Trump Will Be Forced to Reposition His Brand Post-Election
At this writing, exactly two weeks before the election, Hillary Clinton and her cohorts are campaigning heavily in Florida and other battleground states. The polls point to a major victory for Ms. Clinton—possibly in landslide proportions.
While the Clinton camp is out in force, Donald Trump is hosting the press and guests at a ribbon cutting of his newest, posh Washington D.C. hotel. Trump’s rationale for this event is to announce that this property was developed ahead of schedule and under budget; a clear signal to how he does business for his organization, and how he intends to do business if he were to be the CEO of the United States.
Approximately a month ago, Trump inaugurated another ultra upscale Washington property. Not surprisingly, this earlier hotel is considered a “bust.” Prices have had to be reduced, and still it has no traction.
Putting my marketing consultant hat on, I’m going to assume that I have been hired by the post-election Trump organization to work on the Trump brand. In a situation analysis, I start by looking at where Trump is today and where he wants to go.
Trump today is the owner and/or manager of upscale hotels, residences and country clubs. He is catering to a segment of the market that largely rejected his candidacy and all the inherent baggage that he brought with it. On the other hand, Trump’s major support comes from uneducated, small city and rural white voters. The attachment with this segment is intense. The thousands of people who attend Trump rallies, and the percentage of the vote that he will get from his ultra loyal supporters, can be converted into business possibilities.
The first possibilities that has been discussed is the development of a cable network that will out-Fox Fox, and will be supported by the highly right-wing Breitbart News people, partnering with ousted Fox news guru Roger Ailes. This could be a highly lucrative venture.
As for his real estate properties, my advice would be to divest himself of all his upscale properties. The cash infusion this would generate would encourage Trump to develop a large chain of medium-priced hotels in smaller markets. They would cater to the Trump voting bloc, and could also be very profitable. Rather than build new properties, Trump may think of acquiring an existing chain and doing extensive renovation work.
While Trump’s foray into politics will probably hurt his current upscale image and certainly hurt his feelings of self-worth, his new notoriety with the disenchanted working class can be converted to major new business opportunities that could greatly increase his wealth.