The 10 Commandments of Branding by Donald Trump

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					Real Estate Investing for Real Estate Professionals:
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By Gary Eldred, Ph.D.
Trump University Faculty
Table of Contents

I.     Introduction

II.    The Ten Commandments of Branding
       1: Establish a Clear Brand Position
       2: Build Your Brand on an Emotional Benefit
       3: Build Your Brand as Early as Possible
       4: Be Consistent Over Time and Over Markets
       5: Make Sure All Your Employees Know Your
          Brand Position
       6: Make Sure All Your Products and Services
          Embody Your Brand
       7: Make Sure All Your Customers Know Your
          Brand Position
       8: Don't Dilute Your Brand
       9: Always Monitor Your Brand
       10: Maintain Your Brand as Your Organization's
           Most Valuable Asset

III.   Conclusion

               Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                      © 2006 Trump University
I. Introduction

Here’s a fact: Your brand is your organization’s single most valuable asset. If you doubt this,
consider how easily you can identify Coke and Pepsi by their logos alone. Or think about
choosing an airline for your next trip—whether you’re booking first-class or coach, you’re
unlikely to choose any airline, regardless of how good a deal it offers, if it hasn’t established
a consistent and proven reputation for safety. Your brand is what your company stands for
and how it is perceived by the rest of the world. Well-known examples include Volvo, which
is synonymous with “safety,” or FedEx, which is known for “on time delivery.”

At an intuitive level, we all have some understanding of branding. When we maintain
interpersonal relationships, for example, we’re essentially managing our own brands. When
we do the same for our businesses, we need to take a more systematic approach, one
that coordinates all of that business’s different components. Nevertheless, whether we’re
coordinating personal or professional interactions, the essence of what needs to be done
remains the same: managing how other people perceive us. As an entrepreneur or small
business owner, if you are a savvy brand manager, this can translate into more than a
household name; it can translate into dollars. A lot of dollars.

How much are we talking? Billions. In fact, for consumer products companies, brands can
represent 50 to 70 percent of the company’s total value; for industrial products companies,
it is about 10 to 20 percent. Brands are worth a lot of money.

So how can we define and manage this valuable asset? First, let’s look at the three major
components of a brand, all of which need to be managed:

•   Identifiers—Name, logo, color; any cues that brings the brand to mind.

•   Attributes—Brand attributes include the economic, functional, and emotional benefits
    which are assigned to a brand by customers. They can be either positive or negative
    and are the basic elements of a brand identity. In the Volvo and FedEx examples,
    “safety” and “on time delivery” are attributes.

•   Associations—Connections that customers make between a brand's identifiers and
    its attributes.

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                                                                                  © 2006 Trump University
While we may manage our own brand, ultimately brands are owned by customers. From
this perspective, your brand is defined by what your customers will let you do—it’s that
simple. More importantly, it’s true. Customers won’t tolerate gourmet prices at McDonalds.
They wouldn’t allow it. And remember, customers will develop an idea about your company
whether you manage your brand or not. You need to manage your brand or someone else
(maybe your competitor) will do it for you.

So, how do you develop, manage, and profit from your brand? With the right levels of
discipline, persistence, and monitoring, anyone should be able to effectively brand their own
business. This can take time. Some of the world’s most valuable brands, such as Coca-Cola
and Marlboro, weren’t overnight success stories. Their achievements took a lot of time,
effort, consistency, and strategy. This report offers you a “Top 10” list of strategic best
practices that will help you maximize your brand’s value and, in turn, your profits. We call
them: The 10 Commandments of Branding.

                       Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                    © 2006 Trump University
II. The Ten Commandments of Branding

Commandment 1: Establish a Clear Brand Position

A brand position is a clear, unambiguous statement that communicates what your company
stands for and what it offers. For example, we all know that FedEx is an overnight delivery
company that promises, above all, to get your package to its destination on time. Most of us
make a nearly instantaneous connection between FedEx and “overnight reliable delivery.”
This is what a good brand should accomplish: an instant connection between the company
and its key offering. If you’re FedEx, you want your brand to become synonymous with
overnight reliable delivery.

