By Joe Paley, Account Executive [email protected]
If you have been paying attention to the political world over the last month you will know that American business tycoon Donald Trump has made a daring attempt to run for President.
Trump announced his run on June 16th at Trump Tower in New York City in front of the American press, who have made a habit of following him from state to state in anticipation of his 2016 run. Trump had long flirted with the idea of running for President in the past and speculated about running in 2012 before deciding to renew his contract with NBC to continue filming his hit show, The Celebrity Apprentice.
But now Trump is officially running and to the surprise of many, he has managed to rise dramatically in the polls registering only second to frontrunner Jeb Bush, brother of George W. At the same time however Trump’s business empire has been hit very hard and “the “Donald” has lost out on deals worth tens of millions of dollars. This has all happened because Trump’s PR management has been almost non-existent.
To explain why, it all started with his announcement speech in New York City, which was totally different to any of the speeches given by his Republican rivals. Trump spoke candidly about the country’s main political talking points (the economy, ISIS, immigration) before spending the majority of his time detailing his wealth and calling his Republican rivals “losers”. So unlike his opponents, Trump didn’t read a brief pre-prepared statement simply announcing his intention to run; he instead spoke for almost an hour unrestrained.
But it was his comments about immigration that hit a real nerve with the American people, when he said:
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people.”
From that moment forward, Donald Trump’s business empire suffered immeasurably. NBC, the television giant that had Trump signed on a retainer contract since 2004, dropped the business magnate. Univision, an American-Spanish language station also ended their relationship with Trump after years of affiliation. Macy’s, Nascar, Mattress store Serta and online network Ora TV have since followed.
Whether you agree or disagree with Trump’s comments, one thing is stunning – how could a man who has a net worth of over 8 billion and businesses all around the world not see this coming? Trump even revealed this himself on Fox News, when he acknowledged “this isn’t good for my brand” and that he had “lost people”.
This post is not a critique of Donald Trump’s political views. It is a critique of Trump’s poor use of political PR. He is after all, running for President and that means you will be subject to media scrutiny unlike any other profession. That is why potential vice-presidential candidates have to go under a strenuous vetting process by party officials before being asked to run.
And whilst Trump has expertly used the media in the past to promote his brand, in this instance he has alienated many people. There is a reason why politicians have slick hair, a strong family image and wear the country’s flag as a lapel – they want to appear strong, trustworthy and patriotic. A good public relations campaign in politics is quintessential to success. Donald Trump’s image management has so far been non-existent. Giving a position on an issue is fine, but there is a right and a wrong way to orate your views to an audience – language, context and body language is crucial, and Trump’s didn’t combine the three well.
Despite being a billionaire, Trump’s inadequate image control reinforces the importance of good PR.