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How to brand yourself like Donald Trump

Love him or loathe him, real estate mogul, entrepreneur and reality television star Donald Trump has turned the 2016 Presidential race on its head with his brand of straight talk.
In this special issue focused on real estate marketing and public relations, writer Richard Bravo examines the branding machine that is helping drive the Trump campaign — and how you can sell yourself like The Donald …

Anyone who knows anything about Donald Trump knows he is a big thinker and even more so, an action taker. The Trump brand is a powerhouse that encompasses the globe.

From real estate development and brokerages, to casinos, hotels, golf courses, branded consumer goods ranging from golf clubs, restaurants, an airline, a furniture collection, a menswear label, boxed chocolates, loose leaf teas, vodka, a slew of books, bottled water, beauty pageants, modeling, a production company, ice skating rinks and yes… even a network marketing company [now defunct].

But the Trump brand doesn’t stop there.

Trump is a master brander
Trump is a master brander

On top of having two hit TV shows, The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, Trump has run, or dabbled in running for President of the United States of America three times. Now, heʼs making a full run for candidacy in 2015 with his “Make America Great Again” campaign.

The word Trump has become synonymous with success, luxury and being fearless. While some may say it’s too aggressive, like him or not, you have to respect what he’s accomplished.

From a sheer business perspective, it’s an impressive laundry list of success and failure and never being afraid of going at it again and again and never giving up.

So let’s jump in and get to the core of Brand Marketing Like Donald Trump: 7 Steps To Kick Ass Branding

Brand Marketing Strategy #1
Start right now, today: Every day, every minute you wait, is lost time, lost revenue, lost opportunity. Stop waiting to be ready and just get out there and do it already. Every day you procrastinate putting one foot in front of the other to get started is a day wasted.

It doesn’t matter how talented you are or how much you practice your craft and hone your skills. If you aren’t out there doing the stuff you’re good at (or getting good at), none of it matters.

Trump pre-launching  a new building with daughter Ivanka.
Trump pre-launching a new building with daughter Ivanka.

Like any construction project, there are phases to developing a brand. The next phase is what I call Project Buzz. There are three key “secrets” to

Trump style project buzz — pre-launch, construction highlights and and The Big Reveal.

Learning the art of the launch sequence are key elements in the Trump Empire launch blueprint. Whether it is a new brand or conducting a rebranding campaign.

Brand Marketing Strategy #2

It’s the pre-launch. Start talking about what you’re doing. Everyone loves the excitement around Trump revealing a new building, casino or golf course that’s being built. Fns, media, colleagues, they all show up to “the event” as the amazing “plan” is unveiled. It gets almost as much media attention as the actual reveal on opening day.

This pre-marketing mechanism includes things like getting your seed keywords in order. Identifying your audience and profiling your potential customers. Planning your video marketing and SEO strategies.

Photo by Gage Skidmore/ Flickr
Photo by Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

It is also time to start talking to your audience to establish your position in the marketplace. Plenty of brands in history have been rebranded, received a makeover or just plain started over with a new message and a new goal and became wildly successful. Start creating buzz around your brand right now.

Brand Marketing Strategy #3

Trump doesn’t wait for something to be “finished” to start promoting it. Marketing continues while the project is “under construction.”

While you build your brand, get out there and network. Talk about your vision, share your message with the masses. People love the anticipation of “coming soon.” Just look at movie trailers; it is the art of building anticipation at its finest.

Donald Trump announces purchase of Lowes Island Golf Club, renaming it Trump National Golf Club of Washington, DC, April 30, 2009, Sterling, Virginia by Rodney Choice
Donald Trump announces purchase of Lowes Island Golf Club, renaming it Trump National Golf Club of Washington, DC.                                         by Rodney Choice

One of the most effective ways to do this is video, which has become one of the most effective marketing media of all in today’s entertainment focused culture. A testament to which is the success of the Apprentice.

Take note and get out there and post updates about what you’re doing and share your thoughts and experience as you take your journey. It doesn’t matter if you’re new. If you’re active and excited about where you’re going, people will gravitate towards you. People always want to be part of something.

Brand Marketing Strategy #4

The Reveal. This is where you’ve gained some experience, cultivated an audience and you’re ready to rock.

At this point you start to do things like launching your own products, doing successful JVs, creating promotions for your mlm team.

How quickly you get here is up to you. And the really cool part, the reality is, you don’t need a multi-million dollar experience or budget to do it.

You can make a grand affair of even the smallest beginnings with the power of marketing. You can do this with a tiny list and nearly no experience. The power is in taking action and marketing it well.

How quickly you get here is based on you and the level you are willing to invest in yourself. The more you invest in you, the more you have to offer the marketplace.

The beauty of the entrepreneurial world is that anyone with a little ambition and ingenuity can get started today.

The next phase to branding like Trump could be considered maintenance mode. These are things you are going to do on an ongoing basis from the day you start in perpetuity.

It is vital to the success of the business and the level of attention your business will get, to implement these strategies.

Brand Marketing Strategy #5

Exposure is vital. You must get the word out that you’re in business. And this is one of the areas of marketing where Trump shines the most. He knows how to play the media. Don’t wait for someone else to talk about your business. You talk about your business and other people will start talking about your business.

Brand Marketing Strategy #6

Celebrity. This is huge! Think of Celebrity Apprentice and how well the show has done. People are voyeuristic and will live vicariously through you.

Leverage celebrity figures and notable brands in and out of your industry to build your own sense of celebrity.

Dropping by a movie premier. Photo via Flickr
Dropping by a movie premier.
Photo via Flickr

This allows you to piggy-back on the fame, trust, name and audience of that brands success. Which in turn raises your brand’s awareness and celebrity status with your audience.

When people see you mentioned alongside a celebrity figure they instinctually associate you with that celebrity and attach a level of celebrity to you.

One way to do this is by attending industry events. The people you meet and the experience you have is priceless. The pictures and video opps you have are worth thousands, even millions.

Connect with people and talk with them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn after the event. These are “public” forums and platforms where the masses congregate.

It’s a virtual world and information and conversations can go viral at any moment. These are all things you can do to establish the “celebrity” factor in your brand.

You hang out at cool events and rub shoulders with the super stars and recognized names in the industry. Some of that celebrity is transferred to you by default. Cultivate it and seek it out with intention.

Brand Marketing Strategy #7

Think Big And Kick Ass is the title of one of Trumpʼs books and the icon of everything Trump. The key in this secret is all about getting your team together.

When you start out you may be required to “boot strap” your business. The only thing on your mind may be “I hope we break even this month.” You have to think bigger than that. Are you really going into business for mediocre results? Are you really going to take the entrepreneurial journey just to break even?

There are far easier ways to make a buck in this life than being an entrepreneur. To be bigger, you have to think bigger.

That means you have to envision your business and its reach outside of the limitations of yourself.

The entire industry is based on leveraging the power and resources of a team. Leadership isn’t about doing everything yourself or being a super star with mega talent.

Leadership is about seeing the big icture, cultivating a vision and organizing an ambitious team to take action. Leaders furnish the inspiration for something bigger. The “bigger” furnishes the inspiration for us.

Always guard your brand.
Always guard your brand.

Finally, always guard your brand.

As Trump himself says, “If I were to put Trump on everything that came my way – from potato chips to paper clips – the power of my name would be diluted. I’m very demanding and selective about where that name goes. And I always try to make sure the letters are in gold.”


Richard Bravo is an entrepreneur and digital marketing strategist specializing in sales funnel optimization and branding.

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