Looking for a Brand New You?

Trump – a candidate or a brand?

Posted on: Thursday, October 27, 2016 Category: Blog (58)
Uncategorized (59)
2 min read

Regardless of whether or not you pay attention to American politics, you will know who Trump is.  You will know what he stands for.  And it’s usually offensive.

Trump’s presidential campaign has been anything but a farce. From claiming that he will build an unrealistic “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall”  along the Mexico border and not pay for it, to mass deportation, and that disgraceful and sexist leaked video from 2005 (warning: explicit language), it is a wonder as to how such a “man” made it this far in US politics.

So how has Trump convinced millions of American people that he is going to “make America great again”? It’s in the personal brand. Trump.

First and foremost, Donald Trump is a celebrity and his surname is his brand. John Oliver discusses (warning: explicit language) how the Trump’s recognised the power of a name and how it can be a brand, with their surname change from the much less flattering Drumpf. Now Trump is emblazoned everywhere – one has to wonder if there was ever a marketing strategy? Developers seek out Trump for his name, to endorse their product. Trumphas further enhanced his brand, with his 15 season long the Apprentice show, and cameo appearances in film.

The word ‘trump’ itself carries meaning, as a verb it means to win, and by that it telegraphs status and legitimacy. It is Trump’s brand that made him the preferred nomination for the Republican party.

This phenomenon can be explained by Herbert Kelman’s (1958) three processes of attitude changing. One of the factors, identification, refers to changing of attitudes or behaviours due to the influence of someone that is liked. Brands that use celebrities to market their products are an example of taking advantage of this phenomenon. For example, you’re more inclined to drink Pepsi over Coca-Cola, if Beyonce is seen with a bottle of the former. Celebrities nowadays are prominent in advertising their name as a product. The Kardashians market various cosmetics, fragrances, and clothing under their surname – as do musicians such as Taylor Swift and Katy Perry who both have a line of fragrances. Between the other three Republican candidates  Trump won as his voters were endorsing a celebrity, a brand.

While not the most noble example, Trump’s rise in the US political landscape shows just how powerful a personal brand can be. The embodiment of you, your values and goals when envisioned into a brand can – to certain lengths – become a world leader. Your brand can be more than a product. It can be an endorsement, a powerful symbol, that people will want to be attached to.

BUT – you HAVE to have some content, or else you get found out – as just keeps happening to Trump.


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