Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trump's Name Now Has Cooties Among Groups He Markets His Crap To-- The SOTU May Accelerate That


Even before President Obama slammed Trumpf's divisive, ugly bigotry during tonight's State of the Union address-- never mentioning his name-- people were noticing fresh cracks in the Trump edifice. "That’s why we need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith. His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that 'to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.' When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country." (Even the Republican Party rebuttal, by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, addressed Trumpf's divisiveness with disdain.)

A theme we've developed here since the summer is that fans of Herr Trumpf are basically life's losers. They are generally angry, frustrated, extremely low-intelligence white people, besieged economically and culturally and words like "fascism," "authoritarianism" and "dictator" are not particularly threatening to them. They have nothing to lose. And they don't have much to offer the P.T. Barnum of 2016 either. If they manage to figure out how to vote and they elect him president, fine. Otherwise... he does't sell cheap t-shrirts, nachos and Schlitz. Typical Trumpf enthusiasts don't live in Trump Towers or ever see his golf courses-- not even as caddies.

Yesterday Will Johnson and Michael D'Antonio asserted at Politico that the extreme and bigoted positions the silly demagogue has been using to woe these poor schlepps is ruining his brand. Herr, they point out "has built his distinctive trademark over the course of decades in public life, turning his own wealth, glamorous lifestyle and personality into emblems of his multi-billion dollar company through endless self-promotion. Trump considers this reputation alone a hugely significant part of his business: Financial documents the candidate released earlier this year set the value of his company’s 'deals, brand and branded developments' at $3 billion, which makes his name the single most significant item in his portfolio. Trump’s brand was also his first great advantage as a presidential candidate, giving him name recognition and the gloss of success that even a Bush might envy."

And this goes way beyond NBC firing him as host of Celebrity Apprentice, which hit his bottom line for millions of dollars annually, and beyond Univision, Macy’s, Serta ending business relationships with him before the contagion they clearly saw coming could spread to their own brands. Even beyond real estate partners taking his now-toxic name off projects that are up or on drawing boards.

Trumpf consumers-- who have average incomes of over $100,000 annually-- are not enthralled by Trumpf's demagoguery and ugly bigoted statements. "The value of the Trump name is collapsing." And remember, Trump says P.T. Barnum is one of his role models, the same P.T. Barnum who bragged that everything he did was meant to "put money in my own coffers."
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.

The billionaire Trump might brush off complaints about his politics; he might even shrug off short-term commercial losses. But this plunge in brand status would be seen as a crisis in the offices of any major consumer-oriented company. Public companies often claim losses in net worth when customers turn against them because of a public relations disaster; they call it a decline in “goodwill.” As a private corporation, the Trump Organization is not obligated to report any such a decline-- or to report it accurately-- but 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.

...Trump has taken [hits] among his target consumer base: 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.”

In interviews we conducted before the campaign, Trump’s children, who work in his companies, acknowledged that their father is the brand and that he will dominate its marketing for the rest of his days. “He became synonymous with success and aspiration,” noted daughter Ivanka. “That is still at the core of what the brand is today.”

But the challenge of a brand future clouded by his father’s polarizing views was on Donald Trump. Jr.’s mind in 2014, long before his father declared his run for president. “If you’re asking, ‘Do I think that he knows he’s a polarizing guy?’ Yes. The answer is 100-percent,” Donald Jr. said. “He will be out there, and he will question these things in a way that you don’t see anyone doing today-- or certainly not anyone that has a brand. … There could be potentially ramifications to his business for taking these stances.”

How serious will these ramifications be? We might never know: As head of a privately held company, free of financial obligations to shareholders, Donald Trump has no reason to disclose the financial hit he takes due to his controversial campaign. Still, it’s worth noting that these kinds of blows can be massive: During the dot-com crash, firms that fell from grace took multi-billion dollar “goodwill” write-offs. AOL noted a $99 billion loss in goodwill. Worldcom’s was $45 billion.

Donald Trump, as a 69-year-old whose fortune is counted in the billions, will very likely remain wealthy and comfortable-- a success as he defines it-- for the rest of his days. But those like his children who may have counted on the brand to sustain them further into the future cannot be so certain.

Then again, they could move into the part of the consumer market where no real damage has been done. Perhaps a Trump brand of smokes, or maybe canned meat?
Back to President Obama's speech tonight, he also directed several other of Trump's premeditatedly divisive ideas: "What I’m asking for is hard. It’s easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn’t possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don’t matter. But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future. Those with money and power will gain greater control over the decisions that could send a young soldier to war, or allow another economic disaster, or roll back the equal rights and voting rights that generations of Americans have fought, even died, to secure. As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background... That’s the America I know. That’s the country we love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. That’s what makes me so hopeful about our future. Because of you. I believe in you. That’s why I stand here confident that the State of our Union is strong." As for what Trumpf's done, and continues to do, to the Republican Party brand... well, keep up the good work, Herr.

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At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Those with money and power will gain greater control over the decisions that could send a young soldier to war, or allow another economic disaster, or roll back the equal rights and voting rights that generations of Americans have fought, even died, to secure. As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background... That’s the America I know. That’s the country we love"

W. T. F? If this is an honest quote (taken from the post), then it could explain a great deal why Obama panders to Republicans while kicking progressives to the curb; why he pushes "trade deals" so hard the bumpers fall off.

There was a movie a while back called "A Soldier's Story" in which a black soldier sought acceptance by white soldiers enough to do something incredibly heinous. Obama surrendering national sovereignty to the WTO by promoting TPP can be seen in a similar light. And the only reason Obama went after Trumpf's positions during SOTU is because all other efforts by his GOP handlers failed to achieve the result of ending Trumpfs rise to power via stirring up the Lumpenproletariat.

Maybe this will work. Obama still talks a great line. But anyone looking at his "achievements" sees they are Potempkin facades hiding that too little of real value was done too late to achieve much. They can all be easily reversed, and will be. The GOP is a president away from controlling the entire Federal Government; ACA is primed for repeal, SCOTUS is about to eliminate unions, and TPP takes away the bulk of American freedoms and liberties. This was the role Jeb! was to play until Trumpf stole his lunch money.

It's all been a show. Not as flashy as Herr Hair's, but a show none the less. Obama's show doesn't have people looking at what they are losing, because the stakes are so much higher for people with the kind of wealth Drumpfy brags about. We aren't supposed to notice! Instead, watch Barry slay the future glory of P. T. Barnum's heir while the plutocrats steal your economy. Then Barry gets to retire with a LIEbury and the rest of us start living lives similar to the proles of Max Headroom.


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