Most people are elated, enraged or somewhere in between at seeing Donald Trump become USA’s new president. But what’s impressive and surprising, is the fact that a man with no political experience successfully managed to pave his way to the highest political office in the USA with just a handful of marketing/branding strategies.
The Trump Phenomenon: How impactful or fairly inevitable is personal branding?
- The strategic process of personal branding makes you an active partner in crafting the direction of your life. You channelise your unique promise of value and decide who you want to share it with.
Use emotions to activate your audience: It’s imperative to understand that politicians essentially become brands – personal brands, when campaigns begin. Likewise you can undeniably agree on the parallels between corporate brands and Donald Trump (political candidate) clearly through logos, slogans, image, voice & reputations, etc.
- Part of the branding process is becoming known for something. You have to identify your best as well as your worst characteristics, so that you know what to build upon. People will remember you through your actions, your expertise, and the emotional connections that you make.Defining who you are means that you need to be brave enough to let your true self be visible – it portrays you as being transparent!
Specialisation is better than generalization: Trump appealed to the masses through his self-portrayal of “extremism”, because as a person, he came across as brash, loudmouthed and obdurate. His policies are firm and divisive and his personal impression – to some is, a representative of hatred and fear, and to others, a beacon of hope. Trump contrasted his audience with emotionally-charged messaging, which, regardless of its truthfulness, led his supporters to become extreme brand evangelists and fetched him votes in numbers far higher than anyone or any polls, so far predicted.
- You build credibility not through your words but through your actions. If you live your personal brand and keep your brand promise to your target market, you are automatically on the path to credibility.
Don’t overcomplicate things: Donald Trump is a symbol of success! In everything from reality TV to rap songs, Trump’s name and face have become a kind of dictation for wealth and success. He’s created a sense, that there’s no sector he can’t triumph over, including the political arena.
“As a brand, the fact that he has success at such a high level, people probably think that that can translate into any endeavor that he takes on,” says Tor Myhren, worldwide chief creative officer of the ad agency Grey. “That’s very attractive to people.”
- Differentiation is crucial to your personal branding success. If you are like everyone else in the market, you are just another product, and you look the same to the customer as all the other options.
Differentiate your brand: Trump targeted anti-establishment – the general dissatisfaction with both parties, experienced by the Americans. Citizens of all political backgrounds have a distaste for the “establishment,” and Trump served as an almost entirely opposite alternative. This differentiated him from his competitors, and made him stand out to people who felt that they had been forgotten or ignored by the political establishment.
- Using your personal brand like a filter allows you to more easily say yes to the right opportunities and say no to the wrong opportunities. Branding gives you clarity so that you can focus your energy on what’s truly important to you.
Identify and understand your target market: Trump clearly understands and has quite strategically focused on the niche audience – working-class white males, which is a large, but specific demographic. Trump wasn’t trying to win over “America.” He became laser-focused and greatly relevant to this audience, which led to greater brand evangelism and rapid expansion of his supporter base.
Despite divisive statements and proposals on the trail that have made Trump one of the most disliked presidential candidates ever, the campaign could actually help his brand in the long run, thought branding experts long before he became USA’s new president-elect.
The essence of personal branding is to associate a distinct set of values with a person. It’s not necessary for those values to actually be inherent; the audiences just have to be persuaded that they are and the rest is an evident history!