Make Your Message Great Again
Compare the political slogans of presidential and prime-ministerial campaigns of the past few decades and very few are as memorable and as sticky as that of The Trump.
“Make America Great Again”, the rallying cry of a vulnerable America. A strong message which has become central to the 2016 Presidential campaign. Only Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign message—“It’s the economy stupid”— even comes close to being as memorable. There’s no doubt about it, Trump’s message sticks.
Now, for a mere second, let’s compare this to the campaign slogan of Hillary Clinton—Trumps direct opponent. Do you know it? Can you remember it? No? It’s “Hillary for America”. It’s not that memorable and the stats back this up.
Interestingly, it seems that Trump is not the first republican to use this slogan either. Ronald Reagan first coined the phrase in 1979.
Similarly, the messaging of Australia’s major political parties this election have been just as weak, inconsistent, uninspiring and altogether confusing. Here’s a quick roundup.
Liberal — “A Strong New Economy”
Labour — “We’ll put people first”
The Greens — “Standing up for what matters”
The fact that one message can become so memorable in such a short period of time is remarkable, especially in an era where thousands of messages are being pushed at us every day.
So, what is it exactly that makes Trump’s message so great?
As an online marketer, skilled in crafting high converting messages and calls to action, it’s clear that this was no coincidence, Trump’s message was designed to stick.
Trump’s message is gold—it ticks every message-crafting-box in the book. It’s clear, it’s easy to understand, it invokes emotion, it holds practical value, it’s memorable and is highly tangible. It’s easily understood, it’s sharable, it can be owned, and can be mimicked verbatim. It’s unifying, it’s credible and it’s convincing. It’s simple, it’s unexpected and perhaps most importantly… it creates hope.
The message itself incites action. It’s both an instruction and a statement at the same time. It’s positive and negative. It suggests that something’s been lost, but that it could be easily retrieved. It conjures up memories of a better America, then quickly reminds you that these days are over.
It uses the cognitive bias of loss aversion to make it incredibly hard for you to disagree with it or argue against it. Hillary’s slogan on the other hand, Hillary for America (a quick reminder incase you’ve already forgotten), is quite easily negated. On the contrary, how many Americans would argue against making America great again!
Yet, despite all of these traits, Trump’s message works for one other reason:
Every opportunity Trump has, he plugs his message. Not a television interview, press conference, news article, piece of clothing or day can go by without him branding it with the same message. Over… and over… and over again.
It’s being drummed in to us at every opportunity. Every piece of flakey policy is underlined with it, every press conference is signed off with it, and every primary vote has been cast in the hope of it becoming true.
All in all, Trump is making this political campaign a marketing battle. His opinions are appalling, and his political rhetoric has the potential to start wars. But his message is good, and it resonates with voters.
He’s winning the battle for hearts and minds. He’s a marketing genius. He’s picked his message and he’s stuck to it. This is what turns his good message into a great message.
Make Your Message Stick
In business, we too can learn from Trump’s message. By spending the time to carefully craft our messages, test them, iterate upon them and continue testing until we find a message that sticks.
Then, the moment we do, we must stop testing and start repeating. Repeating it over and over. Stick it on everything. Reiterate it. Be consistent. Drum it in at every chance we get. This will make a sticky message a great message too.
Just do it.