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Trump victory a lesson in brand power

14 November 2016 James Mitchell & Vivienne Kelly
Trump victory a lesson in brand power

Love him or loathe him, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States and one business magnate has claimed there are lessons here for agents.

Mortgage industry pioneer Mark Bouris recently spoke about meeting Trump and how the incoming president’s rise from reality TV star is built on branding.

Several years ago, Yellow Brick Road executive chairman Mark Bouris met Trump in Sydney, where the two filmed an interview at the Four Seasons Hotel to promote reality TV show The Apprentice.

According to the Wizard Home Loans founder, Mr Trump’s publicist had three rules – Don’t shake hands (Trump is a bit of a germaphobe), don’t call him Donald (only Mr Trump) and last but not least, don’t mention his hair.

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There are many aspects about Trump he doesn’t like, but one thing Mr Bouris can’t fault is the man’s ability to build a brand.

“I have to say about the guy, and I’ve observed this too when I’ve watched him on the campaign, he’s always on song. He is on brand 24 hours a day. It’s his strength,” Mr Bouris said.

He pointed to the trajectory of Trump’s success from reality TV show host to presidential candidate to president-elect of the United States.

“I believe it is largely because he has built a brand around himself. He is 24/7,” Mr Bouris said.

“You’ve got to be consistent. Never stop building that brand.”

Earlier this year, Mr Bouris spoke to agents at the realestate.com.au The Great Start personal branding breakfast and had a similar message.

“The most important variable in how [to build a personal brand] is consistency. You’ve got to be consistently the same. People don’t like to be surprised. They want to be familiar with you. The way you build familiarity is someone sees something at the same place, at the same time, in the same way, in the same image. Familiarity also then builds trust.”

Mr Trump is the best example of this, being the “most consistent brand person” Mr Bouris has “ever seen and/or met”.

“Now, Donald, you might not like him, he is divisive. I get it. But he’s never off brand. Never,” Mr Bouris said.

“He is totally consistent. And you watch him today when he walks onto the stage, he’s exactly the same person he is the day before, the day before, the day before.

“He’s not changing. He’s not a shape changer. He’s not an image changer. He is consistent and persistent.

“And it seems like that’s what you’ve got to do if you want cut through to build awareness campaigns, because he’s trying to win people’s votes, which is what all of you are trying to do or I try to do. I try to win consumers’ votes to come to me. You’re trying to win investors’ and vendors’ votes to come and see you. It’s a campaign. An election campaign. It’s about your image. It’s about being consistent.”

Mr Bouris said real estate professionals also have to be consistent in what they say, adding that they must believe the messages they’re putting out to the market.

“Whatever you decide to establish, be consistent on everything you do with it. Everything,” he said.

“This is all pervasive… It is everything you do. Everything you do.”

Mr Bouris said this consistency includes physical appearance, where, perhaps, Mr Trump offers yet another lesson.

“You have to have an image that you are consistent with physically, your appearance,” he said.

Even Mr Trump’s hair can hold a lesson.

“Now, we all laugh at that, but his hair is part of his physical image.

“If you look at him now, his hair has never changed colour. It’s getting a bit more yellow but it’s never changed colour, ever since I can remember. And it is part of his physical image. He comes out always with a satin tie. It’s a pink or it’s a red or it’s a blue. He comes out with a pinstripe suit.

“He’s a big man. He’s a big guy. So his whole physical image has never changed. I’ve never seen him thinner or fatter. He’s got a sort of colour about his skin… He’s always the same. And this is a guy trying to become president of the United States. He is the alternative candidate.

“So obviously something works.”

A point of difference

Back in April, when the thought of Trump winning the presidency was still laughable, an article in Fortune magazine explored what makes the man and his brand so powerful.

“Brand power doesn’t arise from what most of us marketing amateurs think,” the story said.

“It isn’t based on lots of people knowing or liking a brand. It results instead from two features – a brand’s differentiation from other brands and its relevance to its intended public, as research by the Young & Rubicam ad agency established long ago.

“By those two criteria, Trump dominates utterly. He is completely unlike all other candidates and he is far more relevant because he’s real. He talks naturally, not like a politician, and he says out loud what a segment of voters is thinking.”

 

Trump victory a lesson in brand power
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