Unless you’re of a certain mindset, it’s highly unfashionable to admire anything about Donald Trump. His list of “…ists” grows daily. Whilst we can take from him a whole lot of stuff around how not to behave if you want to be a decent human being, is there anything that he can possibly teach us?
We suggest there are at least 3 things (maybe more) that whether you like it or not, we could all learn from Trump.
- Create your own bogey-man (or woman).
A tried and trusted strategy is to define yourself by what you’re not.
Trump started with a “I’m gonna drain the swamp” attack on the political establishment and elite which generated a huge amount of traction. The irony of course is that there’s no one more elite and established than the Trump family. And he’s continued with this approach of creating a bogey-man to position himself against. The current attack on the “squad” is as much about a carefully crafted strategy of positioning the Democrats as the “unpatriotic” party for his 2020 campaign as it is about any genuine concern that these congresswoman are “hate filled-extremists”. The point is, brands that set themselves up as antidotes to the established are enormously seductive (even where this doesn’t bear a lot of forensic examination).
- Know your audience
In the UK, the last 3 years of Brexit has seen our politicians painfully eviscerate themselves as they try to appeal to a broad cross-section. Trump knows his rust-belt audience well.He makes no attempt to engage the liberals… in fact he holds them up to his audience as the cause of all America’s ills. And they love him. He knows their fears and aspirations and aligns everything to these. His clarity of targeting means his messaging can be single minded, simple and loud. Very loud.
- Get personal
Trump takes everything personally. And he doesn’t forget. It’s not inconceivable that the real reason Trump abandoned Obama’s long negotiated Iranian nuclear deal had nothing to do with global politics and everything to do with how Obama humiliated “the Donald” at the 2011 White House correspondents dinner. Worth watching on Youtube if you haven’t seen it. But people respond positively to people that feel things personally. There’s a false logic that in taking things personally, it results in more effort, energy and success rate.
And there’s probably something else about self-belief but this could be dodgy ground as there’s a fine line between belief and delusion!
Brand Edge are a research & insights agency based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We push the boundaries and provoke new thinking about brands and customers.