The Trump Network: A McDonald’s Brand in the Making?

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Donald Trump
Donald Trump’s net worth as a billionaire always seemed to be in question.  Real estate mogul turned network TV star habitually disputed his ranking on Forbes’ annual list of richest people.  News articles and even a book titled “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald,” looked to uncover the real story inside the Donald’s wallet.

A listing on Forbes’ rich list really doesn’t hold that much water to the everyday person. Even a net worth of $10 million is far greater than that of the average American citizen, who quite frankly, can live a fairly luxurious life with that amount of wealth.

For Donald, however, the Forbes list is important because it generates news headlines. This means more articles about Donald Trump, who certainly is no stranger to the media, probably bordering on oversaturation. Be that as it may, he’s very media savvy. Trump knows how to leverage his celebrity with the media to help generate awareness for his “organization,” which bears his name, even referring to it as a “global super brand.”

Trump himself has been quoted in the past saying his brand alone is worth $5 billion. This statement undoubtedly has raised an eyebrow or two, but it’s hard to argue the value of any intangible, especially if the name is Trump. That’s why he’s now licensing the Trump name with real estate developers, rather than investing his own money, essentially getting paid for putting his name on the door. This is smart business by anyone’s standards. He’s even leveraged the Trump name with network television, enjoying much success of the hit reality show “The Apprentice.”

Donald Trump’s latest endeavor is the Trump Network, basically a multi-level marketing company promoting wellness and entrepreneurialism. The obvious notion is that this new company runs counter to what the Trump brand represents, which is more about opulence and wealth, rather than recruiting friends and family to sell or buy product.

“The Apprentice” however may have changed all of this, and Donald Trump today is more celebrity than he is a super-wealthy icon, although he’s still very rich. Brands change as they evolve. Donald Trump’s brand is changing, maybe more into a McDonald’s-like kind rather than a Rolex.

Plugging into a troubled economy offering opportunities for millions of unemployed makes good business sense, not to mention a really good idea. Moreover, the stigma of multi-level marketing may also be changing, as more people look for new financial opportunities during the country’s recession. Trump may be ahead of the curve here. Although he needs to tread carefully, because too much of anything is always not a good thing.

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