Real lessons Donald Trump can teach us

Summary: We all know the secret of real style is having the personality to match.
The key lessons from Donald Trump about style and influence are not what you think they are.

This is a series of posts that began with, Influence marketing experts’ top secrets. Today we focus on the ingredients that help one become an influencer.

Recently I had a talk with two friends in brand marketing and one in the hotel business. Here are some of the topics we covered.

1. Storytelling: Just ask Pension Guggenberger

If you are a Gaestehaus Guggenberger, you do not have a multi-million dollar budget like the Mandarin Oriental group to tell your story. Hence, a global advertising campaign “He’s a Fan / She’s a Fan” with award-winning French actress, Isabelle Huppert or Morgan Freeman is out of the question.

Nevertheless, you can focus on what some call “signature stories”. This is an intriguing, authentic, involving narrative with a strategic message. Stories have been shown to be superior to facts in getting attention, being remembered and getting people to change opinions.

The story should represent some form of strategic statement (see Karen Dietz) about the firm’s mission, values, brand or customer relationship. In turn, it can help achieve corporate strategy.

As a family business for more than 30 years, we need to find a story that helps people relate to the hotel, including “heroes” who have done great things for guests (i.e. family members and employees).

Bottom line: If famous people are part of your marketing campaign, some celebs will do your brand and sales efforts some good, and others will not.

If we lack the cash, we can touch customers and clarify our business values by creating a powerful narrative – storytelling at its best.

Donald always has a story to tell – on and off stage. We may not like it, but it is interesting if not outrageous, and it engages. Hillary doesn’t manage this very well, but Sanders is giving it his best shot.

Read: Aaker, David & Aaker, Jenifer (2016). California Management Review, Vol. 58 No. 3, Spring 2016; (pp. 49-65) DOI: 10.1525/cmr.2016.58.3.49 (short synposis Stanford U.).

2. Superstar economics works – ask JK Rowling

As the author of the Harry Potter novels you have shown yourself capable of telling a great story.

But besides the story, if you are famous like JK Rowling, that helps you sell books. She used the nom de plume Robert Galbraith for The Cuckoo’s Calling, supposedly his first novel.

Shortly after it was published in April 2013 it got a few reviews, but nothing spectacular. Over seven months and with plenty of marketing, it sold only about 450 hardback copies in the UK under Galbraith’s name. But somehow through word-of-mouth or gossip it was revealed that JK Rowling was the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, at which point it surged to bestseller status on Amazon within a week.

Meanwhile, my book sold just under 1,000 copies in the first seven months even though the publisher had a hiccough. Such a number is great for a non-fiction, technical book. Nevertheless, without much marketing behind it, this illustrates that selling a lot of books is a tough job.

In this example superstar economics or brand recognition means your name is sufficient to cut through the increasing clutter of rivals and newcomers.

Bottom line: Name recognition makes things easier. For JK Rowling it means selling more books, for Hilary Clinton it won her a New York senate seat, and for Donald Trump it means… (see below).

3. Understanding influence: Ask style bloggers

You may not have the winning combination of a thought-provoking, interesting and possibly entertaining story to tell. Nor may the superstar economics or brand recognition of your name be good enough to get through the clutter of rivals and newcomers.

Authenticity is one more way to reach out. But for this Instagram fashion bloggers need to wear clothes that actually suit them. Furthermore, their style needs to express something of their personality, instead of the homogenous fairy dolls that typically populate the red carpet.

Some like Michèle seem to suggest that, “Real style is having the personality to match. I know it when I see it.”

As we discussed in the last blog entry, being female and young seems to help. Apparently, fashion labels believe that a 20-year-old blogger can sell a 50-year-old professional the brand’s latest creations.

Just because somebody has many followers or fans does not mean they can convince people to run out and buy their latest skirt from brand X. This even applies if you are making a living from brands, but actually are lost in a mess of peroxide and passionless fashionability.

See the above in action when you read, Hello, I’m Michèle, I’m a foolish, dumb, little blogger (so worth it – thoughful and sassy).

Bottom line: Influencer marketing is a great field where few can show anyone the numbers. It is not good enough to claim, “I know it when I see it.” Otherwise, why do brands fail to sponsor bloggers over 30? Do these people not need clothes, accessories or cosmetics?

4. Eyeballs matter: Just ask Donald Trump

So your story is authentic, with substance and intriguing. You are famous and your voice is being heard through the noise. But do you have the personality and style, if not substance to go with it?

