Your Labels Matter
We don’t line up to follow suspected losers in important situations. From the beginning of the primary, Trump used the power of suggestion to insinuate his win and declare his opponents weak. He brilliantly labelled them with characteristics that made them seem unfit to lead, systematically removing them from the race with nicknames. “Low-Energy Jeb,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Nervous Rubio” — you remember. These names ingrained subconscious messages in the public’s mind. Trump seemed to be the only one with the confidence, composure and strength to win.
Insight: What labels are you using for your brand? Your promise? And the value you deliver? How are you labeling your competitors?
Your Irrational Supporters
Clinton lost the election in part because she took the bait. Rather than focus on her own capabilities, she focused on Trump’s character. Meanwhile, Trump knew that once he had secured the foundations of his support, Middle America, nothing would sway their support for him. He said it himself when he said he could shoot someone and still be loved enough to win.
Trump swiftly created cultish loyalty. Even when the sexual assault scandals surfaced, supporters rallied behind him to prove the rumors wrong. This was irrational — but more importantly, evangelical. His supporters dismissed all of the wrongdoing and worked hard to convert others to their position. This is parallel to religious zealots working hard to convert others to their faith without hard proof of the religion’s validity; the experience is akin to a dopamine rush, based on the anticipation of a reward.
Insight: What are you doing to create such happy customers that they will fight for your brand’s reputation, and spend their personal energy and reputation convincing others to support you? Can you come up with spellbinding customer journeys and fanatical customer service? Can you come up with ideas that trump all of your competitors, no matter what you offer or do?
Your Headlines Matter
Content: not so much. Trump proved this again. When the Access Hollywood tapes got released (by whom?), Trump flooded the headlines. CNN and Fox News were saturated with Trump coverage for the last three weeks of the campaign. This timing alone effectively made Hillary invisible.
Trump supporters took to the airwaves to support and defend him, while the media used his sound bites and headlines to gain viewers and ratings. Hillary had to use Beyoncé and Jay-Z to get even a five minute coverage window.
All of Trump’s publicity was free and fastened his name to the public’s mind. Reports show his campaign spent the least among of any U.S. presidential candidate in the modern era.
Insight: Get noticed. Grab attention and make headlines. Do something worth talking and posting about. Spread the word to every blogger and influencer in your industry, as well as every relevant online newsletter and publicity outlet. Get your name out there. People flock to popular brands just like they do candidates. People perceive the best-known as the best.
While you don’t have to throw integrity out the window to win sales and loyalty, you do have to know the basics of the psychology of choice. And you have to play by these rules. When it comes to human nature, the rules don’t change. Never have, never will.