STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
President Trump's approval ratings are the lowest on record for a new chief executive. But there's some evidence that a different number is going up - the dollar value of the president's commercial brand. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: President Trump watched the Super Bowl on Sunday at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, where he was met by cheerleaders and a marching band. The night before that, Trump attended a Red Cross ball at his nearby Mar-a-Lago resort. Since his long shot presidential campaign began, he has often held events at his Washington, D.C. hotel, his New Jersey golf club and, of course, at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio says that's partly because the president likes to be in places he knows.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO: He's really a creature of habit, and is accustomed to living in this cocoon he created a long time ago. He doesn't really take the risk of encountering people in situations that are unfamiliar.
ZARROLI: But D'Antonio says Trump also well understands that the incessant coverage he receives as president is good publicity for the businesses he built and continues to own.
D'ANTONIO: He's very much invested in these enterprises. He remains the beneficiary of them. He's a brand builder by habit. And the brand is his personality.
ZARROLI: And the presidency may be helping Trump's brand somewhat. Stephen Hahn-Griffiths is with the Reputation Institute, which measures brand popularity. He says Trump's reputation score has gone from 31.7 last August to 39.1 last month. Trump is seen as aggressive, selfish and ambitious, but also friendly, stylish and elegant. The improvement has been especially pronounced among men, Republicans and those over 70. Hahn-Griffiths says all the coverage of Trump doing presidential things has solidified his popularity in some places.
STEPHEN HAHN-GRIFFITHS: It engenders a more positive feeling amongst those who already love him. It's a further endorsement that he is very much a status symbol in what he represents today.
ZARROLI: But outside of his base, it's a different story. Hahn-Griffiths says Trump's reputation with the population as a whole is poor.
HAHN-GRIFFITHS: He's on the lowest of low. I mean, he would be in the lowest 2 percent of all the people and companies we measure.
ZARROLI: As a politician, that's not a great place to be. Businesses, however, live and die based on their ability to capture a share of the market and keep it happy. The evidence suggests the publicity Trump is generating as president is boosting the loyalty his supporters feel toward his businesses. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.
(SOUNDBITE OF TAKUYA KURODA SONG, "NO SIGN")
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.