First, let me get something out of the way. I am not voting for Donald Trump and I think he is a megalomaniacal buffoon. That said, I think he is a brilliant marketer. As I observe the inexplicable phenomenon of the Trump campaign, I believe there are important marketing lessons to be learned from him.
Be Authentic: One Trump 60 year old factory worker, when asked why she supported Trump, put it simply – “He tells it like it is. A lot of politicians jut lie.” One thing you have to grant Donald Trump – what you see is what you get. You might not like what you see, but at he is the only WYSIWIG candidate in the race. In a sea of poll-driven, focus group tested and think-tank vetted candidate positions, people find it refreshing to hear a candidate who says whatever he wants and sticks to his guns, polls and media be damned. The branding lesson – be yourself. Don’t be a candle in the wind, swayed by market research and fickle consumer preferences. If you see yourself in the mirror of other people’s perceptions, you will get a very distorted image.
Heart, not Mind: Media pundits and political analysts have criticized Donald Trump for having illogical or contradictory positions on issues like immigration and abortion. They are missing the point. You can’t fight emotion with logic. The Trump brand relies on charisma and emotional appeal. It has nothing to do with logic. People don’t expect him to have a nuanced understanding of the economic, geopolitical or social issues that confront the next President. Trump wears his ignorance as a badge of honor. While all other candidates pore over policy papers and briefing documents, Trump strides onto the debate stage with his million dollar smile and billion dollar hairstyle. He’s like the annoying kid we all knew in school who didn’t study a single day and somehow