No matter if you love him or hate him, the fact is "the Donald" is actually winning the Republican primary (in spite of himself)!
Now the question should not be why, but HOW? How is it that someone who was NOT taken seriously at first, then dismissed on several occasions, and then has had more than his fair share of verbal missteps that would have derailed anyone else, can emerge as the Republican front runner?
To understand the dynamics of his campaign gives marketers and platform builders alike an advantageous framework for building an audience of passionate followers.
If that's what you want for yourself, read on!
Well, being the "arm chair" anthropologist that I am, I love studying human behavior and how we as humans are influenced and persuaded in one direction or another. Needless to say, the 2016 Republican primary has been a behavior scientist's dream case study.
For us marketers and platform builders, what Trump is doing is a real-time case study in how to win friends, and influence people. The amount of continued buy-in and audience growth among the middle class that he continues to get is scary!
How is he doing it?
Like him or not, here's what we can learn from his approach and hopefully use for the greater good.
As I study how this dynamic is unfolding it's becoming no surprise that Trump is winning. Here's why Donald Trump is right on point with his marketing strategy:
5 powerful reasons Donald Trump Will Win The 2016 Republican Primary:
- Donald has a strong and simple message to market match.
Donald Trumps slogan, "Make America Great AGAIN!" speaks directly to the heart of the "military loving, small business owning, middle America." His statements are short, clear, and polarizing. While he may offend many, his base rallies around him and feel they have a cause worth fighting for.
His "vision" is simple enough to understand, but big enough to include more than himself. It speaks to the pain and frustration that a lot of people are feeling (because that don't feel great), and it neatly serves as a rallying cry that summons the "not so silent majority."
Practical Take Away: If you want preeminence in your market be very intentional and clear about "who" you want to attract into your tribe. Understand their core fears and frustrations; their wants and desires, and then weave these sentiments into a simple, spreadable message that breathes hope of the desired future they want.
Craft a clear offer that is simple to understand, speaks to their pressing problem, and promises a desired outcome they want.
- He's unquestionably different. Sally Hogshead, in her New York Times best seller, How The World Sees You, points out that in today's economy different is better than better!
Donald Trump is not a political insider. He's not a "career politician." And right now, career politicians are not very popular. He's a successful business person who is "Pro-America" and is not afraid to speak his mind, in an unfiltered way that resonates with a lot of the Right Wing, middle class.
Remember Donald Trump could have just as easily run as an independent. His choice to move into "a market" (the Republican party) was strategic. He saw the markets fragmentation and its frustration and new he could offer a "refreshing" contrast to the status quo.
Practical Take Away: Observe what your market's current social culture and economic climate is. Uncover the pains and problems that are most prevalent. Then identify the messages, norms, and sacred cows that can be killed at the alter of change! Then present your offer in a way that comes across refreshingly different than your competition.
Remember: You don't have be better. Just be different. Different is better than better!
- Trump exudes a sense of certainty in uncertain times. Tony Robbins, accomplished peak performance coach/ speaker/ & advisor often talks about the 6 basic human needs.
At the top of the list is "certainty." The assurance that one can avoid pain and gain pleasure is paramount and hardwired in our survival DNA. As humans we are hard wired to crave a sense of certainty. When we feel that the economy, our liberties, and our comfortable way of life are at risk we look for want seems certain that we can count on.
When a leader can show certainty in the face of adversity, and criticism, they become very attractive to the masses who seek it. Trump shows certainty by consistently throwing petty insults at his competition, and aggressively attacking the media. He has yet to actually talk about how exactly he'd make America great again.
But it doesn't matter! He doesn't have too.
People are attracted to his unapologetic and opinionated points of view that has become the voice "white middle class Americans" who feel ignored, under appreciated, and underserved.
Practical Take Away: When seeking to position yourself as the "unquestionable choice" in your market, it is to your advantage to amplify the pain that your target market feels and then be unwavering in how the current leaders and the current status quo has gotten things all wrong. And even if you don't know how things can change just yet, just keep beating relentlessly on the drum of change with conviction, passion, and a sense of purpose!
By doing this more and more your audience will grow. Be a model of certainty in uncertain times.
- He's very likable in a quirky way. Come on (I don't mean to be offensive here but), am I the only one who notices his abnormally orange spray-tanned skin, and fiercely hair sprayed "comb-over?"
Donald Trump is a walking caricature, yet he exudes a very relaxed disposition that makes no apologies for who he is, what he looks like, and how much he contradicts himself. Trump definitely likes himself and what he can offer.
This level of self confidence makes a person very likable. Now, before I go any further let me point out; Being likable is different than being liked.
As a former world class athlete I can honestly say while, at times I hated my competition (not personally but in a competitive sort of way), I can honestly say I respected and even admired different aspects of their game. Why? Because they were winners!
There is something very attractive and likable about "winners" (in anything). Let's be completely honest, winning makes you more likable.
And everyone wants to be associated with other winners.
- Trump built his fan base before he entered the race. This last point is a big one. What makes Donald Trump different than Ross Perot, the business billionaire and 1992 presidential candidate, or even Mitt Romney for that matter is, in addition to being a very successful real estate mogul, Trump has has had a hit t.v. show for over a decade and has always marketed himself and his personal brand very well.
Millions of people over the past 10 years plus have tuned into his show and have become fans. While, I am not saying that everyone who liked Trump on the t.v. show The Apprentice also would like him to be president. What I am saying is, enough of them are loyal enough Trump followers to offer the right amount of kindle he needed to start a brushfire within the Republican primary.
Having an audience first gave him the advantage over everyone else in the race before it ever started.
Practical Take Away: Take time to build your brand and tribe first! Nurture an audience and build a community of people who know you, like you, and trust you before you ever ask them to buy from you!
Build your brand and base before you enter the race!
Ok... I will cap it off right here. I hope you found this article useful as you build a platform that matters. If these principles can work for Donald Trump, they can certainly work for you.
These 5 observations will serve you well if you take the time to figure out how you can apply them to the campaigns you want to win.
And as always...
Be Strong, be Happy, & most of all Be YOU!
Because Trump seems to has a winning track record in the world of business, and feels completely at home in his own skin, he comes across very likable.
Practical Take Away: Win at something and do it in your own unique way! Become very good at a skill set and let the world around you know about it. Get results for a lot other people. Heck, make a lot of other people money. Become a winner who makes no apology for your quirkiness or short comings.
It will make you seem more human and relatable, while at the same time very attractive to associate with.
When you are seen as a "winner" that makes no apologies for who you are, even though people may not like you, you'll find that even your enemies can't help but respect you.