What is the Donald Trumps brand

Donald Trump is a total failure in marketing

Donald Trump - oh no, not that one again. On this side of the Atlantic, we don't really want to hear, see or read anything from the presidential actor over there. Until the news that he's finally gone. However, he is working diligently on this. And this fact makes it - in spite of all signs of fatigue - interesting again. Especially for everyone who deals with marketing. After all, with Trump, the Americans did not elect a politician to head the state for the first time, but one who always denied being one. Rather, Trump was a brand until then, something like Coca-Cola, Oreo or Ariel. Something you've seen on TV so often that you just try it out at some point. Since then, however, things have gone completely wrong with the Donald Trump brand.


"The Trump brand, which should stand for the president of all Americans, has finally degenerated into a fake."
On the one hand, of course, there are a number of political reasons, but they are only part of the story. Trump regularly crosses red lines - that of Charlottesville was apparently one too many. He has made it clear that he is not only suspected of xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism and that he sympathizes with right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis. If the businessman Trump weren't too self-indulgent and would only surround himself with salivators, he would probably take his head of marketing to his chest in view of the situation that this created. Because it's a bit like McDonald’s just want to sell the BigMac and nothing else. Trump stubbornly serves long-established regular customers, which according to all surveys is now a clear minority. He doesn't even try to appeal to new clients. Trump runs turtle businesses. Or is he perhaps not interested in re-election at all?

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A personality brand like him can be something very positive, and advertisers would be happy if there were more of them. Let us think - in a much more harmless context, of course - only of the coffee roaster Albert Darboven, who advertised his beans on television. Or to Claus Hipp, the friendly baby food patriarch. These are people who can create trust. Faces that stand for a product and at the same time for the company that makes it. They convey truthfulness. The Trump brand, on the other hand, which should stand for the president of all Americans, has finally degenerated into a fake.

He has meticulously built it up, this image of the tough real estate mogul who has become a billionaire with unconventional means and a lot of elbows (which, by the way, we don't know because he stubbornly keeps his tax return under lock and key). The old Anyone Can Do It story. In marketing, there is the classic triad for brand trust: create awareness, generate sympathy, arouse willingness to buy. Trump's election meant: Operation succeeded. The voters bought it. If you see it through business glasses: He has successfully established his brand in a completely new market. The superman from the business world is now showing how things are going in politics. And then he, very egomaniac, pulled the fur over the rabbit's ears unnecessarily.

Trump's success as an election campaigner is also related to the fact that there is an economy of attention these days. Twitter, the US President's preferred means of communication, gained an unexpected number of new users in the first quarter of this year, nine million. 8.9 million of these are attributed to Trump. The reputable New York Times and Wall Street Journal have also seen a remarkable increase in popularity since he took up his position. Obviously people are not only looking for news, but also for guides through the jungle of news that the Internet brings us. After all, the web is not only a convenient, everyday source of information, but also a haven of disinformation due to its overabundance. Too much, too fast, too often, too unreliably, news and incentives patter over us, whether from politics or business, and everyone wants to arouse desires. We are looking for orientation in this thicket. In other words: for truthfulness and trust. That's what brands stand for. Once I have found "my" brand, my world is in order and I can safely ignore the rest.

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You could now interpret that a brand is something good. She is not. It is only good for selling. In politics, for example, the populism brand has massively increased in value in recent years, "Zeit" editor-in-chief Giovanni di Lorenzo analyzed in his keynote address on this year's Best Brands, the event at which the best brands in Germany are awarded. Populism means orientation of the simple kind with clear guard rails and, above all, with images of the enemy. Which brings us back to the incumbent US President. Donald Trump's populism has not only harmed its own brand, but this movement as a whole. In Holland and France, the populists have stayed a long way from power, and this will also be the case in Germany. You cannot win in the wake of Trump.

The man can do marketing, as he proved in the election campaign. But he can't do politics. That's why he still appears as if he's campaigning. As much as we like to scold politicians, The Donald makes it clear that this trade is also for professionals. It would be interesting to know how his company's business is going in the face of the political debacle. After Charlottesville, charities would no longer book his golf club in Florida, where they would have liked to hold meetings for a lot of money, according to the American press. And nobody would buy a vacation villa in the Caribbean despite the price reduction, they say. Which is possibly due to the interior design "dictator-chic". Unfortunately, you don't find out more.

“Donald Trump's populism has not only harmed his own brand, but this movement as a whole. You can't win in Trump's waters. "
However, the fact that the Trump brand has now become a financial burden for the Trump company cannot be ruled out. Because the most important thing there is for a brand today (and that is often underestimated or overlooked by those responsible) is the product. Anyone who makes a promise about a product has to keep it. If the detergent does not actually wash whiter, then the customer trust, the essential capital of the brand, quickly turns to vinegar (by the way: did you notice that it hardly uses this kind of advertising anymore? There is a reason!). If the president only makes slogans instead of politics and does not keep his promises (as one actually knows from politicians, but did not expect from this anti-politician), something is rotten with the product. Quality has never been as valuable as it is today.