Donald Trump is a controversial figure to many. However, no one can deny that Trump built his entire life on marketing and promoting his own personal brand. Trump successfully cast himself as a maverick billionaire. He has also established himself as the candidate that goes against the grain. This is his own personal strategy, but one that might not work for a typical business leader or politician. It is his own brand of reputation management.
Each person, looking to make an impact, must access their own personal brand and remain truthful to themselves about its effectiveness. If the brand does not produce the desired reputation, then changes are in order. Reputation marketing has the power, if used correctly, to create an environment and responses an individual or company looks for.
Trumps signature statement, and brand, “Make America Great Again” resonated with those who were to become his unyielding base of supporters. One might say this was his signature call to arms. He created a brand he hoped would later translate into specific policies.
Trump also understood that an effective brand can be effectively be presented in less than a minute. Through short, decisive, words Trump was able to brand his political opponents to a point where it became impossible for them to recover. On their end, a robust attempt at reputation repair may have given them a better chance to survive his political onslaught.
Trump analyzed the political pool of Republican candidates that were mostly career politicians who act and speak the same. His branding strategy was to be the complete opposite in both word and deed. He was never diplomatic, and cared even less about being politically correct. He simply branded himself as being a new type of candidate—one who understood the needs and wants of his base, and being the one person who could deliver.
It remains to be seen whether his own personal branding approach will hold. The fact remains that no one should ever underestimate the power of a compelling story or catch-phrase. Every brand, ultimately, should offer more than a single sound bite or a slick elevator pitch. Otherwise, if things go wrong, an individual runs the risk of damaging their brand. The only available solution then will be to repair a bad reputation.
As such, Trump utilizes Twitter to speak directly to his base at every opportunity. He employs unfiltered tweets that are spontaneous and that reveal his personal feelings about any subject he chooses. So far, he appears to understand the game of reputation management better than anyone else.