Trumping Social: How Donald Does It

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By Mark Eaves, Founder, Gravity Road

The old adage goes that if you spoke to people the way advertising spoke to people they’d punch you in the face. Wrong. They’d follow you. Just ask Donald Trump. Forget mushy terms like “engagement” and “conversation”, social has entered a whole new age -  welcome to the Age of Trump. Say hello to a different take on offensive marketing.

So if you’re wanting to give your brand an edge and cut through, just follow these steps:

1.    Rule one: go route one

Forget the press. They get in the way of your voters. You want unmediated access. Because if the voters love you, the press will have to follow up with lots of clickbaity articles to feed the gods of advertising revenue who demand page views to keep them sated. In fact, go to the top of your browser page now and do a Google search. Type “Donald Trump”. How many search results do you have? Now type “Hilary Clinton”, “Ted Cruz” or “Bernie Sanders”. Not even close is it? Losers.

2.    Get yourself some social muscle

Trump has over 14.2m followers across social whilst his nearest rival, Ted Cruz trails at 9.3m. Telly can be useful, but only for growing your army. News shows and channels - they just get in the way. Everyone says JFK was the first President to harness the power of telly. But did he have his own ratings-busting Network TV show for six years? I don't think so. Those folks at NBC - they didn't realise what they were creating - You're fired!

3.    Don’t fear offence

Those research groups? They’ll only dilute your message and you’ll be swimming in the lukewarm Sea of Platitudes. Consensus breeds contempt. Hey it worked for Protein World, it could work for you. To date Trump has successfully offended over 212 people, places and things on social media. The New York Times has a database of them all here. They include ISIS (“Losers”), Whoopi Goldberg (“Now in total free-fall”) and T-Mobile (“the service is terrible”).

4.    Forget buying media space

That’s old skool. You don’t need it. In February Trump spent $10m on advertising space. That’s against Jeb Bush who spent $83m (ouch! please clap) and Cruz who spent $22m. Your billboards are the mobile screens in everybody’s pocket and there’s 327,577,529 of them in the U.S. HUGE!

5.    Get the internets

The internet loves repetition and loops. So help it along. Try this: find a word (e.g. “China”) and say it in lots of different contexts so that the internet can edit together hilarious montages of said word which obedient people will share on social for LOLs.

It may seem people are laughing at you, but in ways they don’t even realise, they are laughing with you. Then have Jonny Depp do a brilliant impersonation of you for an online comedy. Contrary to the intended satirical effect, it will actually leave audiences subconsciously feeling you have more credence. It worked for Margaret Thatcher - remember Spitting Image?

6.    Keep it simple stupid

“I have words. I have the best words.” says Trump, but most of them are basic. Researchers at Cornell analysed different candidates’ vocabulary and sentence construction for readability and found it equated to the expected writing abilities “just below a 6th Grade” student.  Sanders tops the list of remaining candidates at around 10th Grade.

Apply this thinking to Tweets and use this construction: state something. Question it. Then be emotional. Like this:

And say things without saying them: I'm not going to say that all the other sessions at Advertising Week are lame apart from the Trump one. I'm not going to say that if you don't come along to see comedian Holly Walsh, and our panel of funny experts discussing all this you're a LOSER. I'm not going to say.....you get it. It's called paralipsis and Cicero was the first master of it (there’s a great analysis of it here) but never say it’s called that or you’ll look highfalutin (see above).

7.    Be a patron of the arts

But keep it popular. Stuff people can share. Like this

8. Grow up

You can't be a punk forever. But that's fine - once you're a confirmed renegade it's far easier to seamlessly side step into the establishment. And Trump looks like he's already doing this, his acceptance speech after the New York primaries landslide was unusually balanced and humble: "Tomorrow, we go back to work." Say hello to Trump 2.0, the Everyman edition. Who's the loser now?

Trumping Social: How Donald Does It takes place on Thursday 21 April at 1.30pm at Advertising Week Europe. For the full rundown of events click here