Donald Trump & Lessons In Personal Branding

Every brand, whether personal or a business, has a set of core values that guide them. Some are undefined, but they exist and they are what make that person or brand unique. But what happens when people start to threaten the core values that make your brand great? Do you back down? The answer for Donald Trump is no.

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I have absolutely no comment on Donald Trump and politics. Nor do I agree with him or disagree with him. Really could care less.

One thing that is fascinating to watch though is the protection of ones personal brand through re-framing and sticking to the persona that has historically made you successful, even among chaos.

To say we have never seen anything like it would be an understatement. There may be no human being on the face of the earth as out spoken and seemingly crazy as Donald Trump. But you have to give him credit for one thing, he hasn’t broke his brand persona of being brash, bold and outspoken.

Most people who know him personally, like Larry King, would tell you Donald Trump is a really nice person. So why is he the way he is on the Apprentice and during his Presidential run? Why is he so loud?

It is his brand.

The same reason you can not imagine someone like Donald Trump not apologizing is exactly why he is not. When you have outwardly made a persona for your brand, business or personal, it is hard not to be consistent.

Enter Zappos.

On my 2nd tour through their HQ, i realized something. They were faking excitement to see another tour group. I think some were probably excited but most could not wait for us to pass their department. They had to be consistent with the brand they have expressed outwardly to the public. Heaven forbid we found out that they were actually not like that! Then again, maybe that is what happens when you make a business out of touring your own headquarters.

I think the main lesson we can learn on personal and business branding is that it isn’t to be taken lightly and once you start to publicly put yourself out there, it really does become permanent. PR scholars may very well look back at this time with some fascinating takeaways not that different than the era of P.T. Barnum.

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