This is what the US Presidential primaries illustrate. All candidates have or had a story to tell, but some are clearly better at being more authentic and engaging than others. One thing is clear, Trump was already considered the most visible of contenders in 2011 for November 2016’s possible GOP (Grand Old Party = Republican Party) presidential candidates in the US election.

Donald Trump has gotten more nightly network news coverage than the entire Democratic field combined (see report). Mrs Clinton has struggled to get the air time that Mr Trump has, a skill that helped him beat 16 rivals.

Above is from The Economist 2016-02-29: American presidential candidates and social media

Most of Donald Trump’s speeches or events tend to be carried live by US television networks. To illustrate, in week 21, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC chose to broadcast Mr Trump’s event in North Dakota, instead of an event by Mrs Clinton held in Las Vegas. This even though Mr Trump has essentially wrapped up the Republican nomination while the Democratic primary election battle rages on.

Mr Trump plays the media well and the media allows itself to be played with. It will be a tough fight for Mrs Clinton.

Interesting read: Does your marketing influence B2B decision-makers? Word-of-mouth is a winner – marketing, not so much. EMarketer. Retrieved, January 15, 2016 from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Your-Marketing-Influence-B2B-Decision-Makers/1012927

Bottom line: If you get a lot of TV airtime and are often written about in online and traditional media, it helps – as Donald Trump knows. It makes you even more famous (see point 1 and #helpilayda crowdfunding campaign).

5. Influence is tough to measure, but Donald Trump appears to have some

As our discussion in the Xing Social Monitoring Group between Jan SedlacekAldo Gnocchi and myself illustrates, influence is a difficult concept to grasp and measure.

When you come across a statistic that suggests nearly two out of five managers are influenced by their peers and colleagues, you start to think.

How much do they listen to their colleagues?
Does it stop them from firing somebody?
Will it get them to stay at my hotel the next time they are in Munich?
Will they change their vote from Trump to Clinton?

Word-of-mouth influences somebody to consider a new product or another brand, hotel, etc, but thinking about or even considering buying a brand is one thing. Going out and buying the product is a big step further than that, and reading an influencer’s tweet or blog entry will not do the trick alone.

The above is from our Social Media Monitoring group on Xing – Jan Sedlacek posted an entry.

Influence is difficult to grasp and even more challenging to measure. For instance, for an outsider it is hard to understand that a tennis player such as Maria Sharapova, who does not rank in the top ten, garners the most lucrative sponsorship deals. Nike was served disappointing news in March 2016 when Sharapova was found to have failed a drugs test. In turn, the company dropped its sponsorship of the tennis star.

And while Roger Federer is no longer at the top of the rankings, his sponsorship deals outshine those of Novak Djokovic, the current number one.

Accordingly, we do not know if Roger Federer or Morgan Freeman bring more guests to the hotel that features them in advertising. They might put our brand in a better light. We hope so. Unfortunately, we cannot be certain.

Table 1: JK Rowling, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton share their secrets
Here are the four factors to consider

1. Superstar economics works, but most of us ain’t superstars

So if you have a reputation in sports or as an actor, great. If not, most of us have to do without a Susan Sarandon or Julia Roberts as an ambassador to increase our occupancy rate at our small family hotel.

Hence, many small steps make the difference in selling enough product or services. Following tips 2 -3 below also helps a great deal.

2. Eyeballs matter, but you must tell me a great story

This year’s US primaries have demonstrated that getting free TV, print or digital media coverage helps a lot.

But are you outrageous, entertaining AND enough of a big mouth to get everybody’s attention? Do you mind getting the facts wrong? Donald Trump doesn’t care much about facts or people’s feelings (a somewhat scary combination if he becomes US president, I think).

Nevertheless, most of us might not want to be that rude. Nor do we come close to his skill at playing the media. Therefore, do not waste time trying.

Instead, be ready to tell an interesting story when given the chance. Hence, we need an:

inspiring and clarifying story that helps people relate to our label, brand or firm to get customers and media interested.
I still have to write mine – starting now. How about your story?

3. Setting goals helps, but focus on the top three tasks

How much money do you want to raise for a very sick child? In turn, what are the three most important things you need to do to raise these funds?

How high an occupancy rate do you wish to achieve for first and third quarter? What do you need to do today to raise your occupancy rate accordingly?

Your stories, content marketing, and social media use all have to help you make it happen.

