Regardless of your political leanings, there is something unmistakable about the Donald J. Trump Phenomena in this 2016 primary election season and how he’s not only made this one, one for the record books, but one that has befuddle both the political experts and the media alike. They can’t figure out why he keeps resonating and nothing keeps him down. It’s all about understanding marketing more than understanding politics, something the establishment nor media is really good at.
Odd? Politics and Marketing? If you think about it, Politics is the Ultimate Personal Branding test since any campaign lives or dies by it. Unfortunately most politicians have a difficult time grasping that because they are more focused on the power of politics and policies.
Trump’s Figured Out Something Political Pundits & The Media Don’t Understand
Trump’s figured out something the politicians, especially the establishment politicians, and even the media haven’t a clue about, have trouble understanding and totally do not grasp.
So what has Donald J. Trump figured out (likely very long ago) that the political establishment & pundits on both sides and the media are all scratching their heads about? Think about it, both sides have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this candidate and yet he’s not just leading, but he’s bringing out more energized voters than we’ve seen – even more than in 2008 – to a primary election.
Trump Started with Why.
Think about it, why is Trump running for president? To Make America Great Again.
You knew this from Day 1. He’s never wavered on that message. He’s never changed his why and he’s related that why consistently and cohesively over and over again. Sure he’s stumbled on the debate stage, had to walk statements back and has had goofs in interviews, but he’s maintained his WHY in a fervent fashion.
Why are the other candidates running? Can you easily rattle that off? Is it easy to remember? Even more to the point, why is the #NeverTrump movement throwing millions of dollars into negative ads about Donald Trump? Why do they want to stop trump? You can say the why is to “stop Trump” but reality, that’s the how. Why do they want to stop Trump? There are so many theories in the media and among themselves, there’s no cohesive reason why they want to stop Trump.
Bernie Sanders gets close. You can say he’s running because he wants to “start a political revolution” which resonates and is easy to remember – but again, that’s a how, not exactly a why – or not one that he’s consistently related as to why he’s running, is it? Even further thought, why does Sanders want to start a political revolution? There’s not one easy to remember reason why Bernie is running like there is Trump. That’s why Bernie’s having a harder time getting the Democratic Super Delegates to switch to him. It’s not enough to say “we need a political revolution” without outlining why you think there needs to be one in the first place in a clear concise easy to repeat manner.
Personal Branding Starts With Why You Do What You Doing
Cruz, Rubio, Kasich and Clinton all have a significant personal branding problem. They all have started with the what and the how, not the why. When people understand why you are doing something, why you are throwing yourself into the very tenuous process, and they can very easily understand you why for doing what you are doing, it resonates and catches fire.
The opposition can clamor and complain about media coverage all they want, they all can throw negative ads at Trump, but until any single politician or super pac figures out the “WHY” of what they are doing and communicate that easily, it’s going to be hard ….. and extremely expensive to out maneuver Trump at this point. Just look at Jeb Bush’s super pac’s ad spend before he dropped out and how many votes he garnered. Bush and his super pac never related a clear and concise “Why”.
That’s not to say Trump’s competition can’t come close. Polls are certainly closing. Negative ads do take their toll, debate performances full of “what” and “how” answers provide clarity. But think about it. Do you see any of these politicians pulling in 20k+ for every rally – consistently? That type of enthusiasm, that type of belief, that type of following is hard to deny. It doesn’t matter how conservative, which donations were given, whether he fully understands certain policies or not. This “enthusiasm fire” Trump has started is because he clearly articulated from day one WHY he’s running. People not only relate with that reason, they believe he’s true that reason. When that belief resonates, it’s hard to sway them to another cause or candidate.
One Liners & Reformulating Working Slogans Won’t Make a Dent
Cruz’s favorite line lately is “It’s great to want to make America great again. You can even print it on a baseball cap. But that’s not enough, people need to know how you are going to make it great again.” That’s true, but they want to know why you are here, in this race, first.
Clinton’s newest line of many is that “I want to make America Whole Again.” Definitely a swipe at Trump’s “Why”, but there’s a few issues with that.
- She’s following Trump’s lead
- She never lead with this “why”
- She’s had so many slogans so far this season, no one really knows why she’s running with currently
If you ask the average “Joe” on the street, there are more likely to say a few things about why she’s running because it isn’t clear. You’d likely hear “wants to continue Obama’s legacy”, “it’s her time”, “she’s a woman and wants to break the ultimate glass ceiling”, and so on. If you want people to believe you and understand why you are in this, you need to lead with your own WHY.
This isn’t just some guessing or pontificating I’m trying to relate here. It’s proven by the biggest brands in the world who lead with WHY, like Apple for example. Apple, from its inception has always started with WHY and its why they have both the most rabid following of any tech company and why they are also considered one of the most valuable brands on the planet.
To Understand… Read The Book
If you want to understand why Trump is winning, you can read his best seller “The Art of the Deal” – but that’s more the how he’s doing it. If you want to truly understand the “Trump Phenomena“, read Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why“.
Unfortunately for this political season’s candidates, it’s a bit late to now “Start With Why”.