The world is in shock. No one thought he could pull it off.
Despite damning footage and some promises that prove pretty frightening to a large segment of the American and global populations, Donald Trump has won the 2016 presidential race.
How did he fashion this history-making sneak attack?
He carried out a masterfully planned, masterfully executed brand strategy: One that met all the requirements of a winning campaign…of a winning brand.
Let’s talk about how he did it.
The Trump Campaign: A Lesson in Brand Strategy
Before we go too deeply into this, allow me to make one thing clear: I am neither affirming nor condemning the US’s President Elect. How to Build a Brand is not a political entity. In a neutral fashion, I’m simply analysing his bid for The White House and how we can all learn from his team’s brand strategy.
Here are some of the brilliant principles that he incorporated into his brand strategy, and how he implemented them:
- Knowing Where to Find his Audience: Long after Hillary stopped travelling to battleground states, Trump ramped up his speaking schedule in the areas where he knew people were desperately seeking his message. He knew that The Rustbelt, in particular, was suffering from massive job loss. 79,000 Pennsylvania jobs had vanished since the end of the recession. Ohio has a current unemployment rate of 4.7%. This is painful, and these people were not being acknowledged by anyone except Donald Trump. He won these states (e.g. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan) in an unprecedented sweep.
- A Specific Message: I’ve said it again and again: Spray and Pray doesn’t work. It spews out a general message to a general audience, and it’s just not sticky enough to the people who would be passionate about a more targeted message. Trump chose a message that was unmistakable: no new gun laws, war on terrorism, more beneficial trade deals, penalties for those companies moving jobs outside of the US, tax cap on large corporations, tax credits for childcare costs, deeper veteran benefits, reduced spending, the pulling of aid from NATO countries who haven’t paid their minimums, strict adherence to immigration laws (including deportation)…and of course, the wall. These are subjects that most Americans are either FOR or AGAINST…and his target audience is FOR just about all of them. He didn’t try to please everyone. Instead, he went for subjects that his voters would be passionate about and didn’t give a flip about the naysayers. In any brand strategy, a limited number of passionate followers is always better than a large number of half-hearted half-listeners.
- A Branded Language: This isn’t just about words; it’s about non-verbal language, too. The Trump brand is communicated through his unique, branded language. Watch any of his debates (or speeches), and you’ll quickly begin to recognise a pattern. There are his finger-to-sky gestures, jaw-setting, eye-rolling, and rhythmic gestures timed with speech. There’s that signature hairstyle. There are his serial use of double adjectives and adverbs, as well as phrases like “Very,” “Good People” and “Terrible.” His idiosyncrasies have given SNL’s Alec Baldwin and other impersonators plenty to work with. And whether they’re celebrating him or mocking him, they are furthering his brand strategy every time they mimic his verbal and non-verbal language.
- Drawing Attention to the Problem: We’ve been told to “rub salt in the wound” and to offer a solution to that pain. Donald Trump did just that. He tapped into the “forgotten sector” by addressing all of the things that had beleaguered them for the past eight years. He recognised the “invisible voter” and made them believe they were being seen. They repaid him with lots of invisible, surprise votes.
- Filling a Gap: What is Trump known for? Money, creating jobs, building enterprises, making smart deals, and speaking his mind without regard for political correctness. What is America lacking? His camp would claim it’s missing those same things. Trump detected some tight parallels between his own strengths and what a sector of people was desperate to experience. He filled gaps, and filled them snugly.
There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a brilliant business man who has built brilliant personal and corporate brands—so strong that they have endured the media’s exposing of some pretty damning stuff.
He applied that same wisdom to his bid for the presidency, with the help of his campaign team. His brand strategy worked, and it took the world by surprise.
Are you interested in harnessing that same brand strategy power for your business? You, too, can learn to build a brand strategy that reaches all the right people, delivers the right message and gets the right results…and you can learn it all at one of our B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamps. These events are one-day brand-building events that impart the three strategies we used to take our business from £0/month to £18,000/month in only 12 weeks. Check it out and reserve your spot today!