10 Unusual & Shrewd ‘Donald Trump Brand’ Strategies, For Magic Growth

By Dr. John Tantillo, - In Marketing

Picture of Donald Trump who has developed a easily recognizable Donald Trump Brand

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump is a media genius. It’s been said that he is the greatest promoter since PT Barnum—the person who put the American circus on the map by signing high-profile acts that got everyone talking.

But if one is not in show business, what can the Donald Trump brand teach us? Here are Ten Particulars that we can learn from The Donald and apply to our respective businesses.

Image of a PDF downloadable mock up report of Donald Trumps Branding Strategies

1. Promote Your Brand With Confidence

Picture of the Donald Trump Brand looking confident on stage

Confident Looking Trump

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As New York Mets, baseball fans used to like to say: “U gotta believe!” This means you have to believe in your brand and publicize it with conviction if you want to succeed. Equivocation can work in some circles, but never in business. If you do not believe in your brand, engage an executive coach who can assist you to resolve this critical issue. Remember: “You gotta believe!”

2. Be Passionate About Your Message

Picture of Donald Trump in the Donald Trump Brand Giving Passionate Speech

Trump Giving Passionate Speech

Nothing is more infectious than passion. Barbara Corcoran believes that “you can’t fake it” and the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre says, “We must act out passion before we can feel it.” Trump’s repeated use of adjectives whenever he delivers a speech, his energy when he interacts with people, his thirst to garner support for his positions are all qualities that can assist us in our quest to become a successful business brand. If we are passionate about what we are selling, then we too can become a brand that is noticed in the marketplace.

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3. Be Yourself

Picture of Donald Trump being the Donald Trump Brand - Be Yourself

Be Yourself

Corcoran’s adage that you cannot fake passion dovetails with this idea of being yourself. It is part of the confidence/passion message that Trump promotes about his brand. To thine own brand be true is so Trump that it does not even need clarification. One thing you cannot say about DT—he is a phony. Whether you like him or not (warts and all), he says what’s on his mind, and you know what you are getting. However, do remember that he is a TV personality brand who can get away with outrageous statements, which we mere mortals cannot execute with the same kind of response. The lesson here is not to be something that you are not. If you are a quiet type personality, then never try to be a backslapping, joke-cracking type. It is not your brand. Emphasize the knowledge quality of your brand where customers come to you for product/service knowledge, not for the joke of the day. There are enough websites that can provide humor for your clients; feel free to refer your clients to them. It is part of your brand (information provider). The takeaway, be yourself, and good things will happen. Just look at Trump. And, oh yes, then “Go Brand Yourself!”


4. Confront The Competition


Part of the fun watching Mr. Trump is when he “goes after” his competition after they attack him. Once again, most of us are not reality show personalities, but there is something that we can incorporate into our business lives. This means promoting our value-added and benefit differences. In marketing, it is referred to as brand differentiation. Brand differentiation is the tactic where we, as a brand,  underscore how and why we are different. We do this so that present customers will continue to use, or new customer will sample your alleged benefit. Time after time, Trump communicates how his brand is different from his competition. It is his direct style that keeps his brand from getting past a defined customer ceiling. Try to think how best to convert as many clients as you can. This leads to the fifth item.

5. Don’t Attack But DO Confront Your Competition

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As marketers, we must find the right balance of taking on your competitors with a positive benefit message rather than a frontal attack. But make no mistake, at one point you will have to confront your competition, especially if you are successful at what you do. We should be reminded that “the higher you go up the tree, the more your backside shows.” With that said, once you are a player within your industry, you eventually will have to deal with competitors’ attacks. But never take an attack personally—it is business, and one should respond in a tough but appropriate manner. Emphasize your benefits and why your brand makes the case for your present and future customers. Nothing works better than playing to self-interest, and if there are more benefits for customers to use your brand, then you will win the battle of the brands.