Hence, a 0.25 percent click rate for Donald Trump on Twitter might be great (see image below). It could possibly bring him another few voters when every single one counts to win the US Presidency in November 2016.

But for you, going to a luncheon organised by the Chamber of Commerce might be more beneficial for landing a new B2B (business to business) client than wasting time on Facebook. Whatever you do, decide, because time and resources are limited.

Does the #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #Trump2016 campaign on social media like Twitter get people to change their vote come the election?
Does the #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #Trump2016 campaign on social media like Twitter get people to change their vote come the election?

Donald Trump’s 2016-05-22 tweet and its statistics.

The secret to real style is having the personality to match and doing things with some substance. Of course, our behaviour may influence our kids every day.

But just because I clear the breakfast table does not mean I influence my kids to help. In fact, unless I have a serious word with them tomorrow morning, they continue to leave a mess. The result is that I have to continue cleaning up after them every morning. NOT.

Some interesting reads

How useful is Google search data when predicting primary elections?
YouTube stars gain appeal

5. Have your say – join the conversation

Source: Real lessons Donald Trump can teach us

What is your opinion?

  • Do you know a small business person that is influential in your circles? How did it happen? Offline, online, or both?
  • Is social media just an instant signal or does it influence our decisions in what to purchase?
  • How do you decide which are next quarter’s top three activities to improve your bottom line?

The author declares that he had no conflict of interest with respect to the content, authorship or publication of this blog entry (i.e. I neither own any of these brands’ products nor are they our clients).

6. Just do it: Ask Renata Flores Rivera

Incidentally, you can be part of a minority, use a Michael Jackson song and sing it in your native tongue. That is what Renata Flores Rivera did (Quechua are a native minority in Peru). She was heard and became famous across her native country.

Nevertheless, most of us do not even manage to be heard and seen through the clutter in our industry or field of work. Just live with it.

And no, 15 minutes of fame (Nat Finkelstein and Andy Warhol saying) may not be in your cards – it’s that simple.

Urs E. Gattiker

Professor Urs E. Gattiker - DrKPI is corporate Europe's leading social media metrics expert (see his books). He continues to work with start-ups. Urs is CEO of CyTRAP Labs GmbH.

3 thoughts on “Real lessons Donald Trump can teach us

  • 9. June 2016 at 8:00
    Permalink

    Urs
    Great post… very interesting your comparisons and at the same time frightening. Annually Forbes puts together a list out of the 100 highest paid jocks. In there we find:

    #4 Roger Federer $67.8 M $7.8 M
    #6 Novak Djokovic $55.8 M $21.8 M

    7.8mio is Federer’s winning from tennis the 60mio is from sponsorship deals.

    Djokovic in turn makes plenty more from winnings $21.8mio while his sponsorship deals add up to $34mio ‘only’.

    Reply
    • 9. June 2016 at 8:09
      Permalink

      Hi Peter

      Thanks for providing this information. The Forbes list of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes
      2016 RANKING is here: ===> http://www.forbes.com/athletes/list/#tab:overall
      Please VIEW GRAPH BELOW amazing!

      1. Top performers – salary

      Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi (Football)
      Cam Newton, Joy Flacco, Philip Rivers (American fottball)
      Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel (Racing)

      are the top earners as far as salary is concerned.

      2. Top earners from sponsorship

      Some sports stars make much more from sponsorship than from salary or price winnngs, such as:
      Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods (Golf)

      In fact Tiger Woods had very small winnings from tournaments ($300,000) and probably over 99% income from sponsorship deals ($40 mio).
      Phil Mickelson’s earnings were also very small but his sponsorship deals were impressive.

      Mr. Federer has numerous sponsors, including but not limited to Nike, rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Credit Suisse and Jura (coffee maker). It is impressive also in comparison

      3. US athletes vs Football players
      Incidentally Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Mess are the only footballers in the world’s list of highest-paid athletes (top 20).

      The list is dominated by US sportsmen

      4. Gender bias
      No sportswoman made it into this year’s top 20

      http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/709d4948-2d5f-11e6-bf8d-26294ad519fc.html

      Inidentally, my son (pre-teen) just commented that he finds these numbers unbelievably high….

      Thanks for sharing.

      The Financial Times did an interesting graph (see image below) http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/0d5ad6cc-2d8a-11e6-bf8d-26294ad519fc.img
      Cristiano Ronaldo first footballer to top Forbes rich list of highest-earning athletes
Lionel Messi in second place, with Britain's Lewis Hamilton 11th

      Reply
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