Five key strategies during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign
After announcing his candidacy for the 2016 election mid June, real estate mogul and reality star Donald Trump was laughing stock of the many. Very few believed he has any real chance in winning the Republican nomination, let alone the election. Fast forward today, Trump has won the elections and is of now 45th president of the United States. The world is in shock and politics has proven itself, yet again, unpredictable. Or has it?
His opponent Hillary Clinton is a former Secretary of State and first lady with 30 years of political experience in her résumé. In fact, Barack Obama has stated she is a better qualified candidate than himself or her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had been when they sought office. Clinton seemingly had everything going for her: influental media on her side, public endorsement from some of the biggest celebrities of today, and support of one the most beloved first ladies, Michelle Obama, who has been campaigning along Clinton’s side. Even tough the race was tight, opinion makers and polls predicted America’s former Secretary of State will make history and will become the first woman elected President.
America indeed made history, but not by electing a woman. A man with no government, nor military experience, and the most hate – filled rhetoric ever been made by a presidential candidate made his way into the White House. Although publicly it seemed majority is supporting Clinton, it’s clear now Trump had many silent voters, the ones who were unwilling to voice their suport to the Republican nominee publicly. It’s no wonder, with his controversial policy ideas like banning non-American Muslims from the United States and labeling Mexican immigrants as rapists – Trump was a socially unacceptable pick.
Vote for Clinton equaled vote for extending Obama’s legacy, while vote for Trump, controversial as it is, was a vote for a change. Although very few (or none) PR experts would recommend using Trump’s PR strategy, we take a look into five key strategies during his presidential campaign.
1. Negative public relations campaign
Instead emphasising his own positive attributes, Trump lead a campaign that was referring to the negative aspects of his opponents. Targeting a wide range of politicians, institutions, corporations, Democrats, media to journalists, almost everyone was the subject of Trump’s uncontrolled rant, at one point or the other.
2. Keep it simple
Trump has been called out by the media for his limited vocabulary and The Washington Post stated his grammar is just below 6th grade level. While eloquence is a trait valued for many professions, it seems it’s not necessarily needed for the White House. Trump’s verbal deficit didn’t cause him political harm, on the contrary. Using simple words clear of any politically correct norms has connected him with the average voter.
3. Be strategic
From saying he will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it to making lewd comments about women, Trump has constantly dominated the news agenda and pushed Clinton aside. By being aware of key moments and trends you can strategically deliver your content.
4. Social media presence
Trump’s online presence has been a key part of his campaign and he has used the most out of his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account. Justin McConney, Trump’s director of new media, explains why his content stands out among other candidates. ‘I think his content stands out because it goes back to being authentic. @realDonaldTrump is Donald Trump. He’s very involved with his social media.’ Twitter is by far Mr Trump’s favourite platform and his tweets regularly make headlines. ‘Twitter was made for Mr. Trump – he definitely knows how to use the 140 character limit better than anyone else out there’, says McConney.
5. All publicity is good publicity
Donald Trump has spent fraction of what Clinton has on television advertising. Trump ran one of the most unconventional political campaigns and even though, we believe, his PR experts tried to contain him, he stayed true to himself. Twitter rants, hate – filled rhetoric, degrading comments about women were just a handful of topics that put him under the media radar, therefore, giving him free publicity. He has dominated the media and secured his message, no matter how controversial, gets heard.