Today has been all about brands and branding.
The day hadn’t even started when I saw that a friend had posted a LinkedIn Pulse article that included what he learned about branding from Warren Buffet. The next article that caught my eye was a brand comparison between Donald Trump and America, as in America, the Beautiful—the ideal, the brand.
Together, the articles made a strong argument that brands matter; they seriously matter. Gerald Sanchez wrote in his Pulse piece, “Brand Matters: Think about some of the companies that are in his [Warren Buffet’s] portfolio that are well known: Coca-Cola, Geico, Heinz, Proctor and Gamble and Johnson and Johnson. Their brands provide a ‘hard-to-replicate advantage over their competitors.’”
A concise definition of branding says that it “is the process of creating a distinct image of a product or range of products in the customer's mind. This image communicates the promise of value the customer will receive from the product or products,” according to the SMstudy® Guide: Marketing Strategy. Together, a powerful image and an accurately defined value deliver that “hard-to-replicate advantage.”
Interestingly, as Merry Carole Powers alludes to in her Huffington Post article analyzing Donald Trump’s presidential-candidate brand, powerful images and appealing to the wrong—though accurately defined—value can give an advantage that lacks health and perhaps staying power.
The idea of looking at a political campaign from a marketing point of view and dismissing a candidate’s statements as just saying whatever sells at the moment is fairly common. But Powers’ analysis is not, “I have been so horrified by this man from my personal point of view as a woman and a human being, it hadn’t dawned on me to assess him from a professional place.” This seems to be how most of us look at politicians. Perhaps we, too, should be more professional, “And when I did, I was surprised at what I found.” (Spoiler alert: she still isn’t a Trump supporter.)
Powers’ analysis of Trump as Trump the Brand used “a few core branding blocks that must be a part of any strong brand.” Such a brand includes “unique positioning, clearly defined purpose, truly held values, an authentic personality and a compelling message.”
Using these blocks, Powers does an item by item analysis of Trump as a brand and then compares the Trump brand with that of America as represented in the Declaration of Independence—arguably the best single statement of America the brand ever written.
Does Trump have a strong brand? How does it compare to America’s brand? Does it belong in America’s highest office? We’ll let you read Powers’ excellent article to learn that.
For this blog, let’s take away the realization that communicating our promise of value is crucial when we take an important stand and we want others to join us in it. Brand matters.
Look for SMstudy’s soon-to-be-released book Branding and Advertising, part of the SMstudy® Guide series.
For more interesting and informational articles on sales and marketing, visit SMstudy.com.
 Gerald Sanchez. (4/3/16) “Gleaning from the Gurus: What I Learned from Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger about Small Business.” Pulse. Retrieved on 4/4/16 from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gleaning-from-gurus-what-i-learned-warren-buffet-charlie-sanchez?deepLinkCommentId=6122773332300492800&anchorTime=1459782918057&trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_REPLY_TOP_LEVEL_COMMENT
 A Guide to the Sales and Marketing Body of Knowledge, also referred to as the "SMstudy® Guide," is a series of books that provide guidelines for the Sales and Marketing of products and services. It is available at SMstudy.
 Powers, Merry Carole. (4/1/16) “Donald Trump vs America: Side-by-Side Brand Analysis.” The World Post. Retrieved on 4/4/16 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/merry-carole-powers/donald-trump-vs-america-a_b_9592180.html