Trump Trumps with Personal Branding

trump.jpgBillionaire business-guru Donald Trump has known about personal branding for more than a decade, and during the premier of The Celebrity Apprentice he began to solidify people’s idea of Personal Branding.

For those who missed the first episode, two teams were formed to compete in a challenge where they were sell hot dogs on the street corner from a vender’s cart. The teams each selected their location based 0n a collaboration of the teammates.

As the men’s team, Team Hydra, led by Stephen Baldwin, was discussing the price they should set, rock star and legend Gene Simmons, KISS frontman, struck gold. He was shown on his cellphone calling one of his contacts. “I need you to buy a hot dog for $10,000. It’s for charity.” Simmons’ brilliant idea led Team Hydra to victory, “selling” somewhere around $52,000 worth of hot dogs.

As Team Hydra was on the street trying to make sales, Lennox Lewis and ultimate fighter Tito Ortiz were sparring – complete with pads – at Rockefeller Center. When someone would make a purchase or donation, a member of the team would say, “Get your picture with any one of these guys.”

They were selling themselves. They are celebrities. They weren’t really out there to sell hot dogs; it was a test to see how the fourteen celebrities could think “outside the box.”

Team Empressario – led by (groan) Omarosa – missed on that point. For the most part, the women’s team was approaching the challenge as non-celebs – simply trying to establish the balance between cost and demand.

But Tiffany Fallon – (former?) Playboy Playmate of the Year – wasn’t selling her brand. Not just taking off her clothes, but she didn’t seem to understand that “sex sells” and for someone to have a picture with her – fully clothed – would be an incentive for making a purchase.

simmons-pastore.jpgIn the boardroom, Trump said that the teams should have sold their brand. Lewis and Oritz did. They were showing what they do for a living. Gene Simmons, with his signature seven-inch-tongue, was seen horsing around with “Sopranos” star Vincent Pastore.

The Personal Brand that individuals from both teams should have exploited was their celebrity. With Simmons’ recent show, “Family Jewels,” the KISS frontman has pretty good face-recognition. Piers Morgan, from “America’s Got Talent” should have insulted people; it’s what he’s known for.

Country singer Trace Adkins should have gotten his guitar and started a sidewalk concert. Pastore should have cashed in on his New York/New Jersey accent and say some colorful expletives or “Forget about it!”

Your Personal Brand is what you do and the experiences that people have with YOUR brand – YOU. By giving people something by which to remember you, you have the ability to establish your own Personal Brand. And an important aspect of establishing you personal brand is the marriage of the product or service with the experience others have with you!

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One Comment on “Trump Trumps with Personal Branding”

  1. vikramrajan Says:

    Quite frankly, Trump jumped the shark. Usually, Trump is on point with his cartoon/caricature of a personal brand. His ridiculous over-the-topness is part of his schtick! But this was more like B-CELEBRITY Apprentice… there are many more entrepreneurial role models and provocateurs that he could have attracted and featured.

    Rather, talking about reality shows, I love Run’s House… about Reverend Run, of RUN-DMC… produced also by his brother, my personal role model, Russell Simmons (and Sean “Diddy” Combs). It not only shows how an “old-school rapper” grows up with his young family, but more important, how his teenage kids are leveraging their personal brand surname, Russell’s connections & insight, as they pursue their big dreams.

    ~ Vikram

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