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Can PR learn anything from Donald Trump?
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 00:00

Can PR learn anything from Donald Trump?

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He may be loud, controversial, and more than a little narcissistic but love him or loathe him, you Donald Trump knows how to dominate the headlines.

Whist the US presidential race is in full swing, a group of PR experts have looked at his tactics to find out if there is anything the PR industry can learn from him. They don't suggest, or recommend, acting like Trump but what they do say is that PR pros can look at his PR tactics as a study to see how they might work for them. Let's face it, he's attracted an extraordinary amount of publicity. Not only as a big corporate exec but as a Republican presidential candidate too – he's even led the recent polls – so he must be doing something right.

These are the main PR tactics and characteristics that those PR experts think have led to the success of Donald Trump: Authentic

He speaks his mind. He's authentic, or at least he feels authentic. The controversial comments he delivers (which would destroy anyone else) have helped him. Even to the people who emphatically disagree with him, to voters accustomed to political correctness and evasive candidates his shockingly honest remarks probably feel like a refreshing change. Yes he's bombastic, but he's certainly not boring. He's also consistent. Unlike most politicians, he stands steadfastly by any controversial remarks he makes.

Targeted

DT may appear to be a crazy guy, ranting away to anyone who listens, but in fact he targets his audience carefully in order to push the buttons on the hot issues of his target audience.

Attack

Trump takes the offensive against opponents and anyone else in his way. He doesn't pull his punches verbally either. That tactic in particular runs counter to all conventional PR advice, which would normally suggest avoiding disparaging others.

Timing

DT has demonstrated a real knack for timing, he really 'gets' it. For example, he upstaged Jeb Bush in announcing his bid.

Branding

The Trump brand is clearly defined and equates to entrepreneurism, capitalism, wealth and success. He brazenly says "I'm really rich" and his brand reflects that. It screams opulence. He's instantly recognisable, from his hair to his wealth. Even his seemingly thoughtless and unfiltered public comments are part of his brand, cultivated through years of TV shows and media interviews.

Of course, DT's approach is unusual in life, politics and corporate PR, and it won't work for every client. Here at Mana Communications we believe a business, brand or person must always try to remain true to their values and eithics; for example, we wouldn't necessarily advise a client to follow the 'attack' route, but using some form or variation of his approach may be useful.


The trouble is, most execs or organisations can't (or won't) be willing to endure the vast amount of criticism and controversy that Donald Trump does. And who can blame them?

 

He may be loud, controversial, and more than a little narcissistic but love him or loathe him, you Donald Trump knows how to dominate the headlines.

Whist the US presidential race is in full swing, a group of PR experts have looked at his tactics to find out if there is anything the PR industry can learn from him. The gurus of the PR industry don’t suggest, or recommend, acting like Trump but what they do say is that PR pros can look at his PR tactics as a study to see how they might work for them. Let’s face it, he’s attracted an extraordinary amount of publicity. Not only as a big corporate exec but as a Republican presidential candidate too – he’s even led the recent polls – so he must be doing something right.

These are the main PR tactics and characteristics that those PR experts think have led to the success of Donald Trump: Authentic

He speaks his mind. He’s authentic, or at least he feels authentic. The controversial comments he delivers (which would destroy anyone else) have helped him. Even to the people who emphatically disagree with him, to voters accustomed to political correctness and evasive candidates his shockingly honest remarks probably feel like a refreshing change. Yes he’s bombastic, but he’s certainly not boring. He’s also consistent. Unlike most politicians, he stands steadfastly by any controversial remarks he makes.

Targeted

DT may appear to be a crazy guy, ranting away to anyone who listens, but in fact he targets his audience carefully in order to push the buttons on the hot issues of his target audience.

Attack

Trump takes the offensive against opponents and anyone else in his way. He doesn’t pull his punches verbally either. That tactic in particular runs counter to all conventional PR advice, which would normally suggest avoiding disparaging others.

Timing

DT has demonstrated a real knack for timing, he really ‘gets’ it. For example, he upstaged Jeb Bush in announcing his bid.

Branding

The Trump brand is clearly defined and equates to entrepreneurism, capitalism, wealth and success. He brazenly says “I’m really rich” and his brand reflects that. It screams opulence. He’s instantly recognisable, from his hair to his wealth. Even his seemingly thoughtless and unfiltered public comments are part of his brand, cultivated through years of TV shows and media interviews.

Of course, DT’s approach is unusual in life, politics and corporate PR, and it won’t work for every client, but using some form of his approach may be useful. The trouble is, most execs or organisations can’t (or won’t) be willing to endure the vast amount of criticism and controversy that Donald Trump does. And who can blame them?

Read 2285 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 17:05

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