Is political ‘Trump-speak’ bad for PH property namesake?
United States Presidential candidate Donald Trump has uttered volumes of polarizing statements during his televised campaign sorties and debates. None, however, has affected Filipinos as much as his alleged anti-Filipino statements which have been splashed all over traditional news, and posted in numerous social media accounts.
Trump’s actions and utterances during the 2016 US Presidential campaign season may either leave the audience loving or hating him. Still, the question remains in this part of the world: Is the political Trump affecting the Trump brand of properties in the country?
Inquirer Property sources said that it was the property company that paid the business magnate for the use of his name in the project. Thus, whatever behavior Trump exhibits en route to the US elections, the quality and standards that has built, and which maintains, Trump Tower Manila, stays “unchanged.”
On Aug. 14, Century Properties sent to Inquirer Property a copy of a statement from Donald’s son Eric Trump, EVP of development and acquisitions of The Trump Organization.
The statement read: “As the Republican nominee for President of the United States, national security and the safety of the American people are my father’s top priority. In a recent speech, my father read a list provided by the US Senate subcommittee on immigration about screening failures in recent years, which included one case of a Filipino national.
“He made no broader statement about the Philippines or immigration policy from the Philippines, and any suggestion to the contrary is false.
“My father’s very generic statement about this particular individual was a criticism of the failed screening methods that were put in place, not of the Philippines or it’s (sic) great people and it is unfortunate it was misconstrued.
“I personally have had the privilege of visiting the Philippines many times and have experienced firsthand the beauty of the country and the warmth of its amazing people.
“Our family has tremendous respect and admiration for the people of the Philippines,” concluded the son’s statement.
Inquirer Property has asked property experts of the local repercussions of the businessman-turned-politician’s recent behavior and pronouncements.
Alejandro Mañalac, chief advisor of ThinkInvest Advisory Group, shared that the marketing pitch (for Trump Tower Manila) was never about Donald Trump the person, but about the Trump brand’s high standard of quality which was clearly specified in the agreement.
Mañalac added: “This assures the buyers that what they will enjoy at the Trump Tower Manila are even better than the other Trump projects around the world. I have stayed in some of his hotels and I have witnessed the difference. His team regularly inspects the construction progress to make sure that the specifications are followed.”
Mañalac said that Trump is also known to be one of the most successful real estate personalities in the world. His company’s projects have been proven performers, and deliver good returns for the investors.
Enrique Soriano, Ateneo program director for real estate and senior adviser for Wong+Bernstein Business, said: “What’s in a brand? Everything, especially in real estate. Location is relative and all too common soundbite for all developers, but what will make developers thrive and win markets would always go down to their brand equity.”
Trump brand equity
Soriano explained: “In the case of Trump, it’s all about the power of the Trump brand equity. And regardless of the anti-Filipino statement that the Republican candidate said, I don’t think it will have any impact on the Trump Tower in Manila or in any Trump licensed-project all over the world. Buyers and investors always look at the importance of brand power, more specifically on the Trump promise of a great experience. In the end, it’s all about differentiation and relevance and a heavy dose of experiential innovation.
Very little effect
“For as long as the individual (Donald Trump) is completely separated from the brand (world-class experience), I do not see any adverse effect at all. There is a saying, ‘Buildings age, people die but great brands live on,’” Soriano added.
Mañalac said: “There are only less than 10 units left (in Trump Tower Manila), so I think Donald’s actions will have very little effect on the project. Furthermore, with the prices of the units proudly declared as the most expensive in the country, a lot of the buyers are also foreign investors who know the brand and their high standards and do not care about Donald.
“We’ve seen his personality, and I don’t think he would even care if there are boycotts and rallies of the locals on the streets. That’s not his market,” he said.
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