Marketing Lessons from the American Election
First thing, a disclaimer. This article is strictly observational and I will keep any political leanings out of my writing. We will leave personalities out of this, so no matter what a buffoon or conniving snake you believe either candidate to be, that will not be discussed here.
That said, on with the show. The first observation is that none of the presidential candidates started with, and ended on the same campaign slogan, except for one. Donald Trump stuck to his campaign slogan from Day 1. All others changed wording, or their slogan altogether during their campaigns. “Make America Great Again” provided a vision of something better. “Hillary For America” was a recent change that doesn’t provide vision at all. The lesson here, consistency matters.
What the candidates did behind closed doors mattered, as most of it came out. Trump made some terrible comments years ago, and was seen by many as a bully.Clinton had an unauthorized server with classified information. This factored into trust. Again, I’m not saying that either candidate was free of faults, however this played into their personal brands. The lesson here, you need your audience to trust you. If someone is on the fence, don’t give them any reason not to trust you.
Your track record will come into question. It appears as though Trump’s years in business and amassing a sizeable net worth has aided him. Clinton’s years as a career politician was paid for by taxpayers and didn’t build anything of her own. The lesson here, how you contribute to society matters.
Being a steward of money may have also been a factor of trust. Clinton’s campaign budget was $1.3B while Trump’s was $795M. That is a fairly large spread. Spending huge sums of money for a campaign wasn’t the key. The lesson here is that spending doesn’t matter, the message does.
At the end of the day, with media coverage clearly favouring the Democratic party, and with almost double the campaign budget, there was a lack of trust that wouldn’t be repaired. For business, we need to understand that no matter how much money we throw at marketing, if you have a product or service that isn’t wanted or needed, customers won’t buy. They key is to have a trustworthy brand and products or services that your customer wants and needs. Simply spending and being clever about your marketing won’t cut it. Ensure FIRST that your brand is trustworthy. Trust is your foundation. Build on it.