Most businesses crave publicity to boost name recognition. They pay celebrity spokespeople handsome sums to be the face of a brand, whether a top model for a makeup line, an athlete for shoes or a recent dieter for a weight loss product. But celebrity endorsements, names on marquees, and association can also be damaging (or damning) to the bottom line. Such is reportedly the case for Donald Trump’s business empire with the public combing over or bypassing his self-branded hotels, casinos, and golf courses since the campaign for the White House really took off.
Foot traffic to the Trump facilities has dropped considerably since Donald Trump announced his candidacy, according to Foursquare. It may seem like an unusual way to measure sales or visitors for those who typically wait for quarterly analyst reports. However, in today’s social media mad world, the data gathered by Foursquare is a good indication of consumer sentiment. Hence, the traffic related to the candidate either indicates that traffic to Trump-land is down or the site’s traffic is.
Foursquare reported on Thursday that the decline in traffic to properties bearing the candidate’s name fell noticeably in recent months. Traffic to businesses branded with the Trump moniker declined 17 percent this March and April compared to those months in 2015. Foursquare also reported that traffic tied to Trump brands in July was 14 percent lower than last year. However, the interest from 2014 to 2015 was steady.
The info was gathered off of the apps’ users searches for the locations, restaurants nearby and other data that indicates the user would be at a Trump site. Accordingly, this indicates that Foursquare’s 50 million users have not been using the app in conjunction with visits to the candidate’s businesses. Yes, it could be they do not want to show they were on Trump turf!
The app’s firm also reported that there was a discernible drop in women searching for information about or from the Donald Trump branded sites. This undoubtedly reflects his lower support from women because of comments he has made.
The drop in social media search popularity for Trump business interests could be related to the fact that many are located in traditionally liberal or Democratic states. This includes two that had the largest declines: Trump SoHo in New York and Trump International Hotel in Chicago, Ill.
The drop in Foursquare usage tied to the properties most likely, however, reflects a drop in business, which will hurt the brand far more than comments made on campaign stops (although they are shining more light on the head under the hair).
It could be that some Foursquare users are embarrassed to publicly check in from Trump’s locations, but are still going. However, Foursquare says the data is based “mostly” on actual visits rather than self-reporting. This is where the fact that he is merely the spokesmodel for several branded businesses illustrates how the comb-over countenance on the campaign trails is hurting businesses bearing the Donald Trump name or, more appropriately, image of success. He actually licenses use of his name and image to properties and businesses, much like LeBron James and Nike shoes. Whether he wins or loses, however, the sites tied to Donald Trump the businessman should consider new branding come November.
Written and Edited by Dyanne Weiss
Foursquare: How the Trump Presidential Campaign is Affecting Trump Businesses
New York Post: Trump’s presidential run may be ruining his businesses
CNN Money: Trump’s campaign may be hurting traffic to Trump properties
Photo courtesy of Tony Webster’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons license