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Trump’s trainwreck of a campaign is killing his businesses

Techly Election CoverageYou would think a presidential run would be the ultimate PR move – but for Donald Trump, it’s been a disaster.

Complete control of the news cycle, 24/7 free media coverage, astronomical levels of social media engagement – it’s enough to make any brand manager readjust their pants.

Indeed, conventional wisdom holds that ‘any publicity is good publicity’, but Trump, it turns out, is neither conventional, nor wise.

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The Republican nominee’s campaign is in a tailspin but he seems hellbent on crashing it straight into the ground and leaving no survivors.

Instead of apologising, he’s doubled down on each reprehensible thing that’s come out of his mouth – whether that be attacking dead war heroes, boasting about sexual assault or offending the world’s entire Muslim population.

And while that’s invigorated his base (the ‘basket of deplorables’ as Clinton described them), it seems to be having very real repercussions for his businesses.

Analysis from Foursquare found that customer traffic to Trump-branded properties dropped 16.5 per cent in September, compared to the year before.

It’s part of an alarming trend for the real estate mogul, with traffic dropping 7.1 per cent in August, 14 per cent in July and 17 per cent in June.

Travel website Hipmunk also reported that bookings at Trump hotels had halved in 2016, and it seems these empty hotels were humiliatingly on display at last week’s annual World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington.

New York magazine reported that Trump Hotel was a ghost-town for the event, even after offering heavily discounted rooms.

“For a five-star hotel in downtown Washington to have vacancies during major IMF Meetings is a little like having empty rooms when the Super Bowl is in town,” Celarier wrote.

Childish and ineffectual, sure—but not unsatisfying. Best part was getting praise from passersby while I was shooting it. #🖕Trump

A photo posted by Thomas Yager-Madden (@tym27) on

His brand has become so toxic in fact, that the Trump organisation has done the unthinkable and dropped the ‘Trump’ name from his latest venture.

Instead, the newest line of hotels will be rebranded: ‘Scion’.

In 12 short months, Trump has single-handedly destroyed his brand – one that used to be synonymous with prestige, status and esteem.

Maybe if Trump sold pick-up trucks or American flag bikinis or long, white hoods then his business would be booming.

But he operates luxury hotels, and it’s hard to do that with the requisite gravitas when you’ve turned yourself into the world’s most punchable human and a human punch-line.

The cruel irony for Trump is that the ‘any publicity is good publicity’ strategy is what got him the Republican nomination.

Every outrageous statement meant another 48 hours of free media coverage, and the myth of the rabble-rousing, straight-talking maverick continued to grow.

But bubbles, as they are prone to do, burst – and now every word he utters is another nail in his political coffin and a dagger to the heart of his brand.

About the author

Technically, Riordan writes culture, politics and sport, but 80% of his words are direct quotes stolen from The Simpsons. He promises to tweet more at @riordanl and speaks words for The Zero Thumbs Down Podcast.

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