What can businesses learn from the Donald Trump presidency? Branding matters.

February 22, 2019

*Image curtesy of Mashed / Youtube

Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States of America, was a celebrity business Mogul before assuming office on January 20, 2017. He had numerous business ventures from commercial property, resorts, hotels, TV shows and others. He was a highly successful business person, in fact, a recent article from Bloomberg suggests that his 2018 annual income was US $452.6M and other sources have stated that he is the first billionaire president. By all accounts, he is and was a successful business person before he became president.

However, various online articles have suggested that since Trump’s business ventures have declined in profits since he assumed office. According to a Bloomberg article, Trump’s income reduced to US $434.6M in 2018 (from US $452.6M in 2017). While the article cites some successes in various hotels and other ventures, it signaled a decrease in total revenue, including many commercial vacancies in his landmark Manhattan commercial property, Trump Tower.

Some analyst and observers have suggested that the reasons for this decline in revenue, amongst other factors, is the fact that there is significant negative press towards Donald Trump the president and therefore the business brand. In my view, this a no brainer. The Trump business brand is inextricably linked to Donald Trump the president, you can't divorce the two. Therefore, given the negative media coverage of Trump across the global, it inevitably translated into a negative impact on his business brand and businesses.  

So, what can we learn from this branding lesson? At MGA we believe a few key foundational things about branding:

1.     A brand takes a lifetime to build and a second to destroy: In order to be a successful company in any given industry,understanding branding and the power of it is extremely important. Your brand must be clear and simple but yet convey clearly what you offer and stand for.  It takes time to build a strong brand and sometimes decades and therefore we must be patient with it.  However, the lesson we learn from Trump’s business ventures is that we must be careful to protect it. It takes a longtime to build a brand however it only takes a few wrong decisions to destroy or tarnish it. While Trump’s companies remain profitable, there is little doubt that his political views and public persona have had a negative impact on his business brands and therefore his profits.


2.     Attach a brand to a company rather than a name: At MGA, in most cases,we advise our clients to brand according to a company rather than a person.Having a personal brand is important for some situations however you will bare the risk of having your company closely associate with your personality and this can work to your disadvantage just like that of Trump. If you combined this risk with the advent of social media where one post or comment could land you in Public Relations hot water, we believe at MGA it is usually wiser tobrand according to a company rather than a personality.


3.     Invest in branding: Branding seems easy,just think of a concept, a service offering, add a few values, keep it simple and there you have it. However, building a quality brand that is sustained over the long time is extremely difficult. In your particular industry, you will find numerous competitors so how do you differentiate yourself from them and at the same time keep it simple? At MGA we try in everything we do to keep our branding consistent. We know we help business owners and entrepreneurs “level up” and we make sure that we keep the concept of “gaming” within all our marketing, products and online presence. This is simply what we stand for. It takes time to think of a compelling brand however, invest time to create it and you will find it will reap rewards for your business.

I trust that this blog helps you and if you are keen to level up your business and be part of our Phamily at MGA, feel free to contact me and we’ll get your mission to grow your business started.