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Branding Tips From Donald Trump

Unless you live under a rock, youíve probably heard that Donald Trump is running for President of the United States. That he can credibly do this and that so many people care about it has a lot to do with how The Donald has created his brand. You may not aspire to be like Trump, but if you run a company there are several important lessons to learn from him. Most notably in the area of personal branding. The fact is that he has branded himself more effectively than almost any entrepreneur alive.

Letís look at how Donald has created such a mighty brand and how you can do the same. In my view he has followed three of the most fundamental laws of branding impeccably.

For better or worse, Donald Trumpís positioning is super clear. He is synonymous with brazen success and wealth. In the last ten years did you ever see Trump interviewed about anything else? Very rarely. He sticks to his brand, night and day, in what he says, does and where he is seen. He is very clear about the message he wants to convey, about himself and his company. Year after year.

Compare that with most entrepreneurs: they are neither sure what their brand stands for nor consistent in how they position themselves. As a result most CEOís and entrepreneurs have extremely weak brands.

Ask yourself this: what exactly do I, or does my company, stand for? And are we embodying that in everything we say and do?

This is a very important aspect of branding and one poorly understood. To have a very strong brand, you must make a stand about something. You have to be willing to be different, to separate yourself from the pack. Now as soon as you do that you will get people who disagree with your stand and will actively dislike you because of it. You will get detractors.

To be known, you can be either liked or disliked. In fact you canít create raving fans without also creating the opposite. Anyone who has no Ďanti- fansí does not have a strong brand. If you play it safe and are scared of offending anyone, you may well have no haters but you will have few deep admirers as well.

Trump understands this. He is quite prepared to be disliked by many, knowing that he is becoming known by many. Now you probably wouldnít want to get noticed the same way as Trump is going about it, but you must be prepared to be different, even controversial, if you want to develop a strong brand.

Iíve been mentoring companies and entrepreneurs on branding for over 25 years. And one of the main errors I see CEOís make is they go to all the trouble of developing a good brand positioning and then they whisper it to the world.

Fast forward 18 months and their oh so clever brand is virtually invisible.

Look, it doesnít matter how good your brand is on paper, unless you get out there and shout it from the rooftops, youíll never get famous.

Thereís just too much competition out there, too much media noise. Only those who endlessly push their own barrows will get heard above the din. You may not like promoting yourself or your company, but you have to do it if you want to get all the benefits that a stellar brand enjoys. This is no time to be a wallflower. Iím not saying you have to exude the braggadocio of Donald Trump, but you do have to be loud, in your own way. Not just once either. Constantly. For years. Thatís just how most enduring brands are built.

Will Donald Trump become President? Probably not, and he knows it. But he also knows that no matter what happens he will win. Because he will become even more known, and his brand will become even stronger, worldwide. Trump is all about building his brand and he knows that running for President is just another way of doing it.

So in conclusion, you certainly donít have to be like Donald to create a great brand. But you should emulate his brand building prowess. Just follow the three branding laws above, as he does, and youíll be more famous than almost all of your competitors.

– Siimon Reynolds

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