jueves, 2 de febrero de 2017

The success of Trump's communication in US ELECTION 2016 CONNECT, PERSUADE, REPEAT.

Political communication in electoral campaigns is a tool that must be used to connect, persuade and call up the target. Whoever is more effective on this will win. This time it
was no different. Let's analyze how Trump won the Presidency.

Communication in November 8th, 2016 unleashed an infinite number of opinions, and
ever since, there have been many explanations about the fact that Donald Trump won the elections for president of the United States of America. It has even reached the point in which offensive arguments have been thrown against his voters. On the other hand, I give
much credit to his communication strategy since I truly believe in the power of messages
, and I also consider that one of the most powerful causes that have been talked about is marketing. I support the theory that: his team, the capacity to segment the audience,
the positioning of his image, his communication skills, the strategy and coherence when conveying his message, were all part of the instruments to win the elections.


The first step in a political campaign, is to identify the social clusters to hook up to. This is
a vital and key step, since we must gather those with enough electoral weight so they can
help reach the desired majority. As we know, there is a lot of diversity in
American population as it is a country composed of a huge number of cultures. There
are Latinos, African Americans, Caucasians, Asians among others. However, an important
group of the American population is white, and big part of that group is deeply catholic and
conservative with poor education.

Among them, there is a huge amount of people from rural areas or ex-blue-collar workers with small possibilities of reinserting themselves into the labor market, because they are over 45 years old. This group of people are called the Rednecks, the Deep Americans, of whom we know very little. This group has been hit hard by crisis and globalization and they resent the cultural and political changes the country has gone through during the last years.
A while ago, this group started to feel that the America they wanted was getting lost, and that liberal voices were outshining and stigmatizing their opinions. They have been demanding political space for years. This is the same group that supported Sarah Palin as Vice President candidate during the previous elections and it is the one that created the Tea Party. Trump paid attention to this part of the population - a big one, by the way - and personified them during the run.

Throughout the elections, he was barely considered average white guy, he was that guy
who said what the people wanted to hear. He took their concerns upon himself: relocation of
American companies, gun use, the weariness of wars, the rejection of LGBT liberties, to name a few. Hillary, on the other hand, tried to connect with African Americans, Latinos and young people, that is, any group that was not supporting Donald Trump.
Hillary did not incarnate an image people could establish a connection with. The image she had - of a seasoned politician - was suffering great reputation issues. However, these social groups voted for her, but this was not enough and the post-electoral analysis confirmed it: “Even though Clinton actually did better than Obama in counties where at least 60 percent of the population is non-white, it was rarely enough to close her gap with white voters(2)”.
The most effective connection is that one made in a direct way, face to face, and not through the media. That is why, in an atypical run where the majority of the media openly endorsed Hillary Clinton and only three networks favored Trump, the direct relation with their targets throughout a campaign full of rallies among different states, favored the candidate-voter relation.

Trump made more critical state visits in last 100 days.Clinton Stops Trump Stops

Most of Trump's critics claimed that he lied frequently in his speeches. In fact, The New
York Times published two pages with what they claimed to be lies that Trump had said over
Twitter. But those arguments were irrelevant, he did not lie in what voters cared the most. Trump was so direct that he actually didn't speak about data or arguments, or percentages,
charts or numbers, that most people wouldn't understand. He referred to facts, realities and
concrete claims that showed his point; these were facts that people knew and that created a
Another stage of persuasion is to gain empathy with those you're talking to. This point is about conveying a personal message that touches the emotional fabric of those who are listening. This is complicated because of the amount of people in contemporary societies but, at the same time, it is easier to do thanks to social media. They are a driving tool for reaching that closeness.
Analyses of social media showed that Trump was the king of chat and on this, ironically, his
contender helped him. Hillary made a mistake: her webpage and her social media dedicated a good part of the campaign to talk about Donald. According to Social Flow, by March 2016, people had spent 1.94 million hours reading about Donald Trump, which translates into 1,284 years of attention to the candidate; and his number of followers, mainly on Twitter,
didn't stop growing, turning this network into the center of his campaign.
Is this an achievement for Trump? No. It was a Hillary's strategy failure. Even though Clinton
spent a lot more money in positioning her content and speaking in a detailed way about
the big issues concerning American society, her communication strategy was attacking Trump's ideas.

The center of both candidates' strategies was the same: Donald. This outlook gave the republican candidate an important advantage during the dispute, since Hillary
favored the exhibition of his ideas and he profited from that.
The above gives us a clear political lesson: when you try to persuade your voters, focus on exciting them with your proposal, don't waste your time
by downplaying your opponent's project.
The republican candidate never gave up and always assured his voters the triumph of his
project, and as John Quelch points out on an article for the Harvard Business Review:
“Consumers not only want to back a winner, they want to back a brand that sees itself as a winner. And they want to back a brand that other people similar to themselves see as a winner. That's when a brand becomes a movement”.

When asked who their best commander-in-chief would be, 94% of Americans answered Hillary Clinton, so the result had nothing to do with her political image. But if you asked them who would they vote for, 83% mentioned they would vote for whoever brought the changes they needed. As we know, Trump won the election because he knew how to understand an excluded population.
He had a good sense for capturing the needs of the American people. He personified their problems and sent a message of hope to solve them. In the end, the formula was
very simple: those who vote, win.

Marketing and communication share a principle: after each message is sent, a call to action is needed. Once you have identified your target and you have excited them with your message, it is necessary to tell them what to do.
On this,  Hillary's call to action was very good. On the last days of the campaign she sent strong messages, delivered the adequate speeches and was supported by very influential characters, from Michelle Obama to Katy Perry, asking to vote for her. Regarding this, I believe Hillary made a better job. However, the damage was already done. Trump had
worked on the two previous stages and obtained what Hillary couldn't: excite the voters.
52% of voters claimed they made a decision about their candidate earlier than the week
before Election Day, so what was done during the last week was to reinforce decisions already made.
The rural areas and those with higher white population went to vote in a historical way
but the young, another heavy-weighted group, did not move as expected. This means the
population favoring Trump was mobilized by election day and Hillary's wasn't. There was an
abstention percentage close to 50%. This time the ones that didn't vote were the ones with
education, demonstrating that liberals were disenchanted with politics as well as from the

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