Marketing and politics share some resounding parallels. Marketers attempt to sell you a product or a service. Politics attempt to sell you an idea. Persuasion is the bilateral element that underpins the success of both practices.
Donald Trump, the 45th president of America, has demonstrated his advanced understanding of how to apply persuasive techniques in his propaganda.
When you decode the semantics of Trump’s statements within the political arena, he makes references to well-cited marketing theories in modern psychology, and tactics of persuasive rhetoric that date as far back as the 4th century.
Since being dismissed by the majority, Trump decided to forge himself an unpredictable persona. One that leaves people wondering what he’s going to say or do next. This has made him a volatile, yet interesting character to observe.
Whether you like him or dislike him, he’s got your attention.
Equally, Trump recognised the value in going against the grain. Instead of focusing on conventional areas of debate, Trump opted to take a different route by choosing to talk about topics that his opponents paid little attention to or ignored altogether.
TAP INTO EMOTIONS
Fear-based psychology or ‘scare tactics’, have been a cornerstone of political marketing strategies for centuries.
Aristotle was one of the first philosophers to observe that emotional arousal is a critical element in the art of persuasion. He claimed that emotions may give rise to beliefs where none previously existed, change existing beliefs and may enhance or decrease the prominence in which a belief is held.
At the core of Donald Trump’s marketing strategy is his appeal to emotion. By focusing on sensitive subjects and invoking nostalgia from the past, Trump has successfully tapped into the emotions of the populist voters en masse.
Think of the slogans and taglines that you can remember from the global brands that serve us every day. Just do it. I’m lovin’ it. Every little helps. Because you’re worth it.
The primary reason that we’re able to recite these taglines is because of the relentless repetition of their advertising. Repeat your message enough and it will eventually embed itself within the minds of your audience.
Trump utilises this approach with his tagline ‘Make America Great Again’ (a phrase first coined by Ronald Reagan) which he reinforces at the end of every public speech he made during his campaign.
Brand evangelists, or in this case, political loyalists voluntarily repeated his slogan, which undoubtedly gave momentum to his campaign.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave and had no contact with the outside world, the chances are you’ve probably heard about the arrival of the Pokémon Go app.
Donald Trump recognised that the popularity of Pokémon Go was a golden opportunity to give context to his message about Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.
His tenacious effort to discourage people from voting for Hilary may have been an unorthodox method of persuasion, but it massively bolstered his presence on social media.