Put your politics aside for the next five minutes. Donald Trump’s got something to say and, for marketers, it’s actually worth listening to.
Sure, it’s easy to laugh at Trump as a golden fleece-topped xenophobic beetroot. But it’s precisely that rhetoric that’s seen him capture the public’s imagination and see off all comers in the Republican candidate contest.
Brand Trump is in the ascendance. Having the Republican speaker of the House and majority whip in the Senate both criticise him only strengthens his position as the anti-establishment, anti-politician politician. Having spent years honing his act on the US version of The Apprentice, he knows precisely what he’s saying and the impact it has. This is key to his success.
Vast swathes of the electorate switch-off from politics because it doesn’t speak to them. Brand Trump does. It gives them no choice. It doesn’t just disseminate its own messages. It makes them newsworthy. Big, bombastic statements repeated on every channel on the hour every hour. The kind of coverage you can’t buy, even with his money. Shock and awe. Why knock politely when you can use a wrecking ball? Brand Trump is the power of mass media made real. Then rammed down your throat in super-size portions. In a word, it’s memorable.
Voters don’t go into polling stations with the words of the quiet, serious candidate ringing in their ears. In the same way, consumers don’t recall wallflower brands at the point of purchase. Most don’t care what the difference is between the stripy toothpaste and the one with sparkly bits. They just want to get toothpaste and go. When faced with multiple, virtually identical options, being remembered is as important as it gets. Or as Dave Trott said recently: "Something as basic as remembering the name is totally forgotten. Which is why most advertising is totally forgotten."
Brands are shortcuts through the maze of buying decisions. They make products more noticeable because you already know them. There’s a level of trust and familiarity. So it’s no surprise that the best brands are the ones that keep themselves alive in your mind. If there’s one thing Brand Trump does well, it keeps itself very much front of mind. Not so much gliding around your temporal lobe with the grace of Fred Astaire. More stamping all over it like a herd of elephants wearing golf spikes.
If there’s something to be learned from Brand Trump, it’s to stand for something. Be bold. Be brave. Have some balls. Don’t be afraid of upsetting people who would never consider you anyway. Say things that stick in people’s minds. Make them remember you. Make them talk about you. Help them choose you.
The rise of Brand Trump tells us that people are tired of the same. They’re ready for something different. Not the same old identikit options.
In an uncertain world, people want confidence. Someone to tell them which way to go. Just make sure your brand is the one telling them. Otherwise you might just be out of the race.
Adam Reynolds is a senior copywriter at Intermarketing Agency.