2016 is turning into a year full of surprises.
If you’re like most of Americans, one of the biggest surprises is that reality TV star and real estate mogul, Donald Trump, is still in the running for the 2016 Presidential Election.
How in the h…?
Regardless of your political leanings, Trump’s rise to the top in this historic election is a great example of expert marketing and public relations.
While known for his outrageous statements and overt sexism, racism, and most other offensive –ism’s, Trump’s branding strategy is superb.
Here are three branding lessons we can learn from Donald Trump:
Target Market Focus
Lots of people don’t like Donald Trump, despise Donald Trump, and (probably) won’t ever vote for Trump and…he’s okay with that.
Trump’s branding strategy exhibits superb implementation of the target market principle. Instead of worrying about everyone (like myself) that will never be a T-man fan, Trump streamlines all messaging to appeal to his clearly defined target market. What may appear to some as wild rants and raves, Trump purposefully focuses his messaging on the hot-button issues of his target market. He provides a voice for their concerns and priorities, ignoring many traditional debate topics that previously dominated voter population share outside his well-defined following.
As a marketing professional, it can be easy to fall into the trap of casting too wide a net when it comes to brand recognition and customer acquisition. Everyone is NOT a potential customer, and by trying to speak to “everybody”, one can completely miss the boat with would-have-been customers (aka: their target market).
Like Trump continues to demonstrate, marketers should identify their target market and speak to them.
Forget about everyone else.
Keep It Simple
Donald Trump follows the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principal and crafts his message accordingly. While other candidates may drone on and one about (quite important) foreign policy and economic initiatives, Trump speaks in a distinctly declarative manner that can be easily quoted in a 140-character tweet.
I mean, what does “Make America Great Again” really mean?
The voters don’t know – they just know they love it.
It’s simply something that sounds good and is easy to remember – like the Oscar Mayer Wiener jingle.
Marketing professionals are often tempted to overthink and overload their brand’s messaging, trying to pack in every last competitive advantage and service feature in their already jam-packed elevator pitch.
Take a lesson from “The Donald” and keep in mind market majority doesn’t operate on an encyclopedia level. Today’s consumers want bite-sized morsels to digest; simplified messaging that’s easy to remember and even easier to relay.
I’ll admit, I was shocked when Trump made it through the primaries.
How had a candidate with no previous political experience make it from endless internet meme to GOP forerunner?
Trump’s authentic style – albeit often overtly offensive – resonated well with a large share of voters.
The Atlantic recently ran an interesting article containing multiple responses to the question of “Why do [you] support Trump?”.
One respondent stated, “What you see is what you see, all the cards are on the table.”
Following an era of widespread distrust (thanks to corporate fraud, economic collapse, longest war in US history, etc.), American voters want something genuine, something real – not the typical blueblood political legacy we normally see toting the party line. While Trump’s obstinate image has been called a lot of things overt the past few months, many voters view him as incredibly authentic.
When branding a company, a product, or even a celebrity personality, today’s marketers should recognize consumers’ affinity for authenticity vs. traditional corporate-speak. Being “real” is more than just a catchy slogan or aesthetically-pleasing logo – its’ about connecting with your target market on a human level (especially when digital strategy is implemented).
While the Trumpster may continue to be making headlines with his boldly brazen, not-so-politically correct statements, his performance in the polls continues to climb, providing today’s marketing professionals with a one-of-a-kind (in true Trump style) case study for all things branding. By focusing on one’s target market, keeping it simple, and prioritizing authenticity, marketers can move towards successful brand development.
About Hannah Becker:
Becker Digital is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations Agency dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to reach their goals. We apply our expertise in community development, social media strategy, and public relations to connect organizational clients with today’s always-scrolling online users.