The lay press is full of articles about "The Donald," now that he has supposedly cast his gaze on the presidency. Even his hair has captured headlines. But we think we understand Trump a little more, because we know he believes in intangibles.
When Forbes published its Billionaires list last year, Trump sat 488th in the world, at $2B. He dismissed the ranking, suggesting his name alone was "worth $5B." And while the article was brief, it did chronicle his personal escape from bankruptcy, and the financial collapse of his casinos. However, it did little to report on the value Trump, the brand. This isn't expected; that brand is homegrown. It isn't on the balance sheet.
Yet builders who build residence towers in NYC admit they can charge premium dollars if they license the Trump name to be on the building. That's what a premium brand can do. The reason people watch Celebrity Apprentice is because Trump is associated with it. His name resurrected beauty pagent franchises, no matter what some think of them. And he is carving out a quality name in golf.
Trump understands the value of publicity to his brand. That the race for the White House comes around every four years suits him just fine.