31 March 16

I’m jumping on the Trump bandwagon but you have to hand it to the man, he is dominating conversation at the moment. And not just in the US – all across Australian offices, dinner tables and bars, we’re talking about him. Granted, most of it is about as flattering as his hair piece. (Come on! That thing can’t be real). However, love him or hate him, there’s no denying he’s one of the most talked about individuals on the planet today. And get this, he’s apparently doing it all on a dime compared to the other candidates. It’s been reported that his presidential candidacy has so far cost him around $10 million, whereas Clinton has spent close to three times that.


Trump at the microphone

Trump at the microphone

Even more poignant is the fact that the top spenders are no longer even in the race! Rubio spent $55 million but the top spot goes to Bush. He couldn’t make it a family hat trick despite pumping in a whopping $80 million.

I neither condone the man nor his policies. Some of what he says and does is morally repugnant. However, as communications professionals, we can take some cues from Trump in terms of the tactics he deploys when it comes to dominating the conversation without needing to spend big.

Big budgets mean nothing without a powerful message

A Goliath budget no longer guarantees results. Without a strong message that resonates with your audience, pumping more money into communications becomes a futile exercise. How often do we hear and equally say, we can’t do much as the budget is small. In a world full of bland noise, creativity of message will trump budget every time (pun intended).

Don’t be afraid to have an opinion

Brands and spokespeople still carry fear when it comes to stating a strong opinion, preferring instead to hide behind the status quo. Know your target audience and tap into what they really care about. As long as your buyers connect with what you are saying, why care about polarising others?

Be smart about where you spend

Rather than spend big on paid media, Trump has been savvy about earned and owned. A friend from LA told me recently that no matter what news network you put on in the US, Trump will either be the spokesperson or the subject of conversation. He has probably spent the least on advertising but is nailing social media with responsiveness and in turn, driving the daily news agenda.