That first sentence either made you smile…or it made you spit. Either way, it’s okay. The purpose of this post isn’t to judge you, regardless of who you voted for.
There are a few theories about how, with no political experience, Trump came to be President:
- The Democratic Party insists that the Russians are to blame.
- Both liberals and conservatives have cited rising distrust of Hillary Clinton, based on the results of the FBI investigation into her use of non-secure, private server for federal business while she was Secretary of State, as well as Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation.
- Conservatives say it’s because Trump hit the right nerve with the working man—that the government status quo of the past 35 years has enriched itself while neglecting the people it was intended to serve.
I thought that this last point was closest to the truth but it’s still not quite 100 percent. I think there’s an even bigger reason for Trump’s win, which I only fully realized after hearing his inauguration speech this afternoon.
What I feel is largely responsible for Trump’s success was the consistency of his message: from June 16, 2015, when he announced his run, right up through his inauguration, it has been (Do I even need to say it?) “Make American Great Again.”
Now before you start rolling your eyes and condemning me as being “just another simple-minded copywriter” consider a few questions:
· Why do people choose to shop at Wal-Mart?
· Why would some people rather have an iPhone?
· Who do you call for next-day package delivery?
People shop at Wal-Mart because it’s cheaper. For 19 years, the company’s slogan was “Always low prices.” In 2007, they changed it to “Save money. Live better.” They’ve been repeating those messages in every ad for nearly 30 years. So who do you think of when you need to save money?
People line up early for the new iPhone and pay considerably more for it than most Android phones cost because Apple emphasizes innovation and design in all of their marketing: “Think different,” “The only thing that’s changed is everything,” etc. A large group of people strongly identify with those values.
FedEx is the name that jumps off of most peoples’ lips when you mention next-day delivery. It has everything to do with the messages they’ve repeated for decades: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” “The world on time,” and “Relax, it’s FedEx.”
It’s a truism in marketing (first identified by Bob Berg, in his book Endless Referrals) that “People will do business with those people they know, like, and trust.”
And it must occur in that order, starting with “know.”
The way a business gets the public to “know” them is by repeating its message often.
Even if you don’t shop at Wal-Mart, don’t use FedEx and don’t own the iPhone, you’ve seen or heard their message so often, that you know what each of them stands for. You know what they value.
When you come to know someone, it opens the door for you to like them. Just that little bit of familiarity that you’ve built up by hearing their message regularly gives you a degree of affinity for them.
This is how a company builds a strong brand. It’s also how one candidate built a strong brand.
Trump’s success is due in large part to his marketing: “Make America Great Again” was everywhere. It’s on his website. In his emails. On hats. t-shirts, bumper stickers, and coffee mugs. He stated it every time he spoke in public.
By constant repetition of his message, Trump built a strong brand for himself. People came to know him.
On the other hand, while his main opponent had far more experience in politics, she lacked a message. She lacked repetition. If Hillary Clinton had any brand at all, it was the one the media created with its constant repetition of messages about her involvement in numerous scandals.
Or maybe it was the Russians….
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Every business has a message, though not all of them have discovered what their message is.
Your company’s message should express your core value and what differentiates you from your competition (these are often one and the same), in a way that benefits your customers. That’s your brand.
“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers,” said businesswoman Elizabeth Arden (of make-up fame). So, once you’ve isolated your message, repeat it as often as possible in all of your marketing efforts.
If you need some help working out your brand messaging, I can help you with that. Call 323-646-2469 or email me steve (at) @stevewagnercopy (dot) com