6. Don’t Underestimate Your Competition

Concept Pitcure of Donald Trump Flicking His Competision Out Of His Hair - Donald Trump Brand Dont Underestimate Your Competition

Trumps Competition

Group think can kill your business. Consider the pondering (or perhaps lack of) that went on with the Blackberry handheld device that virtually no one uses today. Blackberry management never saw the iPhone coming and thus lost market share overnight. If there is any lesson we can learn from Trump, it is underestimating the competition. Jeb Bush thought that Trump would be finished in a few weeks after making remarks against Senator John McCain regarding the senator’s POW “loser” status. Mr. Trump is still around, and Mr. Bush is just hanging on in the polls, even with a significant campaign war chest. You should heed the warning: “always be assessing,” (ABA) your competitors. Otherwise, you could be the “also-ran” of your industry.

Image of a PDF downloadable mock up report of Donald Trumps Branding Strategies

7. Know Your Target Market (TM)


Marketers often say: “sell them what they want but give them what they need.” Mr. Trump certainly knows how his talking points resonate with his Target Market. This is key to developing your brand. The issue is, how do you increase your Target Market without alienating your current customers? In other words, how do you continue to know your current TM and then expand to another market that may not need your particular brand.

The answer is to create another brand that will attract a different market segment. Think Ford, the everyman brand, with The Lincoln brand as its upscale alternative or even Toyota and the Lexus brands. The message here is to know your customers so that you can satisfy their needs. Perhaps Trump has the selling part down and is struggling with giving his present and eventually future Target Market what it needs.

8. Don’t Be Arrogant

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Well, there is no denying it: Donald Trump is arrogant. This rarely works long-term for TV personalities and never works in general business. The issue is that there are many options to choose in business, so when arrogance shows its ugly head, there is always someone or another brand to turn to. Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, the character who screams at his customers if they do not follow the rules when ordering the BEST soup in the world, may be a rare exception. The problem is that this arrogant attitude gets tired very quickly, and guess what? No matter how good you are, there is always another brand around the bend that can knock you off. It is called a fad and the ninth item to consider.

9. Don’t Be A Fad! Think Long-Term

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A fad can best be defined, according to Google Search, as “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.”  

Some would say that Donald Trump is a fad, but for now he is a brand force that his Republican colleagues must engage. Many restaurants are fads, and this is why your business, like restaurants, must “always be branding,” to avoid long-term failure. Always branding means assessing why your customers like your business and how you can continue to offer real benefits to them.

For example, if you offer a product, let’s say NYC hot dogs, and your competitors do the same, there must be other featured products, e.g., perhaps a jelly donut that has peanut butter as well as jelly inside that give your customers another reason to come back to your place. This avoids the boredom effect. As you must know as a marketer, the danger in any business is for your customers to get tired of your brand. You do this by always giving the same consistent positive experience every time they buy from you, along with giving them a unique experience so that they return. So, don’t be a fad! Always be branding, which means be consistently satisfying the needs of your customers.

10. Don’t Be The Center of Attention

A picture perfectly illustrating Donald Trump Brand is the center of attention, that is a mistake Don’t Be The Center of Attention

Lots of Attention on Donald Trump

When one is in the company of TV personalities, they are always the center of attention. If you are not hosting a TV game show, here is what you must do to ensure success.   Repeat this every day, and if you do so, you will never go wrong: “It is not about you, It is all about your customer.”

Picture of a quite It's Not About You, It's About Your Customers" - Dr. John Tantillo


The greatest compliment that this author ever received was from a client who told me, “The impressive thing about you is that you listen!” LISTEN to your customers. If you do that and remember that is it is not about you but about them, then maybe you will be even more successful than Donald Trump’s Republican presidential bid. And, oh yes, it is always easier when you have marketing and branding in mind. Image of a PDF downloadable mock up report of Donald Trumps Branding Strategies

Branding Editor

Branding and Marketing Expert, Speaker, and teacher who writes about branding