Blog and Ideas
November 25, 2016
By Adriá Muñoz

Trump and the paradigm shift in communication

How an effective communication strategy can take you to the Oval Office

Trump and the paradigm shift in communication

President Elect Trump shows us that well-executed communication and marketing can lead to the most inappropriate outcomes, even in the White House.

Prior to social networks, communication was a monopoly controlled by the few; newspapers, radio stations, television channels … all controlled with commercial sales in minds, and of course, in the interests of very few. And to be considered this type of mass communicator, it required studies of communication and journalism. The world of communication was a select club, of which a few could be a part of.

Then social networks surfaced to change the rules of the game. Now, in order to communicate, you just need to have a message, and an audience. It does not take an editorial line or specific education; you do not even have to be a scholar with the written or spoken word. Today, social networks have managed to be considered one of the top means of portraying information, all it requires is for someone to communicate.

This paradigm shift in communication through social networks has been the perfect breeding ground for significant movements such as The Arab Spring, or access to free, quality education through platforms such as Coursera.org.

The impact has been so great that conventional media have had to adapt to these new methods of communication, so now we’re seeing big media platforms such as the New York Post creating small video clips on news of general interest.

But not only the media have used this to reach new audiences, politicians have also used the same means to reach their voters. First was Barak Obama with his famous campaign “Yes We Can!” And more recently this week’s US President-elect Donald J. Trump addressed the masses through the YouTube platform.

The particular case of Donald J. Trump demonstrates the extent to which the paradigm of communication has changed. It was previously unthinkable that a presidential candidate could utter profanity, and blatantly share racist, homophobic, and sexist messages only to reach such high popularity that it resulted in him winning the presidency of the United States. This shows us that the important thing is not the way in which the message is shared, nor the tone … the most important thing is that your message connects with your audience. Many things can be said against Trump, but what is undeniable is that he knew very well who his audience was and how to connect with them. The key elements that have brought Trump into the White House were:

  • Empathy. He was able to exploit the discomforts and needs of his audience, which he allowed him to connect directly with them on a personal level.
  • Branding. He cultivated his brand exhaustively, in such a way that it is almost impossible for most people to dissociate it from success. When his father left him control of the company, he renamed it the “Trump Organization”, and from there forward, any company he undertook was left with his mark; such as the Trump Tower in New York, the jewel of the crown. And despite the fact that he’s had a lot of bankruptcies (Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump Air Lines, Atlantic City's Taj-Majal Casino, …) he has kept them out of the public eye thanks to business endeavours such as the TV program “The Apprentice” or with the Best Seller “The Art of the Deal”, linking him and his brand with business success. Furthermore, he worked on the branding of his opponents (Crooked Hillary, Crazy Sanders, …) so that he not only had his opponents defending themselves against such motes instead of making a campaign proposals, but also, in the eyes of his voters it was impossible to think of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders without remembering the derogatory statements with which Trump reshaped their appearance.
  • Urgency. His message of alarmism and urgency to change the country's course (when the population was already hungry for change) helped create the need to vote for Trump before it was too late. Which brings us to the next point:
  • Indignation. He was able to exploit the indignation created by the fact that entrepreneurs (like him) offer up jobs to China, or other countries or the outrage created by Obama Care, or the outrage created by Hillary's emails …

As we can see, marketing and communication are tools that when well employed, can lead the even the least suitable candidate to the top.

Imagine what Mijo! Brands can do with the right customer.

Adriá Muñoz is an audiovisual strategist at Mijo! Brands, a leading creative agency in Puerto Vallarta and CDMX. Visit us at www.mijobrands.com or contact us.

 

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