Donald J. Trump has won the USA presidential election and will be the new USA president. His success is controversial and surprising to many. Here are few brand strategy points of view which can clarify the event.
Nature of democratic competition
USA presidential election is a competition in which a representative is selected. This means that customers (voters) purchase by voting a future non-defined product – which is all the decisions the president will make in the future. This means that the nature of competition is almost entirely a brand competition, meaning it is a competition between customer perception. There are no technical ways to really compare products (candidates). Since this is a pure brand competition best strategy is that values communicated are abstract.
Another important factor of this competition is that it is controlled. Rules of the election are also well defined, but this is not relevant because all competitors must follow them equally. Biggest control factor is that the category of USA presidential candidates is limited to two competitors only. This means that values offered by both presidential candidates are relevant to each other. To illustrate this imagine there are only two cars we can buy. In such case we can not escape but to compare them in every decision we make.
Trump’s true value
Trump value is that he is a rebel fighting against the establishment and the system. In this case his voters feel like rebels and feel empowered that they can make a change.
The establishment is big media, big banks, big politics, big business. His rebel position allowed him to absorb all the attacks and turn them into strengths in the eyes of his customers – the voters. The more he was attacked by the establishment, the better his brand was positioned.
This value is well designed to compete against Hillary who represents the establishment. Hillary had no choice but to adopt the position of the establishment, which led her towards the loss. Trump’s brand positioning as a rebel against the establishment started with his conflicts with Obama.
Trump’s brand values were essentially feeding off the Hillary’s values, creating a system in which if Hillary’s brand grows, his grows only stronger. It is not clear if this was intuitive or designed, but it is a genius system which now we see worked.
– Brand strategy and positioning must be as clear as possible as early as possible.
– Brand strategy and positioning must be relative to the competitors.
– Using competitor’s brand values (strengths) to build your own values (strengths) is a very effective strategy.