The US election date is coming closer. On 8 November 2016 we will know which candidate did a better job in blowing their own TRUMPet. Personal Branding is a practice of individuals, marketing themselves and their careers as distinctive brands. It is an ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, a group, or an organization. A personal brand can help individuals to win elections, but it also helps to achieve many other desired goals. Time to look at the most controversial and polarizing figure of this year’s US election. Is there something that can be learned from Trump’s trumpeting?
Design your personal brand…
by assessing and emphasizing your personal attributes and values; evaluate the impact these may have on the audience you wish to reach. Ensure these attributes and values produce the desired image and reputation. A strong personal brand will in turn create a strong following.
Stay distinctive and reliable…
in how you represent yourself! Consistency is key in branding. Whether it is a product or service (which can be a person) – a strong personal brand like ‘Trump’, wins with distinctiveness, his outstanding remarks and actions (good or bad) position his personal brand.
A strong personal brand can be presented in less than a minute. Find your “personal tag line”. What do you stand for? Does your anchor statement picks the listener’s interest? Consistent and frequent communication and ongoing uninterrupted presence get the message across. Whatever you do – deliver on the promise! People want to get what they expect. Well, Trump gets that one right. On top, he has personal style…one might hate the way he wears his hair, but the image resonates with the relevant public. Stand out…be recognisable!
To get unique points of differentiation across, it is important to use as many channels as possible…
to promote your image and brand. Many traditional channels such as television, journals and newspapers, are still available but maybe costly. Be smart, be interruptive, go rogue…the internet including its many tentacles i.e. social media has long become the answer to many questions, its power is unmeasured and if harnessed it can give you the edge over your competition. Trump has worked on successfully channelling his self-promotion for decades and uses all kinds of media to be present in peoples’ minds. There is even a building in New York named after him. A strong personal brand knows exactly what it stands for and how it is different from its competitors. Communication is key, so find a powerful way to talk about your unique selling points, it will inspire confidence in others.
Find supporters that spread the word for you!
Do you recognise this situation…you are strolling through the mall and all of a sudden a huge crowd is starting to build up; many, including you, are intrigued but have no idea why or what is going on or may be on offer. You cue anyway. It is this curiosity within the human nature that makes us to followers.
A big part of a personal brand’s success is of course its supporters. Find a tag line that sums up your message and let others spread the word for you. Use people within your network and get them talking about your ideas. The right idea or piece of content shared at the right time can have a tremendous snowball effect.
Fight for your ideas and let others know about it!
People love someone who shows passion for their principles. If you enter the battleground with others over your unique ideals, the relevant public will consider you a brave fighter, a characteristic that is essential for any leader. Push your message, if need be attack the competition, their personal brands and messages. By challenging others’ ideas, you elevate yourself at the same time and thus create the ‘lime light’ needed to stand out. Be a strong personal brand! In this respect Mr. Trump’s approach maybe radical, you may even call it ‘branding in bad faith’, bearing in mind his continuous attack of minority groups. However, by doing so, he is creating controversial situations, picking battles that reinforce his personal brand and develop the relevant public as followers.
Lip service is easy, there are many examples in today’s national and internal politics, and elsewhere for that matter. To become a real influencer and thought leader or better, personal brand, you have to be able to walk the talk. Actions speak louder than words.
A strong personal brand has to take a stand for what it portrays. The plan of how to get there is a step in the right direction. And it helps of course if you have a proven track record of success. Ultimately though it is the actions that follow the portrayal, which will see others gravitate towards your brand and what it shares or does. A strong personal brand leads by example.
Let’s be honest – often we look for ways to say something in a diplomatic way, although we are ready to through convention and manners out the window. Trump is straightforward. No Mister “Nice Guy”, you get what you see. He doesn’t mould what he has to say to embolden his position with a certain audience. A strong personal brand is simple in its authenticity. In Trump’s example, his opinions may be offensive, unpopular or politically incorrect. However, he doesn’t back down from his beliefs. As long as the relevant public perceives the words and actions of a personal brand as authentic, you’re half way there. Be yourself!
Have a story to tell!
Apart from your proven track-record, people want to know where you’re coming from. They want to know your background, the roots to your personal brand. A strong and honest story about where you came from and what has influenced you to do the work you’ve done, will connect you with the relevant public at a deeper level. Your personal brand needs to be more than a single elevator pitch. The best brands feature multiple, complementary messages that weave together to form an accessibly complex and in-depth communication.
Don’t forget to register!
Finally, do not forget to register your personal brand. Donald did! He has a number of registrations with the US Patent and Trade Mark Office for various goods/ services.
Don’t be blindsided, a strong brand needs strong protection!