Will Trump’s presidency destroy his brand?

18 November 2016   
Will Trump’s presidency destroy his brand?

When the tape depicting Trump making crude comments about women and his unwanted sexual advances toward them was leaked along the campaign trail, it seemed inevitable that Hillary would wipe the floor with the Republican candidate come November 8. As such, questions surrounding what Trump would do in the event of a loss caught more traction within the media. There had been conversations about a Trump media brand for quite some time, and the fact that it looked like Trump was surely going to lose the election brought that possibility to the front of many minds. The Trump media brand would cater to the alt-Right supporters that stood at the very foundation of his presidential run. White nationalists had come to represent much of Trump’s support base, and it was clear that the media empire he would launch would inevitably endorse those viewpoints and seek favor from those constituents. Then November 8 came along, and the prospect of a Trump media brand was put on hold. However, a new discussion came about. Rather than wondering how Trump would use his candidacy to make money upon a loss, individuals are now wondering how his victory will affect his financial interests in the handful of businesses he operates.

For one, Trump’s children will now be at the helm of The Trump Organization, a move that has brought about concerns over potential conflicts of interest, given that they will inevitably discuss business matters with their father, the President of the United States. Surely, Trump has a lot to lose. His personal brand is worth upward of $2.9 billion, and much of this estimate comes from licensing deals through which Trump’s name alone is used to generate publicity and revenue for businesses with which he is not actually affiliated in exchange for hearty paychecks. The fact that his personal brand is used for licensing that generates a substantial bulk of his worth could mean trouble for his presidency.

As many know, Trump is certainly a controversial figure. The fiery rhetoric he used along the campaign trail and now as President-elect does not exactly sit well with everyone. As such, his business interests have already taken a dive as a result of a drive to disassociate with the Trump name. According to The Atlantic, “New York residents [are] petitioning to take the name off their apartment buildings, a Toronto city councilman [is] calling for the removal of Trump’s name from a new hotel, and a Chilean consulting firm [is] cutting ties with the Trump Organization as it attempted to expand in South America.”

It is not merely his rhetoric that will be problematic for his businesses. His successes and failures will be magnified by the media, given that he will be operating the country from the Oval Office. Seeing that his business is largely contingent upon public perceptions of his brand name, any discontent among Americans with the way he handles political affairs will correlate with businesses staying away from using his name, meaning less licensing money for Mr. Trump. The Atlantic finds that “presidents can never keep everyone happy, and usually end up disappointing even their core supporters.” Thus, this disappointment could invariably result in lesser earnings for The Trump Organization.

Do you think the presidency will hurt Trump’s brand?