How President Trump Used the Ruler Archetype to Build A Political Brand

Branding is at the cornerstone of politics, as many can attest when it’s time to cast a vote. From emotionally charged advertisements to heated debates, branding oneself in the political arena is a necessity to stay in the race till the end. Understanding brand archetypes helps anyone in politics better connect with voters across cultural and economic differences.

This week I’m reviewing the American presidency and more specifically, President Trump’s Ruler archetype. Important to note: this article is neither for or against the president, but merely an analysis of the current administration’s brand archetype and its role in contemporary political branding practices.


BrandType: The Ruler Archetype

In a nutshell the Ruler is anyone in power. Think corporate CEO, heads of state, kings and queens, and even soccer moms. Rulers are those in command, wielding authority over others. The overarching theme with any Ruler archetype is control. Without it there would be chaos.

Motto: Power isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

Setting policies and procedures provides a sense of mastery for the Ruler. Fulfillment is found in power over others (or the world in some cases), and their innate fear that chaos will ensue if they fail to take control is what drives them internally. Go against the Ruler and you will be of course be banished. While the Ruler may take counsel, they do not let others make decisions. Anyone who attempts to steal the spotlight or dethrone them will meet an unhappy ending.

The stages of the Ruler archetype:

  • Level One: leadership of your own life

  • Level Two: local leadership including family, organizations or workplace

  • Level Three: extended leadership in society, professional field or globally

  • Shadow: tyrannical and/or manipulative behavior

While great leaders inspire, the worst can be controlling. No matter which end of the spectrum the Ruler embodies, they all understand the importance of image, status and aesthetically appealing to the masses. They surround themselves the best of things and often use culturally approved status symbols to convey their message.

Rulers gravitate towards organizations that contain a hierarchy or that have official titles, as they best help others distinguish who’s the ‘boss.’ This level of importance dominates in any role a Ruler takes - whether it’s at home, at work or even at play.

President Trump and Branding the Presidency

It’s no surprise that President Trump has embodied the Ruler archetype, both before and during his presidency. A well-known businessman and financial risk-taker, President Trump has been in the real estate business since 1971, the year he entered into the family business after graduation. Not only a businessman, he’s endorsed, sponsored, and hosted a variety of entertainment products and services throughout the year. He’s also heavily invested in golf resorts and hotels.

Aside from his extensive financial portfolio, he has now added American President to his resume.

By leveraging his Ruler archetype, he successfully won the White House bid and became the 45th President of the United States of America. Scandals aside, let’s look at how the Ruler helped him get there.

He Let His Experience Lead

For those who like him, they value his financial experience. Building multi-million dollar companies positions him as a leader in the real estate world, not to mention gives him leverage when it comes to talking about money. Rulers take center stage, which President Trump has done many times and has made him familiar with the spotlight. Rulers also don’t hide their expertise, something President Trump has no problem reiterating time and time again.

He Used Status Symbols

Remember that ‘60 Minutes’ interview of him sitting on a gold chair? In fact, his entire family was sitting on gold chairs. This was the quintessential Ruler moment following the election in November 2016: Rulers surround themselves with items of luxury to show their status. President Trump’s lavish lifestyle - from Trump Towers to his wife’s style - are all examples of the Ruler symbols in use.

He Fires Anyone He Disagrees With

Rulers don’t like it when others disagree with them but they get particularly livid when they feel others are actively attempting to remove them from power. If a Ruler feels threatened they will do everything in their means to take down their enemy. President Trump’s advisors have experienced this recently, perfectly summed up in this image. While scandals have been rampant in this administration, a Ruler in his shadow will often evoke more chaos in an effort to exert control.


3 Tips for Working With Ruler Brands or Customers

1 | Rulers Like to Be Right

Whether it’s your boss, the PTA president or a domineering brand, know that Rulers like to be right. You cannot simply walk in and attempt to change things up, nor can you assume they will be comfortable with you claiming a piece of their spotlight. Work your way in slowly and survey the scene before taking any action, allowing you to determine a more successful course of action.

2 | Play Into Their Power

Power is the central theme with Rulers so if at any time they feel powerless, watch out! Working with rulers means giving them control, whether that’s through customization of your product or service or giving them options so they feel they are the ones making the decisions. With power also comes prestige, so offering high-end or VIP packages at a premium price are all synonymous with Ruler qualities.

3 | Be the Expert

Ruler brands know what they are talking about and their customers turn to them for support, direction and advice. Rulers speak with authority and are leading experts in any field. When times are tough, Rulers are looked to for their quick decision-making skills and ability to handle a crisis with ease.

Know a brand that has all the Ruler qualities? Share your example in the comments below!

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