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  • Emmet Consulting

Game on Trump Theory

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

Whenever I talk about brand strategy and behaviour these days, conversations often sashay into the ever-topical Trump and US mid-term results.

Authenticity and Consistency

Marketeers talk brands and the need to be authentic and truthful. Whilst I’m not advocating Trump’s behaviour, values or policy, one thing he has most certainly been is true to his brand. Trump is being Trump. His policies and behaviours have been consistent regardless of his role, be it real estate tycoon or President. 

Trump's M.O. is to court controversy and reset expectations as to what’s acceptable and what’s not in government and presidential behaviour itself. In the mid-terms, his ‘competition’ avoided directly tackling him on his agenda and his supporters glide over his apparent lies.

Where to play and how to win 

Whilst Trump supporters don’t necessarily believe everything he says, especially his most egregious, craziest lies… they see his language as expressing deeper truths (research from Oliver Hahl of Carnegie Mellon, after the 2016 election). When voters become inoculated against politicians lying, or failing to deliver on their promises, it significantly lowers the bar and opens the door for Trump antics.

There are parallels for organisations – financial institutions are top of mind right now. When institutions suffer a crisis of legitimacy, particular grievances can breed distrust in existing power structures. So, when someone comes along and threatens to disrupt the establishment, people are often prepared to take a chance on something that’s perceived to be authentic and alternative (not the same-same, but different). 

Game changing take-outs for brands

  1. Be authentic to your brand

  2. Game changing opportunities can come from myriad sources – political, economic, social and technological. Have an open mindset to see and seize these moments when they come along

  3. Instead of lamenting consumer fatigue, use it as a catalyst to stimulate opportunities to trial new products and services. Look beyond the obvious

  4. Consumers have a value hierarchy – we don’t have to be the best at everything, sometimes being distinctive or different is enough - even Presidents.


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