travel firm Oviation Vacations have tumbled 29 percent in the past six months. The latest earth-shattering consequence: the man who puts his name on every damn thing he touches is opening a new hotel that will not bear his name anywhere.
Three different Trump Organization executives (but not Donald himself) announced the opening of Scion, a hotel marketed toward millennials. The new hotels will stray from the “luxury” stylistic theme Trump’s hotels usually embody and offer a much lower price per stay. However, millennials have proven to be a tough market to tap into, as hotel alternatives like Airbnb are commanding a significant share of the age group’s business.
Trump’s businesses are taking a blow as he antagonizes Americans along the campaign trail, but can we sincerely expect his economic empire to collapse? History's answer to that question would be a resounding no. We’ve proven time and time again what a short memory our consumers have by returning to brands that should have lost our loyalty long ago. After BP spilled 30 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, consumers continued pumping BP gas and kept the business afloat. After Chipotle’s E.coli outbreak had dozens hospitalized, it quickly slipped our minds and we began scarfing their burritos back down. When Toyota recalled 4 million vehicles for jammed gas pedals and several Toyota consumers were killed in high-speed crashes, hardly anyone put off their purchase of a swanky Prius.
Consumers truly do have an attention span shorter than a goldfish, and that’s great news for the resilient Trump brand. It's proven to be like a cockroach in a nuclear war – it’s survived multiple bankruptcies, class-action lawsuits against the notoriously corrupt Trump University, and now, PR shit-storms such as allegations of racism and sexual assault.
So, perhaps the most polarizing, controverisal presidential campaign in American history is just another bump in the road for the orange billionaire. As his Mexican hombres would say, “¡Viva Trump!”