Consistency also extends to your brand position. The benefits you communicate should be
the same over time and across various media. But consistency without clarity won’t take you
very far. In order to build a successful brand, your brand position must be clear.

Here’s how you achieve this: You should choose one or two benefits that make up your
brand position. These are the key benefits that your target market cares about and that
you have the capabilities to produce. Why one or two? Because people generally can’t
remember more than that.

Focus on one or two benefits only. One of the most common mistakes companies
make is choosing too many benefits to represent their product. Their message becomes
muddled, and customers get lost in “information overload.” Before they know it, the window
of opportunity to occupy a place in the minds of their customers has closed.

Avoid ambiguity. Make sure that the one or two benefits that you decide to focus on
are very specific. For example, it is too vague to say that you offer “quality.” You can be
“fast,” however. You can be “fast” and “friendly.” But you can’t be “fast,” “friendly,” “safe,”
“convenient” and “stylish.” If you try to be all these things, few will believe you and no one
will remember you.

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                                                                                      © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 2: Build Your Brand on an Emotional Benefit

You should always strive to build your brand on an emotional benef it rather than an
economic or functional benefit. There are two reasons for this:

1.   Emotional benefits are harder to copy.

2.   Emotional benefits have more of an effect on people’s behavior.

When you think of emotions, you think of impact. And in the world of branding, an emotional
impact is a very powerful tool that can be used to create recognition for your business. Your
goal is to find an emotional benefit that is far superior to that of your competitors and to
associate that benefit with your brand. In other words, you want to own that benefit.

Energizer is an example of a company that offers a functional benefit. Their batteries “last
longer” than their competitors’. What’s a good example of an emotional benefit? Consider
“Peace of mind.” FedEx gives you peace of mind because you know that when you use the
company’s services to mail important business documents, those documents will reach
their destination overnight (and you’ll still have a job). Volvo’s promise of safety is clearly an
emotional benefit: your family’s lives are at stake when you drive on the highway. Michelin
similarly provides confidence that your children are riding on safe tires.

Emotional benefits pose a challenge because they are harder to build than functional
benefits. They are also harder to prove. A good exercise is to make a list of all the universal
emotional benefits people want. For example, everyone wants peace of mind. Everyone
wants to feel powerful, attractive, intelligent, productive and healthy. Can you link any of
these emotional benefits to your brand?

Remember, a brand is a promise. It builds trust and simplifies purchase decisions for
people. If it can simplify people’s lifestyles and provide them with an emotional benefit that
you can deliver better than anyone else, then you can distinguish yourself from the
competition very quickly and make a long-lasting impact, both emotionally and financially.

                       Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                    © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 3: Build Your Brand as Early as Possible

If you don’t build your brand as quickly as possible, someone else may take the position
that you want. That’s just a hard fact. There are two issues at stake here. First, your customers
will create an image of your company in their mind’s eye nearly immediately, so you need
to be ready from the get-go. Second, there’s a lot of competition in the world of branding;
your direct competitors may be the fast followers who have entered the market soon after
your launch. The earlier you establish your brand, the more customer loyalty you’ll gain.
Ideally, before a competitor tries to knock you out of the market, you have established your
company as the leader in a certain area.

In the late 1960’s, a company today known as Kraft researched the United States coffee
market and found that there were two choices: brewed coffees, which were rich-tasting but
messy to prepare, and instant coffees, which were perceived to be watery-tasting but easy
to prepare. What people really wanted was a rich-tasting, easy-to-prepare coffee.

