How To Build Your Personal Brand Like Donald Trump

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Few people expected Donald Trump to get this far in his presidential campaign, and far fewer expected his message to reach (and resonate with) such a wide audience of Americans — especially given his audacity during speeches, his constant diatribes and insult slinging, and the alienation of various groups.

Yet he’s still here and his brand is as strong as ever. That might explain why he has some 56% of the popular vote in polling.

As the “un-politician” Trump is turning heads and garnering a lot of attention. When you analyze his atypical and controversial approach to the presidency, as well as his presence in the media over the course of his career, there are a number of takeaways you can use to improve your own personal branding.

Here are 6 that stand out to me the most:

1. Stay Consistent

Donald Trump has been called a lot of things over the years, especially recently. He is brash and often bombastic in how he delivers his message, using a very recognizable style in his approach. He may flip-flop on policies, but Trump remains consistent in how he represents himself.

Consistency in branding is paramount. It’s how you come to expect the same type of food from all branches of a restaurant chain. You develop certain expectations around the product. The same applies to a personal brand.

Trump wins with consistent controversial positioning. Build your personal brand around consistency, frequency of communication, and brand presentation. The best brands deliver on their promise in everything they do.

2. Be Recognizable

Trump has grown his career on more than just his hair. He has consistently used a number of channels to build on his brand and promote his expertise. These include:

If you want to be recognizable, you have to get your name out through a variety of channels and get in front of your audience. If Donald Trump hadn’t promoted his personal brand the way he did over the last 30+ years, he likely wouldn’t have been in a position to put in a bid for the U.S. presidency.

Use social media channels to find and engage with your audience, create content on your blog and other sites with guest posting, publish authoritative content, and get active within your industry on Q&A sites like Quora.

The more you’re seen, the greater the recall and recognition within your niche/industry you’ll get as an expert.

3. Rally Your Supporters

Part of Trump’s success comes from his rabid fan base: a growing number of people who happily spread his “Make America Great Again” slogan on bright red hats and American flag-themed attire.

You would be hard-pressed to reach everyone on your own within a specific audience. If you can rally your supporters in the same way and get them talking about you then you can greatly expand your reach and grow your brand.

You don’t need promotional gear and gaudy ball caps to do it. Encourage your followers to share your content. Reach out to people within your network and get them talking about your ideas. The right idea or piece of content shared at the right time by your supporters can have a tremendous snowball effect.

4. Go Pick a Fight

If there’s one thing Donald Trump is good at, it’s stirring up attention. He routinely picks fights with media outlets including CNN, MSNBC, and Forbes, as well as with major organizations like General Motors. It’s not arbitrary though; Trump is choosing his battles based around his brand and political position.

This is an important point to pay attention to when it comes to personal branding. Trump isn’t just pushing his own message, and he’s not just a content creator. He’s analyzing the messages of those with a large audience and “attacking” them. By clashing on perspectives, picking those battles, and debating, he is simultaneously bringing down the position of others while elevating himself with his own audience.

Don’t just settle for creating content around your personal brand. Find incumbents and influencers with a differing opinion to yours and engage them. I don’t suggest taking it to the level of Trump in the way he insults others — you can certainly do it in a more civil manner.

Stirring up controversy and picking a few “fights” can help reinforce your brand and grow your audience among those who share your views.

5. Provide Proof

There are countless people out there who aim to become industry influencers by sharing information and acting as “thought leaders.” If you want to stand out among them as you grow your brand, then you have to show that you’re not just all talk.

Trump would get nowhere with his brand and his bid for the presidency if he didn’t have some kind of a track record of success. He is well-known as a creator of wealth, and he uses his business success to prove that he’s an expert authority.

“Being a creator — building things out of nothing — and doing it on your own terms, are inherently American,” says Edward Boches, professor of advertising for Boston University in an interview with Time. “They represent independence and a desire to get ahead. I think people really gravitate to that aspect about him.”

When you provide proof that you know what you’re talking about, people will gravitate toward you and what you do or share. You can showcase success through case studies and examples of how you put your knowledge to practical use.

6. Be Authentic

Trump doesn’t sugarcoat his thoughts. He doesn’t mold what he has to say to embolden his position with a certain audience. He speaks his mind in a way that makes him feel authentic.

He has insulted groups and individuals alike, mocked prisoners of war, and even referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists. His opinions may be offensive, unpopular, and un-PC, but he doesn’t back down from his beliefs. Trump may very well flip-flop on policies and positions, but his audience doesn’t seem to care because they perceive his words as authentic.

“Focus on sharing your knowledge,” writes content marketing consultant Barry Feldman. “At the same time, don’t fear having a strong point of view. Say what you think. No one values a bland brand.”

Your audience wants the same from you. The most successful influencers are authentic and believe in the messages they share. A perfect example of this is Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL. I am a huge fan of his “no bullshit” approach to conversion optimization and how he has branded himself as an authentic expert.


I am Sujan Patel.

Co-founder of Web Profits &Hubspot Academy Instructor. In my 13 years in marketing I’ve helped grow companies like Mint, Salesforce, Linkedin, Yahoo!, and many more. I’m giving away my multi-billion dollar marketing advice on my eBook.

This article was first published: http://www.forbes.com/sites/sujanpatel/2016/08/10/how-to-build-your-personal-brand-like-donald-trump/#34821767335e