The old question, “how do you get someone to like you? You tell them what they want to hear,” can help answer the interrogative facing the nation today: what’s wrong with Trump? To which one quickly gets answers ranging from "everything" or "nothing" depending on how one perceives the presidency.
And that’s the issue. No matter what they tell you, it’s about branding, not politics — a little like whether one prefers meat or vegetables despite what others say or believe.
The president is underestimated by his critics because they simply do not understand the marketing and branding genius of Donald J. Trump. They fail to comprehend that since President Obama entered the political fray, politics has moved to a business model from a political one. With Barack Obama, the halcyon political days, steeped in tradition and body-politic folklore, changed.
It was a move away from a communications/messaging model to a marketing and branding paradigm that made the difference.
The thinking before Trump went something like this: With the right messaging and communications strategy, anything is possible, even getting the electorate to like Obamacare. Nowhere in this messaging and communications approach is an allowance for “what do voters really want?” For the communications/messaging crowd, anything is possible when they are clever enough to outsmart the public.
Consistent with this “group-think” is the perception that the president is incompetent and “unworthy” to hold office. Anything to the contrary to this narrative is inconceivable to this demographic. It simply cannot be discussed with any sense of logic or objectivity. Engaging in an intellectual search of the truth about “why Donald Trump is LOVED BY SO MANY” is a thankless enterprise that risks one getting banned from polite New York, D.C., and L.A. cocktail/dinner parties.
Cursed be anyone who appreciates what “Brand Trump” has accomplished: a humming economy, North Korean denuclearization program, and tentative trade agreements with Mexico and Canada. They cannot be taken seriously or otherwise Siberian-like measures are taken in nanoseconds against those who dare to question the Grand Inquisitor’s inquiries.
By even hinting at the president’s marketing prowess, one is labeled a vulgarian not worthy enough to be considered a member of the Homo sapiens genus. This is most unfortunate especially if one wants to beat the clever, appealing, and even charming brand that is referred to as the “Politician Known As Trump!”
For the objective branding expert, it gets down to this basic inquiry: How does one perceive the presidency? When one sees the president using the business model, he/she is the CEO who addresses the needs of its citizens made popular by Republican President Calvin Coolidge who said: “the business of America is business.”
This market segment includes small business owners, employees, Constitutionalists, and followers of Jefferson who believe that government that governs least governs best. The president for this voter segment is CEO of the country who must make tough decisions, whether popular at the time or not.
The other presidential idea is that of Political “Leader in Chief,” where words and deeds are the basis of all things presidential. Here it is imperative to parse one’s words so as to not alienate any group. By doing this, one misses a group not spoken to in a very long time — the silent majority. Something that the sophisticated marketing savvy Mr. Trump did not ignore.
Donald Trump’s brilliant marketing and branding strategy targeted this silent majority segment with a message that resonated with them. No other political figure was able to accomplish this for fear of being criticized by the political literati.
He was a brand that the man and woman on the street could relate to because he spoke and thought as they did. It’s the secret of Mr. Trump’s success and why his detractors respond with their classic behavioral meltdowns.
And for Trump’s critics, it's best for them to remember that it’s not about them, but about their targeted voters. And if they do, that they will realize that it’s always easier when you have branding and marketing in mind.
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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