Love him or hate him, there are a few things that Donald Trump is accomplishing with his approach to his presidential campaign:
1. People are paying attention. And people are giving him attention. It might be positive, as in attending his speeches or following his twitter account. It might be negative, as in picketing his speaking events or removing him or his events from sponsorship or television.
2. Other political candidates are talking about issues that were uncomfortable for them to address in the past, such as the U.S.’s immigration policy.
3. He has a prominent place at the debates, front and center.
4. He is receiving a lot of free press, which is contributing to number 1. on this list.
The Trump brand, both the Donald Trump persona as well as his business brand are well known worldwide, in part because he has always maintained this brash, bold, in-your-face style. And this has served him well for his celebrity and in doing business. But will it serve him well as he attempts to become elected to the highest office in the land—the President of the United States?
I have been interviewed and contributed a book chapter on the topic of The 3 Cs of Personal Branding, with the 3 Cs being: consistent, comprehensive, and concise. I think Mr. Trump is being all of these: He is certainly consistent in his presentation and his stance on certain issues. He is comprehensive in explaining how he will accomplish some of his plans and remains murky on most others. Concise? Well, he certainly doesn’t mince words, and he can make his point very plainly. In comparison to many politicians, he can be considered concise.
But I think for the purposes of determining whether his personal brand will be considered presidential come November 8, 2016, I may need to add an additional 3 Cs: conscious, controlled, and classy.
Conscious: In the title of this piece, I chose the phrase “politically conscious” rather than “politically correct.” Mr. Trump can still be himself—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and also be conscious of…well…people’s feelings. Latinos and women make up a large part of the voting public. He wants to be their President. For every minute he’s having to defend remarks made in an unconscious state, he isn’t speaking about solving our country’s problems.
Controlled: You know that old saying, “Think before you speak?” We all have to practice it in our personal lives and in our work places. The more visible we are, the more conscious and controlled we have to be about what we say. Especially now, when one misstep will appear on the social media platforms in seconds and remain there forever. When Mr. Trump says, “I don’t have time to be politically correct (or conscious),” I would say, “Make time, because you’re wasting time defending politically unconscious remarks.”
Classy: Classy in this context means gracious, grateful, respectful. I have actually met Donald Trump, and had an intimate, one-on-one conversation with him for about 15 minutes. During that encounter, I wasn’t focused on his hair, or his bigger-than-life persona, or loud, ridiculous remarks. There wasn’t any of that. He was actually conscious of his conversation with me and me only, controlled and thoughtful in what he was asking and saying, and totally classy. That’s the guy I want to see show up in this presidential campaign. That’s the Trump brand that can help him be as successful in the political arena as in the business world.