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The Brand of Trump

You could make a case he’s one of the most well-known individuals on the planet. For years, Donald Trump has flirted with running for President while simultaneously staying extraordinarily prominent in the (non-political) public eye. Though it’s still very early in the process in determining the candidates for the next election, arguably no other candidate right now other has taken full advantage of branding their campaign like Trump. Whether you’re a supporter or find The Donald to be cringe-worthy, it’s hard to dispute that almost everyone has an opinion of him. And that is power.

Trump’s personal website cites him as the “very definition of the American success story,” and in some ways it’s hard to argue with that statement. Not only has he conquered the real estate and business worlds in his decades-long reign of relevance, he has also mastered the media. Very early in the race, Trump has become the prominent figure, and in a race that includes several Washington D.C. heavyweights, that’s an impressive feat. Since the first Republican Debate, Trump has received more coverage than the other sixteen candidates. Combined.

Think about that for a second. Trump’s brand is so big it overshadows the brand of sixteen other candidates. Wouldn’t you like your brand to overshadow your sixteen nearest competitors? And Trump’s never even held political office! It speaks to the value of staying power. Brands are not built overnight – each step in building a brand is as important as the next. While he has no hands-on political experience, he’s a likely front-runner for an upcoming United States Presidential nomination.

As the host of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice, his brand slunk into the living room of millions of Americans over the span of a decade. Though at the time it seemed like purely entertainment, it all helped build the Trump brand. His name made headlines, his opinions were out there and many people know him enough to at least consider voting for him as our Commander-in-Chief. Given his celebrity status, that is an incredible feat.

For business owners, there are lessons to be learned from Trump’s handling of his own brand over the last few decades. To me, it’s never been a race to any finish line for Trump. Trump himself has even professed to have no obsession with wealth or money, but instead with “winning”. He views his own wealth as evidence of personal victories and he’s a tenacious competitor. His winning mentality makes him one of the most surprising candidates to emerge in the past few elections, and it will be interesting to see the next few chapters in Trump’s brand unfold.