Public relations, marketing and branding strategies, what we can take from Donald Trump.
Donald trump has taken the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign hostage, and regardless of whether or not you personally like the guy, we could all learn a thing or two from him, — or his PR team at least.
With his racy comments, mind-boggling ideologies, and head turning visions for the future of America, he has certainly kept the attention of not only Americans throughout his campaign, but the world. Whether for good or bad reasons, Donald Trump has certainly mastered the art of commanding media attention and generating out of this world headlines, and punchlines for that matter.
Yet, regardless of the countless ignorant, prejudice, racist, classist, sexist, bigoted, (I could go on) comments, gestures or suggestions he has made as of recently, he still appears to be generating a reasonably strong following while rising in the polls.
So what gives?
How did Trump achieve this golden ticket to brand survival in the midst of so much controversy? What is his secret to having the ability to say and/or do generally whatever he pleases, and still have people on his team? How has he built his brand reputation to be so solidified that he has the freedom, or luxury to offend without apology?
Put simply, Donald Trump is a master brander. Donald Trump once said “If you don’t manage your brand, somebody else will do it for you, and that somebody will likely be a competitor.” These are words Trump appears to live by, as for him sales and marketing are a 24/7 gig.
Know your market:
Identify your target persona through finding your target market. This is a basic marketing strategy. Not everyone is going to like you, so to focus your energy on trying to make that happen, isn’t wise. Trump knows this, and uses this to his advantage, by ensuring that he focuses on those who share his perspectives. Trump knows who his loyalists are, and every show he puts on, is for them.
In order to sell yourself, you’ve gotta know yourself. Ask yourself with confidence; who am I, what do I want to do, where will it take me, whydo I think I am the best fit, and when can I start?! By identifying who you really are, what you stand for, and why you want to do something, you will have established a working set of goals. Trump definitely knows himself. The Donald’s image has been meticulously constructed, and in order to do this, he had to take a long look in the mirror.
Know Your Competition:
The best way to know your competition is to study them. Learn their strategies and methods. Figure out what they have left out, and then exploit it. Make your competition look weak, incompetent, incomplete, or incapable of offering what you can. Always attack wisely. For Trump, this isn’t considered a task, he does this while he eat his breakfast.
Make Your Audience Feel Special:
Many brands attempt to be too inclusive, and non-offensive, in efforts to gain mainstream popularity, and the marketshare of everyone. Unfortunately, this seldom works. Targeting a select group of voters, allows Trump to focus on appealing to them the most by giving voice to their concerns. Making them feel special, and noticed. Trump treats his target market like an audience. He reads them, and then gives them the best show he can.
Keep it Simple, Stupid:
Trump plays into the short attention spans of many Americans. He keeps his speeches short and simple, minimizing intellectuality, and any call to action requiring his audience to actually utilize their critical thinking skills. Then, when he says something that generates a reaction, he repeats the message redundantly. He disregards political correctness, diplomatic speaking and generally everything else a seasoned politician would adhere to.
Take Risks, Get Noticed:
Playing it safe isn’t a part of the philosophy. Be controversial enough to be spoken about at dinner, but not so controversial that any mess you make can’t be cleaned up via damage control. Trump thinks outside of the box, and goes where no one else wants to go. Whether Trump’s thinking outside of the box insights positive or negative responses, this still renders him noticeable. People remember things they notice.
No Regrets, No Apologies:
Trump has capitalized on his ‘this is what you get’ sort of attitude, and it certainly works for him. He is an example of a bold — almost ruthless — no regrets, no apologies business model. He has appealed to Republican voters with his ‘I could care less what the critics say’ sort of attitude. He has taken this attitude so far, as to even shrug off experts who debunk many of his outrageous claims. He never backtracks, and certainly doesn’t admit fault, wrongdoing, or defeat.
Brand Management and Damage Control:
If there is one thing the Donald knows, it’s damage control. An expert at managing his brand, Donald Trump has dubbed this part of brand management as critical. Cultivating an image which transcends into the minds of people, is only the initial step. Maintaining what you have cultivated is crucial. Especially considering his habitual pattern of offending without apology, damage control to Trump, is considered a survival tactic. If you are not managing your brand, ensuring the image you want exhibited, then more often than not, a competitor will take it upon themselves to brand for you.
Strategize like you already have the trophy:
The law of attraction works in mysterious ways. Trumps confidence, almost made people believe he actually had a shot at taking the trophy. He was so sure of himself, that this resonated and made his audience absorb this confidence, and begin to actually believe that someone who calls himself “the Donald”, could be the next leader of the most powerful country in the modern world.
Play into your audience’s emotions:
The Donald identifies his audiences soft spots and touch points, and then exaggerates and blows them out of proportion. He has come to use the politics of fear to his absolute advantage. By exaggerating the problems that exist in America’s immigration process, he has effectively marginalized the hard working immigrants who add value to the economy, while also casting out those immigrants who seek refuge, and a chance at the American dream.
A brand requires dimension. It requires an identity that is differentiated from everything else on the market, aimed at establishing a presence in the audience’s mind that is unique and memorable. Although he has transitioned from business to politics, his brand has not altered, he has just made it applicable across another platform.
Although Donald Trump has very little chance of realistically winning the 2016 Presidential election, let alone the Republican primaries, he has done an awfully good job at making it look like he has a shot. He has done this successfully through the strategic use of branding, marketing, and PR tools and tactics. If there is one thing Trump knows how to do, it is leverage his brand equity.