Opinion

How "human brand" Donald Trump can win the presidency

4 min read

23 September 2015

By utilising his huge brand qualities Donald Trump could persuade Americans to make him president.

Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, said: “Joe McGinniss wrote ‘The Selling of the President’, analysing the marketing of Richard Nixon during the 1968 presidential campaign. It was the first-of-its-kind introduction to the concept of stage-managed presidential campaigns to the public and a primer for how to turn a candidate into a brand, in that instance the creation of the ‘new Nixon’.”

Some 47 years later the US electorate faces a new paradigm shift; changing a “human brand” into a candidate, this time the creation of candidate Donald Trump. No matter how you feel about Trump, his political positions, his standings in the polls, or even his hairstyle, one thing is undeniable – Donald Trump is a human brand extraordinaire!

We’re talking real “human brand,” folks. Not a celebrity only, but an actual human being who represents 100 per cent of the values of the company he represents.

“Human brand” is a designation representing the highest level of imbued meaning, values, and differentiation any brand can be. And, despite how many marketers prattle on about everything and everyone being a “brand,” Trump is one of a very small club of human brands, with values and qualities that allow him to successfully expand into multiple and diverse categories, well beyond foundation products like real-estate and TV shows.

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Here’s just a few: catering, sales and leasing, hospitality, golf, home furnishings, ice-cream, vodka, wine, men’s apparel, ties, jewellery, fragrances, books, bottled water, and the list goes on.

Adding the Trump name increases the perceived value of a product or service anywhere from 20 per cent to 37 per cent, enviable by any category standards. And in terms of consumer emotional engagement adding the Trump brand causes the product or service to be seen as better able to meet consumer expectations for the values that drive positive behaviour in a particular category.

Can brand Trump become president Trump?

If one were to voice the ideal Republican presidential candidate, based on how the Republican electorate sees them, he or she might sound like this: “I have been successful solving all the problems I’ve faced over the years. I look at solutions and have learned to focus on what will provide results. Things are broken and they need to be fixed. We need to make America great again. One measure of our greatness is its ability to show concern for all citizens in fair and equitable ways.”

Sound familiar? Keep in mind that during a presidential campaign the air is full of speeches – and vice versa. So if you were to sift through all the current political rhetoric, the sound bites and tweets, underplay a bit of the bombast, and overlook some of the more unpleasant and belligerent statements, who does that sound like to you?