Years ago I was at a cocktail party that was also attended by Donald Trump. Don't ask me how I got invited, I think they mistook me for someone that was important. But regardless of how I got there, I was soon struck by several things about Trump in person. First, it does look like a dead animal is sitting on his head, but I'm pretty sure that's his own hair. (Although I suspect it's been planted.) Second, and most surprising, he's got amazing skin, nice shoulders and a nice ass. Not kidding. Lots of women were flirting with him at this party. I was too scared of Melania.
But I digress. The thing that was the most
surprising about Trump was that in person, he wasn't bombastic nor did he try to dominate the conversation. Although perhaps he was tired, or drunk when I saw him, I think off camera he's rarely as bombastic as he is on
camera. What he's done is create a persona that works for him. It keeps him in the public eye (he claims he's never hired a publicist) and serves his purposes.
I often say that Donald Trump is the PETA of personal brands. PETA also achieves its public relations goals through shock value. Remember when President Obama killed a fly, and PETA released a statement accusing him of executing an animal on air? A friend of mine was mocking the group, but I reminded him that probably every other person in the U.S was talking about PETA that day too. Do I think PETA cared about the fly? Of course not. They cared about impressions.
I am not going to debate whether PETA is actually ethical , or whether Donald Trump is a narcissistic egomaniac. But I think there are some things we can learn from these two and other shocker brands in terms of marketing and public relations. Because they're both highly successful. And everyone knows their name. So here goes:
1. Shocker brands are consistent.
Personally, I hate brands that make a statement and then backtrack because they get a bit of kerfuffle. If you're going to have a strong impact on the market, you have to have a strong voice. And for that reason you will piss some people off sometimes. (Believe me, I know.) Apologize, but don't let your brand voice waffle around in some kind of amiable, people-pleasing manner. Choose your brand message and voice carefully and stick to it. You don't have to have shock value, but it does need to be forceful in this cluttered mess of a media market.
. Shocker brands often get a free pass.
Consistency generates automatic forgiveness.