From The Editor | March 8, 2018

Love Him Or Hate Him But Is Trump The Perfect Case Study In Brand Publishing?


By Travis Kennedy

Love Him Or Hate Him But Is Trump The Perfect Case Study In Brand Publishing?

The four pillars of a sound Brand Publishing and Content Marketing strategy are:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Speak to your audience (as opposed to “at”)
  3. Tell your story, and
  4. Spark emotion

Now I’m not taking a political stance here, I’m simply extracting a piece of history and showing how the concepts of a successful Brand Publishing strategy can be utilized in everything from B2B, B2C and even politics.

  1. Know your Audience- During the 2016 election, Trump and his advisers knew they weren’t in a good position to win the popular vote.  The GOP was being viewed as the down party and there was an overarching sense of an impending colossal defeat.  On the eve of the election, on a long road trip in Florida I was listening to a political talk show on the radio (not much reception in some parts of FL) and heard one commentator describe the situation as “Not only will Trump lose the election but the GOP is so far out of touch with the American people that there is no end in sight for them to get back into the race for the highest office in the land for the next 20 years.”  Knowing this was the mindset, Trump’s team went to work and identified a solid base of voters who would, under no circumstances, vote for the Democratic candidate and then identified another solid base of voters who would never vote for THAT Democratic candidate.  Using that audience as a home base, he began to speak his rhetoric and construct a platform speaking directly to THAT base and that base only. 
  2. Speak to your Audience- As you might expect, that message was heard, believed and supported by a rabid base of supporters who longed to hear the things only Trump was saying.   Ideals that ONLY his base believed to be true were the cornerstone of Trump’s message and his audience loved it.  He continued to repeat the same terms over and over and over again in order to spark a crowd response.  He was speaking to his identified audience, and no one else.
  3. Tell your Story- Whether it was through the use of taglines or insults, Trump was telling a story.  His story was that everyone else who wasn’t a supporter of his was somehow defective.  In turn, those that did support him were in fact the defenders of a better America.  Many would call Trump’s narrative as nothing more than the ramblings of a sociopath but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t talking to everyone, just telling a story to a certain audience and turning them into fans of his “brand.”
  4. Spark Emotion- His “outside the box” rhetoric is the textbook example of how to spark an emotion. Whether you agreed with his message or not, it didn’t matter, he had a solid audience that was clamoring for someone to say the things (no matter how outrageous) they have felt for years but were afraid to say out loud.  The emotions he was evoking were a game changer.

Again, I’m not stating support or detraction from any side of the ongoing political debate surrounding the current president.  Love him or hate him is not what this is about.  What is important to recognize is that regardless of your own political views (or now agreed-to-by-all Russian “meddling”), the Trump campaign, against long odds according to most pundits, used an effective approach to win mindshare and ultimately the White House.

Image credit: "Donald Trump," Hayden Schiff 2016, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: