The Branding Key Setup
Love him or hate him Donald J. Trump has taken this presidential election cycle by storm. Let me just start out by saying, that in no way is this article meant, or should it be taken as an endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign or his message. However, what started out as, and what was thought to be, a long shot, outsider bid for the most powerful office in the world, has turned into a serious campaign that has a real shot at stealing the GOP nomination from the well-established politicians. At first glance, it may not seem as though a content marketer or branding professional could learn anything from the rise of Trump for President. However, as with anything, if you examine it closer, there are at least 3 branding keys to learn, and to a lesser extent content marketing, that “The Donald” is teaching all of us.
1. Be Bold– “I’m gonna build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.” A bold statement that virtually launched and remained a staple of Mr. Trump’s campaign. Audentes fortuna juvat is a Latin proverb that fortune favors the bold, and at the very basic foundations of the Trump campaign boldness, whether right or wrong, has been a staple. Essentially what Mr. Trump has done is enact one of the 22 immutable laws of branding that Al & Laura Ries wrote about, The Law of Generic. In the world of politics, rarely does anyone saying something exactly as the average everyday American’s may be thinking it, but the whole “we’re gonna build a wall, and they’re gonna pay for it” shtick essentially does that. Instead of being the generic general electric or national biscuit company, it transforms his message into a brand, and with a brand he can create a brand identity in the same way the general electric transformed to GE, and national biscuit company morphed into Nabisco. By having a message that is bold, its cuts through the noise and creates what every brand needs to be successful, a clear, distinct point of difference.
2. Be Simple– “We gonna win. A were gonna win big.” In 1960, a US Navy engineer came up with a design philosophy that stated “keep it simple stupid” or better known as, “KISS.” What KISS said was that most systems work best if kept simple rather than made complicated. Donald Trump’s campaign has remained very straightforward and simple which has allowed the most politically uninformed average everyday American the opportunity to engage with his campaign and buy into a message that they don’t need a guide to translate. Everyone dreams of themselves as a winner and to say that America is not winning and that they will win, is a message that resonates very easily and is one that marketers have been using for generations. Why does Disney ask the Super Bowl winner where they are going immediately after the final whistle because it gives the connotation that winners go to Disney. Why do winners in any major sport, receive more endorsement opportunities; because people long to be associated with success. Success is a straightforward message that anyone can rally behind, much in the same way the Obama for President campaign used the message of hope & change during its successful presidential run. As Ronald Regan famously said, “there are no easy answers, only simple ones.”
3. Be Consistent– For a brand to have a legit shot at becoming a successful brand, it must stand for something to carve out a space to occupy in the consumer’s mind. Without, consistency, brands lose the ability to occupy the unique space in the mind of the consumer. Which allows the consumer a simple way to be able to relate and engage with that brand. Donald Trump has consistently been the brash, straight-talking outsider that is hell-bent on “making America great again.” He throws political correctness to the wind and says whatever is on his mind when it crosses his mind, in essence, he takes the late comedian Bernie Mac’s phrase “I say what ya’ll scared to say…” to a whole new level. However, erratic and irrational as it may seem, this consistent approach has further solidified his self-branded position in the mind of his supporters. Al and Laura Ries put forth in their book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, that one of the key facets of the law of consistency is limitation and brands must stand for something simple and narrow in the mind, see point number 2. Furthermore, they also state, “limitation combined with consistency is what builds brands.” If nothing else, the Trump for President campaign has been consistent no matter the backlash and this consistency along with boldness, simplicity, has allowed the Trump for president campaign to successfully brand their campaign, occupy space in the mind of their targeted consumer, and successfully implement 3 keys to branding.