There is no identification by Trump that he did anything wrong. You can't rebuild trust or rebuild a brand if you don't think you did anything wrong, and he doesn't think he did. — Chris Allieri, founder and principal of public relations firm Mulberry & Astor
There is no identification by Trump that he did anything wrong. You can't rebuild trust or rebuild a brand if you don't think you did anything wrong, and he doesn't think he did. — Chris Allieri, founder and principal of public relations firm Mulberry & Astor
Trump's business recovering may depend on him apologizing to Americans
  • Donald Trump has left the White House with a tarnished reputation and a struggling hospitality empire.
  • The pandemic has ravaged his hotels and golf courses, wiping out a third of his income, and customers are cutting ties.
  • Is his brand too toxic to recover? His former personal attorney Michael Cohen says so, while industry experts say an apology is needed.
"The reality is that Trump as a luxury hospitality brand in the US is severely damaged if not completely over," Chris Allieri, founder and principal of public relations firm Mulberry & Astor, told Insider. "You have 80 million people who would never pay for a Trump hotel or product that would support him and his kids."

Trump's role in inciting the US Capitol attack was the final straw for many of his clients and customers. A slew of prominent businesses, including real-estate giant Cushman & Wakefield and Deutsche Bank, have broken with the Trump Organization. The Girl Scouts are currently trying to get out of their lease at 40 Wall Street, which is controlled by his real-estate firm. Residents of a Trump-branded building in Manhattan wants to take his name off its exterior, per Bloomberg.

Trump, who no longer has his Twitter soapbox, has not acknowledged his role in the attempted coup. His son Eric hung up on an Associated Press reporter when asked if his father was responsible for the riot. In the two weeks since, the Trump Organization has not resorted to a staple of public relations: the corporate apology.

Can his businesses recover? Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney, told Insider that the brand is too toxic to bounce back.

"Years ago, Trump received a brand value appraisal ranging between $3 billion and $4 billion," Cohen told Insider via text. "Today, I believe that the brand value is worthless as anything that bears the Trump moniker is toxic to more than half the country."

... "People tend to have a shorter memory for pretty much everything, but given the furious images we've seen, the videos taken inside, it's going to take longer than a couple of years for people to truly forget," Graf says. "This goes mostly for businesses. Why take the risk to do business with Trump? I think most businesses are trying to cut any ties with Trump and that includes businesses that used to use his venues for meetings and conferences or send their business travelers to his hotels."

Another problem: the 74 million people who voted for Trump may still be loyal to him, but they aren't the target demographic for his luxury hotels and golf courses.


"He can sell mugs, hats, T-shirts, but are the millions of people who voted for him the customer base for the kind of hotels you're putting his name on?" asks Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group. "These people are spending $600, $700, $800 a night. It's hard enough in the hotel business to get high occupancy in a luxury hotel."

Even wealthy individuals who support Trump will likely be reluctant to patronize his businesses.

"In luxury, it's about the perception of quality and showcasing and sharing it," Chris Allieri, founder and principal of public relations firm Mulberry & Astor, told Insider. "No one is going to pay for a luxury hotel or luxury product if they can't share it or can't talk about it."

... It's not impossible for "Teflon Don" to make a comeback, but it would be a hard mountain to climb.

"Trump is 74 years old," Reay adds. "He built that name and reputation over the last 50 years. I don't know how you rebuild it in four to five years."

Healing his businesses might require something that Trump has yet to do: apologize for his role in the attempted coup at the Capitol.

"The first thing required in crisis communications is an admission of public responsibility," Allieri said. "There is no identification by Trump that he did anything wrong. You can't rebuild trust or rebuild a brand if you don't think you did anything wrong, and he doesn't think he did."
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-hospitality-empire-toxic-brand-michael-cohen-apology-2021-1