The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Brand Trump


Since the advent of social media, I doubt there have been many events that have garnished as many comments, engagement, and mainstream media column inches as the US Presidential election, and in particular about Donald J. Trump.

I have often cited Trump, the businessman, as an example of a strong personal brand. He often followed the three C’s of branding – Clarity of message, Consistent delivery of that message and Constantly working at getting that message heard and noticed in his business dealings.

Without getting into an intense political debate, it could be argued that he delivered on the latter in his political run, but missed the mark on the clarity and consistency.

There is going to be a lot more said and written about this election, his presidency, as well as the hours spent analyzing why and how he became the 45th President of the United States.

So what were the plus and minus aspects of his campaign from a branding perspective?

The Good

  • He kept his messaging simple, very simple. He maintained his one slogan, “Make America Great Again” throughout his campaign. All the various sound bites, controversial aspects and twitter tirades still boiled down to his conviction that those actions and promises would make America great again.
  • He knew who his target audience was. He tapped into their pains and problems and offered solutions. The disenfranchised manufacturing mid-West rustbelt was arguably the region that won Trump the presidency.
  • He stood out. He constantly contrasted himself from his opponents and was not shy in pointing it out. He out maneuvered them in tactics and use of social media. He even bought the web domain and redirected it to his own website in the primaries!

The Bad

  • Lack of focus. He lost track with the flow in many of his speeches and when giving answers in the debates. He had a tendency to feel he needed to make the answer fill the time allotted or have the response sound more impressive.
  • Lack of preparation. Only in the latter parts of the campaign, after much pressure from his team did he sometimes resort to using an autocue. He liked to make off the cuff remarks in order to appear sharp on his feet.
  • Lack of help. Trump is a controlling figure and either due his learned business approach or frustration with the GOP, he tried to go it alone many times. Staff came and went if they did not ‘buy in’ to his way.

The Ugly

  • Bad taste in the mouth. Many of the offensive and negative comments he made may have been mostly for show or ego, but people will take longer to forgive or forget, if ever.
  • Unanswered questions. Failing to address his tax returns, outstanding lawsuits, and other allegations have left many people still wondering.
  • Naïve. His lack of political experience and his hard-held belief that a country can be run like one of his companies may prove to be too simplistic.

Only one week one being President-elect is too soon to be looking at the possibility of success or failure in 4 years time. There does seem to be more concern than hope at this stage. Only time will tell if the President Trump brand becomes memorable for the right reasons.

What did you see as the good, bad or ugly of his brand?

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