Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc
It was just announced that Donald Trump lent his name to a new luxury skyscraper project. Yawn, yawn? Not surprised? Well you might be if you knew where the building is going to be located.
It turns out that the planned building is in ex-Soviet Georgia. Yes, that ex-Soviet Georgia. The one that just emerged from a four-year war with Russia. They used to have a regular flow of tourists, but with most of the hotels and resorts turned into shelters for displaced persons, the country is now having to rebuild in order to attract Western tourists with Western cash. So a luxury skyscraper sounds like just the thing.
The Trump tower is a planned 47-story residential building with its own marina. President Mikheil Saakashvili hailed Trump's presence as "a sign that the country is on the path of an irreversible success." Well, a branding success at the very least.
Turns out that the "Trump" Tower Batumi will be neither owned nor developed by The Donald. Georgia's Silk Road Group will be using Trump's name and brand under license. Which is a really smart move.
Mr. Trump, one of the few actual Human Brands walking and talking in the marketplace, imbues products and services with an added value lift that brick and mortal alone cannot provide. Brand Keys has estimated that lift to be in the +20-25% range, and includes buildings, casinos, and even shirts, ties and jewelry. Not a bad foundation for a building located in a war-torn country where tourism has come to a virtual standstill.
It's been said that words have meaning and names have power. But it turns out that real brands have both.