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Has Donald Trump Tarnished the Trump Brand Name?

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?

Or both?

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.

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Posted by Jamie Turner, Chief Content Officer of the 60 Second Marketer. Jamie is also the co-author of How to Make Money with Social Media.

  • I’ve considered Donald Trump an obnoxious, juvenile, sleazy, deceptive, nasty blowhard for over 20 years, since I first started reading about him in the late 80’s.

    I’ve always considered Trump a moronic clown, with no class. He’s like the loudmouth at the bar who forces everyone around him to listen to his ignorant rantings at high volume.

    But just when I thought he couldn’t be more odious and more of a buffoon, he has now stooped to a new low: racist talk and race-bating. Even by the very low standards of Donald Trump, it’s disgusting.

    Is the management of NBC taking note of this, or are they pretending not to know about it?

    Does NBC want to continue promoting a man who is clearly playing the race card, trying to stir up the fears of some whites about “affirmative action” and sanctioning the longstanding beliefs of many white conservatives that no black person can ever qualify for admission to the best schools? Even one who went on to the White House?

    It’s repulsive to see what Trump will do to draw attention to himself. Or, is he saying this because, deep down, he actually shares these reprehensible, racist views?

    Will NBC continue to give Trump a prime time show, even after these horrendous remarks? (And they aren’t an “unfortunate slip of the tongue”; he’s been doing it for weeks.)

    Does NBC want to be associated with Trump after this, just the latest in his string of outrageous, race-bating moves?

  • Imuguiro09

    I’m from Europe and therefore not exposed to Trump activities. Nevertheless, I remember Donald Trump from the times I was young and read financial press. I still remember his bankruptcy and how awesome war his recovery. But since then, all I heard about him (not very often) has been bad. And my opinion on him has worsened eves since. Probably being from Europe I have seen in him the ugly american side that puts us off without the merits and greatness of the typical american folk.

  • Great, vibrant comments, folks. Keep ’em coming!

  • Howardclark

    You’re so right. He blew it. Amazing that a smart guy would pick a declining issue and seize upon it – the classic opportunist. He tried to appeal to our lowest instincts, and it backfired.

    In news interviews, he appears to be an “I’m in charge know-it-all” talking down to his interviewers. And his huge ego constantly shows (I’m educated, successful, and have money)

    I think he is coming to the realization that he has damaged his brand, and he’s trying to “bully” his way out of it through the media.

    And, as you say, he did this to himself.

  • It’s so funny — when I wrote this post, I was nervous about offending the hard-core Trump fans, so I tried to take a balanced approach (even though I personally think Trump is a mean-spirited bully).

    Based on the survey results, it looks as though there aren’t as many hard core Trump fans as I thought.

    Perhaps there’s hope for humanity after all.

    — Jamie

  • BigpacificMedia.com

    This is an excellent example of a post that expresses a definite opinion that comes from a place of strategy and business sense and isn’t a vitriolic attack (I might have difficulty restraining myself there, frankly). I would be curious to know the click-thru rate on the email/rss feed for this post, and this post in comparison to other high-conversion posts you’ve done. Good job!

  • Hi, Big Pacific Media —

    Thanks for your question about the web analytics around this blog.

    I just checked my Google Analytics and compared this post to previous blog posts uploaded during the same Thursday/Friday period.

    It looks as though this post is getting about 400% more views than one of our regular Thursday/Friday posts.

    I’ve promoted this post somewhat heavily on Twitter, so that could have bumped up the results. But the vast majority of the visits are viral and seem to be coming from people who see Donald Trump as “an obnoxious, juvenile, sleazy, deceptive, nasty blowhard” (Jim’s words below).