Kraft used processes from the US space program and introduced a freeze-dried coffee,
Maxim, that was richer tasting than the current instant coffees and was also easy to
prepare. Maxim quickly achieved a 10 percent share of the instant coffee market.
Meanwhile, Nestle was developing its own freeze-dried coffee. They introduced it with the
tagline: “You know what freeze-dried coffee is, now taste the best, Taster’s Choice.” Within
two years, Taster’s Choice overtook Maxim and Maxim never regained their lead. In those
two years, Taster’s Choice charged the same price and spent less money on advertising.

What happened? Kraft educated customers about freeze-dried coffee, and that was
necessary to build the market. But Nestle seized the education that Kraft initiated and was
able to focus entirely on taste. In effect, Kraft’s efforts ended up helping Nestle. Again, build
your brand as early as possible with one or two key benefits—or someone else will.

                       Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                   © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 4: Be Consistent Over Time and Over Markets

Marketing strategies need to focus on the attributes of the product or service so that they
are effectively positioned in the marketplace. Brand strategies must do that too, but a
branding strategy must also focus on the associations and identifiers.

Developing brand associations requires consistency over time and across markets. This
simply means that everything your company does and everything it says—in short, all of its
communications, packaging, and management practices—should be going in the same
direction as its brand. For example, if the key benefit of your product is safety, then
everything you communicate across all your markets should be about safety. This kind of
consistency and repetition will stay in the minds of customers; they will have the same
experience every time they see your product, and they will remember it. That has been the
strength of the world’s most valuable brands, such as Disney, IBM, GE, and Nescafe.

Sounds easy, right? It’s actually easier said than done. It can be a real challenge to stay on
course when faced with daily obstacles and fierce competition. This is not to imply that
brands should remain static—they have to change with the market—but at any given
time, your company should consistently reflect its brand. This includes all of your
company’s products, services, advertisements, communications, customer service, even
the look of the building and vehicles. As you can imagine, this kind of consistency is
particularly difficult to achieve and maintain when dealing with a global market that
includes different countries and cultures.

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                                                                                  © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 5: Make Sure All Your Employees Know Your Brand Position

You want all the touch-points in your company to reflect your brand. For example, if your
brand is built on “friendliness,” everything in your company must embody that, from the
employees to the logo to the company lobby.

Southwest Airlines is a fine example of superb branding. It builds its brand on friendliness.
When people think “Southwest,” they immediately think “friendly.” Southwest employees are
trained to be cordial and courteous at all times. If a flight attendant at Southwest is rude to
a customer, the brand suffers, and ultimately business suffers.

Branding is making sure you have the right content, and then communicating that content
over and over again until it creates a remembrance factor. If people already know what you
do well, you have to keep hitting them with the same message. And that message starts
first and foremost with your employees, who deal with the actual customers. They are the
people who will carry your message further, so you want them to know your branding
position inside and out.

Branding should extend across all aspects of your internal communications. These include:

•   Business cards

•   Business environment

•   Employee appearance

•   Employee interaction with customers

•   Ambiance

•   Signage

•   Stationary

•   Bulletin boards

•   Brochures

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                                                                                 © 2006 Trump University
Even small details like pizza boxes should reflect the company brand.

Communications with employees should always be motivational, not in the sense of
motivational posters but in terms of something more factual, i.e. highlighting a successful
week of sales, and explaining why consistency of your brand is important to your
company's success.

Can you ever go too far with communicating your brand internally? The answer is no.
Internal communication is synonymous with effective employee training. The more your
employees understand your brand position, the better they can sell it to the rest of the world.

                      Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                 © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 6: Make Sure All Your Products and Services Embody Your Brand

We mentioned before that a brand is a promise. It builds trust with your customers.

If you come up with a brand position and your product or service doesn’t embody it,
your brand will have no credibility and will quickly fail. If Southwest claims to embody
friendliness, then they must live up to that promise in everything they do. If FedEx promises
overnight delivery, they must ensure that happens. If Volvo makes a promise of safety, they
should test every last detail in their cars to make sure they are as safe as possible.

