Before we even start, the answer is no.
You’re not any more Donald Trump than you were Barack Obama. They’re both unique individuals in a particular space and time in history.
So in the spirit of making this a valuable learning experience, do not attempt to shoe-horn yourself into “The 5 Leadership Lessons of Donald Trump” or the “3 Ways You, Too, Can Win Like Trump,” or anything that even has the whiff of easy money. It isn’t there.
Trump just won an improbable victory. This isn’t up for debate. I don’t care about your politics, either. Let’s focus on something we can all get behind – namely, making money and growing share.
You can’t mimic your way to success. But you can win by tapping the same nerves that he did. Just do it looking through the lens of your own brand and industry. Here’s how.
When we studied what we were to call, “the future of the brand/consumer relationship,” the first of 3 pillars in the Killing Giants Mindset 2020 Global Survey, we distilled 3 macro marketing trends that stood out from many of the others.
Seeking Control in an Out-of-Control World
Seeking Control was the first – and possibly most wide-ranging – of the macro trends. We no longer trust the institutions around us, from government to academia to the media to professional sports to big business to everything else – and we’re doing our best to wrest a little control back in our lives. We want to have a semblance of control over our personal and professional outcomes.
Raw spoke to the hunger for direct, unfiltered information straight from the source. We want to see the evidence first-hand, with our own eyes, and without your spin. This trend wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the first one, above. We see this in the explosion of streaming video, of ephemeral messaging apps, of the immediacy and transparency, and of the greater credibility of admitting we don’t have all the answers – but that we’re working on them. We also saw this trend hit the political landscape with tectonic impact courtesy of Wikileaks and Project Veritas. We want to see the evidence ourselves. You, dear CMO, and your brand are no longer the protagonist. Get used to being the narrator.
Heroic Credibility was our third macro trend, and it spoke to the hunger for larger-than-life, brave points of view and those that espouse them. We want boldness. We want a message that’s edgy and provocative. But more importantly, we will reject
you if you wilt at the first sign of push-back. We want you to stand up to political correctness and social media outrage. Stand firm and you win hearts and minds. Wimp out and we’ll crush you.
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These three macro trends define how consumers look at brand communications in 2016 and beyond.
They also presaged Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and his election as the 45th president of the United States, and quite a few other national and international events we’re seeing unfold before our eyes in this surprising year.
The power in this trifecta of macro trends comes to the fore when they’re considered together, in one holistic, organic, symbiotic system. And that’s where you come in, because this is how you’re going to reposition yourself and your brand going forwards.
You’re going to do three things.
You’re going to find every possible way to give your consumers a sense of control over their outcomes. You’re going to show them where they are in the process, in their buying and user experience, on demand. You’re going to show them how to gain self-sufficiency by using your solution, from managing their cash flow and usage to their consumption. You’re going to let them monitor their subscription on their phones, give them the tools to make changes on the fly, and preach to them over and over about how you’re protecting their sensitive data – and you’re going to show them, directly, transparently, how you’re doing it.
Next, you’re going to move towards an immediate, transparent, work-in-process footing for your brand communications. You’re going to be faster, less polished, and more human. You’re going to give up some control – an uncomfortable amount of control, really, showing your prospects, channel partners, and even competitors why you’re doing what you’re doing as well as what you’re working on. Scared yet? Good. You’re going to show them how it’s designed, where the materials come from (right down to the farm), and why you care so damn much about what you do. When things go wrong, you’re not going to huddle up in the war room with the PR agency, you’re going to grab your phone and live stream what you think is going on, what you’re doing to get more information, and how you’re going to keep them in the loop. Everything you do from now on will be in some state of rawness. Smaller bites, more frequently, with a whole lot more exposure.
Last, you’re going to find out exactly how far out on that edge you and your culture can go without having a panic attack. You’re going to distill the movement you embody that so far transcends your narrowly defined product category that your people will walk with their feet off the ground. You’ll be bigger than your industry. You’ll shout this from the rooftops. And if you get pushback, you’ll double down hard. So be sure you know what you’ve signed up for. Edgy is a tattoo. It hurts going on a lot less than it would hurt coming off, so be sure of what you’re saying and where you’re putting it. It will define you. And that’s a good thing.
There. How hard could that be?
Do these three extremely difficult things and you will be tapping into the same macro trends that our new president did. You will ride the same wave of consumer sentiment and address the same deep needs that pulled off the greatest political upset in our lifetimes.
You don’t need a baseball cap. All you need is a blueprint.
PS: there are 6 other macro trends we spotted from our 7,800 interviews (1,500 in the US) in 12 countries. You can download the key insights here, at DLStrategy.com. Hope you find them useful.
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.