Unless you’ve been living under a rock on Mars for the past week, you can’t fail to have noticed that one of the most powerful countries in the world has elected a new President. Donald Trump is now set to take to the White House in January; a result which quite nearly broke the Internet. How did a celebrity business mogul with no previous record of holding an elected office successfully become a contender against one of the most experienced politicians in the world? Well, this my friends, is the power of marketing.
But did Trump stick to a tried and tested marketing formula? Not exactly. Yet this didn’t stop him from coming out on top. Let’s take a closer look at how this triumph (or, depending on your outlook, we could call it a tragedy) occurred by flipping through the pages of his winning marketing manual. Perhaps there’s a few lessons your business can steal…
Sometimes you have to break the rules
When it comes to building a social media presence for your business, one of the golden rules is to avoid making the sort of gaffe that could prove intensely damaging to your brand and bring down the vitriol of the Internet upon your head. Yet it would be easier to count the number of groups and individuals that Trump hasn’t offended in some way throughout his career, (both before and during his presidential campaign).
Trump flouted the rules and used his social channels as a means to show his personality and voice his opinions. Love him or loathe him, he certainly got people talking as his followings eclipsed Hillary’s by a long shot; Slate recorded 8.16 million Twitter followers, 7.7 million Facebook fans and 35,000 YouTube subscribers.
Whilst I don’t suggest you do a Trump with your company’s social platforms (there’s barely room for one Donald Trump in this world), I do suggest considering breaking the rules on occasion and considering whether all controversy is necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a bold statement which shows the human side of your company, or taking a different direction to what the rest are doing can get your brand noticed by a new market and strengthen the loyalty of current customers.
Hone your message
An article by Harvard Business School pointed out that the best marketing campaigns out there tend to provide a strong call to action, a clear message for consumers to do something – look at Nike’s hugely memorable ‘Just Do It’ slogan. Trump went with ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’, a statement which not only calls for supporters to unite, but offers a goal which sounds powerful, passionate and can be interpreted in any way you wish. It targets those that believe America isn’t great at the moment with the clear message that they can make a change together.
In comparison, Hillary’s ‘Stronger together’ may have the underlying sentiment of unification, but who is it really targeting? There is less of an emphasis on the goal, on forward motion and as a result, the message comes across as a bit vague.
Here, the lesson is to position your brand clearly and hone your message to a crisp, clear point. Or watch as the competition does it instead.
Know your audience
It really is the number one rule and one which ultimately won Trump the election. He knew who his audience were so well that he risked alienating other large groups of voters time and again. As noted by marketwatch.com, Trump focused his energies on the white working class people of Middle America by parading himself as living proof of the American Dream coming true. His team aimed all their efforts at them whilst Hillary made a play for, well, everyone. Commendable in theory, but when it comes to marketing and business, it’s a pothole to avoid. It might seem that offering as wide a marketing message as possible might equate to widening your customer catchment area, but by aiming to please everyone, you risk diluting your message and pleasing nobody in particular. At least, not enough for them to buy.
If smart marketing made Donald Trump into the President of the United States, who knows what it could do for your business. Contact us at M2 Bespoke to find out more.Ben Hollom
November 14, 2016