The bottom line here is: live up to your brand position. Your customers and all of your
potential customers are counting on it.

                      Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                  © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 7: Make Sure All Your Customers Know Your Brand Position

If your product or service embodies your brand and your customers don’t know it, it’s
useless. You must always remind customers of what you do well, and then remind them
again. Sounds extreme, right? It isn’t. Don’t count on your customers to tally up what you do
for them. This is not their job; it’s yours.

If your current customers don’t believe that you’re the fastest drycleaner, this may be due to
the fact that you haven’t been telling them that you are. Let’s say you own a one-hour photo
and consistently get photos done on time—you should subtly remind customers that you
are reliable where most other one-hour photos are not. A sign in the window, a flyer, a
coupon, testimonials from satisfied customers, or a brochure can be effective reminders
that keep sending the right message home. You can never have too many visual cues that
might reinforce your brand attributes with your audience.

Just as with your internal communications, branding should extend across all aspects of
your external communications. All of your advertising, promotions, and public relations
should serve as a reminder of your brand position. In addition, your salespeople must
deliver a consistent message.

If Levi’s means “casual” to people, then an experience in a Levi’s store must exemplify
“casual.” The salesperson should not be wearing a suit and tie because that might
contradict the brand’s position. He or she should be in a pair of Levi’s jeans and a casual
top or T-shirt, a reminder to customers that Levi’s does casual better than anyone.

                        Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 8: Don’t Dilute Your Brand

Once you have established a clear brand position, don’t dilute it. What this means is that
you shouldn’t keep extending your brand or adding to it indefinitely. If you extend it, you
might actually hurt it. In particular, you should never extend your brand to products and
services where customers won’t let it go. Remember, branding is about what customers
will let you do.

The goal of your brand is to make an immediate and clearly identifiable impression on
people, one that links your company to a clear benefit. To that end, you not only need to
stay on message, but you need to keep your product offerings consistent with your
brand. What does this mean?

Let’s look at Levi’s again to see how overextension of brand can be a problem. In the early
1980’s, Levi’s tried introducing a line of business-casual attire—a departure from its brand of
“casual.” It initially failed. People were unwilling to allow Levi’s to extend its brand to business
attire. Levi’s, however, was smart enough to quickly identify the problem, at which point it
introduced a new brand, Dockers, which is solely dedicated to business-casual attire.

To see another example of a very consistent brand, take a look at Red Bull energy drinks. Red
Bull has clearly established itself as the best (or at least the most popular) energy drink. It
does nothing else but produce energy drinks. If Red Bull decided to produce a calming
chamomile tea or scented candles, you might find it a stretch. Furthermore, if you visit Red
Bull’s website, you’ll notice that the look and feel is completely
consistent with its brand: high-energy. Everything on the screen is consistently moving,
sliding, fading, etc. The colors change continually, and most importantly, no other product
competes with or weakens Red Bull’s high-energy image.

                       Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                    © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 9: Always Monitor Your Brand

Let’s say after your launch that your brand position resonates extremely well with your target
market. You’ve done everything you should do and your brand is a success—great. What’s
next? The work isn’t over—far from it. You need to continually monitor your brand position to
make sure it remains relevant to your customers. Trends change. Your brand needs to
change with them.

At its simplest, monitoring means continually asking people what they think your brand
stands for. The key here is to look at what the associations of your brand are. For example,
if you say “Trump,” what do people say? If you say “Volvo,” what do people say?

How else do you monitor your brand? You can conduct an association test using adjectives
like “hot/cold.” You can survey customers with questions like, “How would you evaluate
Coca-Cola?” Generally, it’s best to e-mail, mail or hand out surveys rather than solicit people
by telephone. Focus groups are also effective. And here’s a valuable tip: When doing
research, start with your own customers.

Monitoring can give you valuable information, but it is your job to constantly work to
rejuvenate your brand. In the end, this is what will keep your brand on top of a competitive
market. Needless to say, monitoring your competitors goes hand in hand with monitoring
your brand.

