Is Donald Trump a super-successful businessman who has created a powerful brand around his name? Or is he an egomaniacal boor who has permanently damaged a brand that took decades to create?
No matter what your take on Donald Trump, one thing is for sure — his recent antics have done little to help the Trump brand. You could argue that any press is good press, but when journalists are calling Trump a blowhard and a phony, it’s hard to say that that’s a positive spin on a valuable brand name.
There’s a certain percentage of Americans who will love Donald Trump no matter what. For those people, the Trump brand is untarnished.
There’s another group who see him as an obnoxious boor with a fragile ego. We can assume those people will never be won over by the Trump brand.
But then there’s a third group in the middle. These are the people who can, with the right efforts, be swayed into buying something with the Trump brand name on it.
But if the Trump brand is associated with political sideshows, then who is going to buy into anything with the Trump name on it?
You may be thinking that there’s nothing to be learned from the Trump experience except, perhaps, to stay away from hairspray. But actually, all brands can learn something from his recent political missteps.
Whether you’re selling toothpaste, computers or glitzy hotel rooms, there are three categories of potential customers. Those who will never buy from you, those who will almost always buy from you and those who are on the fence.
Your primary branding efforts should be directed to the middle group — the people who are on the fence. Those are the people who are going to make or break your marketing efforts.
After all, you’re never going to win over the people who strongly dislike your brand. And you’ve already won over the people who strongly like your brand. So you need to focus on the middle third — the people on the fence who can be swayed by the proper PR, branding and marketing efforts.
All other things being equal, it’s safe to say that Trump’s middle third — those who have no opinion or who lean slightly one way or another about Trump — now have a less-than-flattering image of the Trump brand.
The bottom line: In my humble opinion — and I could be wrong about this — it took decades to create and promote the Trump brand, but in a few short weeks, The Trumpster himself has done more to set it back than any other person before him.
What’s your take on the Trump brand? Let us know in the poll below.