Bad Hair and Personal Branding
Some people have remarkable branding ability. During a historic week when President Obama was dealing with serious international issues and the subsequent capture and killing of our nation's number-one enemy, Donald Trump was cashing in on all the free press he could muster. He did this by appearing in print, on TV, radio and everywhere else possible to attack the president's citizenship with demands to see his birth certificate.
The president, in front of the press corps, laughingly broke out the paper work. Perhaps, unbeknownst to the American public at the time, with all the heavy issues at hand it was levity he was looking for and Trump's ridiculous politicized poking and prodding offered just that. In 30 seconds flat, his birth place was no longer at issue and he was able to get back to the serious business of the presidency while Trump moved on to the next issue he deemed worthy of ranting about: Obama's school grades.
But something else in last week's passage came to mind, at least for me, with regard to Donald Trump. Like other high profile personalities, e.g., Madonna or Michael Jackson, Trump has had an awesome ability to turn the spotlight on himself and incredibly over the course of decades, he has kept it there. Maintaining relevance and building a brand comes down to enduring presence. How is this accomplished? With a budget and personality. Trump clearly has both.
The old adage, "There is no such thing as bad press" is true for "The Donald." With all of his egotistical ravings, his equally well-branded and never-changing bad hair, the public marriage failures and bankruptcies, Trump is currently tied as a front runner for the GOP nomination for the 2012 presidential race. In a sea of noise and banter, he has found a way to be many decibels above the rest and have his voice be heard.
It remains to be seen if he will be able to maintain a forerunner spot on the ballot, especially when the race becomes less of a circus show and a dialog on more serious issues begins. But I can guarantee Celebrity Apprentice will see improved ratings this season. Whether you love him or hate him, Trump has succeeded in building his brand. We as business owners, marketing professionals and brand builders might want to pay attention to this guy, not necessarily to the message—but definitely to the method.