Here’s a good example: Starbucks broke from the standard coffee-counter mold. It’s much
more than a counter where you can only have a quick cup of coffee; it’s a place where you
can sit for hours and have a variety of drinks. Starbucks continually tries to rejuvenate its
brand. It developed the idea of the “coffee lounge” when it saw an opportunity in the
market. Take a look at one of Starbucks’ drinks, the Frappuccino™. Starbucks started out
with the Coffee Frappucino™, and after its initial success, expanded the Frappucino™ line to
include Mocha, Carmel and Green Tea, among others. So, where do you go if you want a
Green Tea Frappucino™ with whipped cream and you just want to lounge for hours with
your laptop and rejuvenate? Well, Starbucks, of course.

                      Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                                  © 2006 Trump University
Commandment 10: Maintain Your Brand as Your Organization’s Most
Valuable Asset

We began this report by stating that for well-managed brands, the value of the brand is a
company’s most valuable asset. However, the challenge comes when you have to maintain
your brand as your most valuable asset. There lies the key to long-term success. Maintaining
your brand involves everything we have talked about in this report. It means maintaining
consistency, communicating and monitoring. It means putting Commandments 1-9 into
practice every single day. The companies with the world’s most valuable brands have
mastered this process. If you maintain your brand, your chances of success are far greater.
And remember, branding is essential for all businesses, not just large companies. It’s equally
relevant for small companies. Trump requires superior branding, and so does the mom-and-
pop store around the corner.

                      Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                               © 2006 Trump University
III. Conclusion

Any entrepreneur or small business owner can ensure effective branding for their business
with the right amount of patience, effort, persistence and strategy. Utilizing this list of best
practices can serve as an aid in maximizing your brand value and, in turn, your profits. It’s
important to put all of these commandments into practice, not just some of them. It is also
important to revisit your brand strategy as customers become more knowledgeable,
competitors become more aggressive, and new technologies emerge over time.

These and other factors may require you to change your brand strategy in order to maintain
an edge over your competition, and secure your spot as the leader in an ever-evolving

Next time you go out, notice how you perceive different brands, from major chains to the
pretzel vendor on the corner. You’ll be surprised at just how entrenched many of your
perceptions are.

For comments or questions, please contact: or log on to

For more information about Trump University’s marketing and branding programs, visit:

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                                                                                    © 2006 Trump University
About the Author

Don Sexton, M.B.A. and Ph.D., is a member of the Trump University faculty in the areas of
marketing and sales. He is a teacher, researcher, consultant, and founder and president of
The Arrow Group, Ltd., a firm that provides consulting and training services. He has taught a
wide variety of courses in marketing, international business, and quantitative methods. His
research concerns successful global marketing and branding strategies and is based on his
empirical studies as well as his considerable experience consulting with major companies
throughout the world. He has written numerous articles for publications such as the Journal
of Marketing and Management Science and is frequently quoted in media such as The
New York Times and Business Week. Dr. Sexton has been a full-time faculty member at
Columbia University’s Business School for almost four decades, and is a recipient of the
school’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

                     Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                              © 2006 Trump University
About Trump University

Trump University is a business education company that blends the knowledge and
experience of Donald Trump with world-class curriculum. Trump University’s offerings are
based on the principle of learning by doing, and include online courses, audio courses,
multimedia home study programs, publications, and live events.

Trump University is at the forefront of education for entrepreneurs and small business
owners. It offers programs that can help you understand and reach your target market
better and build a world-class brand. Trump University online courses such as Build a
Powerful Marketing Strategy, Accelerate your Business Growth, and Keep them
Coming Back give you hands-on experience using the same marketing tools and
techniques used by some of the largest and most successful companies in the world.

For more information about Trump University marketing and entrepreneurship programs,

                     Tr u m p U n i v e r s i t y . c o m

                                                                               © 2006 Trump University

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