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The Donald's Trump Card: Himself

Stocks in this article: VNO

Trump has strategically leveraged his brand name to increase business, whether it's through Trump National Golf Clubs, Trump International Hotels, Trump apparel, Trump ties, shirts, suits, fragrances, TV appearances or books. He follows the course of other successful brand names, which are able to charge more for their products than their less-established competitors and weather tough times more smoothly because of their loyal customers.

By extending his brand beyond bricks and mortar and into media platforms like "The Apprentice," Trump has built a wider moat between him and his competitors.

Trump has also become a fixture in social media and the Internet. For example, during the holidays a YouTube video titled "Donald Trump vs. Ebenezer Scrooge," was published by "Epic Rap Battles of History." In just four days, the video generated more than 5.5 million views and almost 10 million views through today. Mac Miller, a 19-year-old rapper from Pittsburg, named a song after the developer and quickly generated more than 87 million hits on YouTube. Moreover, Trump has more than 2.5 million Twitter followers and more than 1 million Facebook followers.

As Passikoff explains, "Brand equity is the status or strength of the brand and its ability to meet or exceed the expectations consumers use to define the category ideal. This identifies how consumers view the category, compare offerings in the category, and, ultimately, buy in the category. It's what they really expect from a brand." Trump's public presence is a sign of his brand equity.

I was 19 years old and fresh out of college when I read The Art of the Deal, Trump's first book and a New York Times Best Seller. Inspired by the book and the many successes (and failures) of Trump, I aspired to be a real estate developer and broker. Due to his brand equity, that's a tall order.

Many compare themselves to Trump, but due to his public face and brand equity, he remains ahead of the pack. From an iconic New York developer in the 1980s to a famous human brand today, Trump has become an internationally recognized developer and celebrity known through his namesake shirts, ties, books, office towers, golf courses, television and social media.

With branding, Passikoff says, "You need to have expectations that are not constrained by reality but have the kind of sky's-the-limit expectations that identify where the best opportunities lie for your brand."

That's Trump for you.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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