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Why Trump is ditching his iconic brand for a number

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WASHINGTON Donald Trump has spent his life putting his name on steaks in skyscrapers to boost checks, but now the former president appears to be replacing the gold-plated last name with a number: 45.

Last week, the 45th president launched his new official site, 45Office.com, a different URL than his predecessors, who used their names for their web addresses.

Trump’s transition from his name to his numbers was done through his political properties.

His PAC is available on SaveAmerica45.com. Old tweets from his White House can be found at @ WhiteHouse45. And when his lawyer Bruce Castor signed on to represent him in his second impeachment case, he said, “I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th President.”

Like Prince changing his name to a symbol, Trump defies convention. Former presidents generally use their numbers only as a shibboleth among initiates and friends. The only other president to use Twitter regularly, Barack Obama, has his old tweets archived at @ObamaWhiteHouse.

“He was a ‘different’ type of candidate and president and now he’s a ‘different’ type of former president with a global brand to manage (as well as prospects of running again in 2024),” John Boyd, business consultant who works with the real estate industry, said in an email.

Trump’s 45 office did not respond to requests for comment. People who think a lot about corporate and political branding say he is unlikely to have made the decision lightly.

Branding is Trump’s business, even Bill Clinton called him a “brand master” and he is so protective of his name that one of his attorneys sent threatening letters demanding that the Committee National Republican and other GOP groups stop using his likeness in fundraising (they declined).

“They can never take that number away from him,” said Sam Nunberg, who was one of Trump’s first political advisers before going their separate ways. “Just psychologically, when you say President [Jimmy] Carter or you say President George HW Bush, you think “one-term president”. But if you put the number, 45th president, the connection doesn’t go so smoothly. “

It can also help her avoid remembering to be a loser.

Official communications from Trump, who refused to concede the 2020 election and falsely led his supporters to believe he could reverse his results until the day of the inauguration, never label him “old.” President, he is still the “45th President of the United States”. from America. “

It’s no accident, said David Johnson, a branding consultant in Atlanta, who added that it helps “to perpetuate his myth that he is still the President of the United States and to reinforce that message with of its supporters ”.

Trump’s new website, 45Office.com, premiered on January 12, less than a week after Trump supporters revolted on Capitol Hill in an attempt to stop the electoral vote count during the President’s victory Joe Biden, according to internet records.

Many politicians are known to staff and friends by nicknames or initials Hillary Clinton is “HRC”; former Presidents Bush are differentiated as “41” and “43” and Trump is “45” to many of his aides and supporters.

Several supporters have even filed trademark applications with the US Patent Office for clothing branded “45”, although Trump is not yet one of them.

As Mel Brooks’ Yogurt says in “SpaceBalls”: “Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made. “Trump is a brand.” 45 ”is the logo,” said Greg Behr, co-founder of a Durham, North Carolina-based marketing consultancy that has worked with companies like Google and Uber.

“Think of it like Michael Jordan’s ’23 ‘,” Behr added. “The number becomes synonymous with the man, and for fans there is an appeal to owning and displaying a piece of it. I guess you’ll start to see the “45” rolled out across a line of products that you, yourself, may own. “

Then there’s the fact that Trump’s brand could use a refresh.

“I get teased for putting my name on my buildings and casinos. It’s mainly a marketing strategy; Trump’s buildings get higher rents,” Trump wrote in his 2000 book America Than Us deserve “. But that may no longer be true after his hotel and real estate businesses suffer from his association with his divisive presidency.

“The ‘Trump’ brand was damaged by its electoral defeat and double impeachment,” said David Painter, who spent 20 years working in the branding field before joining the faculty of Rollins College in Florida. So Trump adopted ’45’ (it’s even his monogram on his shirts) because it’s a neutral number that he would probably prefer people to associate with him rather than his actual age or characterizations of his presidential term. “

Some of Trump’s former top aides identify in public biographies as “White House 45” alumni or leave Trump out entirely, perhaps to put some distance behind them as they look for work in an office. tough job market for former Trump staff.

The adoption of “45” is perhaps a little ironic, as it was critics on the left who first insisted on referring to Trump by number. “Don’t use his name; NEVER, ”Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice King wrote in a viral Facebook post days after Trump’s inauguration. “45 will suffice.”

This was a pretty common sentiment among professional activists and liberal activists at the height of the so-called resistance movement.

“Impeach 45! Impeach 45! Impeach 45!” Representative Maxine Waters, D-California, said she applauded in July 2017 in a controversial headline-grabbing moment.

Then again, it might be a mistake to read too much into the movements of a man known for his impulsive decisions.

“People would say it’s like he’s playing 3D chess. But sometimes he’s just playing with blocks,” said Nunberg, Trump’s first adviser. “He’s in ‘thes’ ‘The Apprentice’, the tycoon, the icon, the real estate baron. The 45th president.”

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