Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the American presidential election reflects two basic facts. Hindsight is always 20-20 but they should have been obvious to the pundits.
First, people are moved by emotionally-charged messages. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. But more people than expected were swayed by Trump’s fear-laced populism. His “America First” rallying cry of economic resurgence boiled the pot. Democrats’ reliance on “big data” and micro-targeting to get out the vote could not compensate for a merely competent candidate who could be culturally tone deaf. (She never compellingly answered the question in voters’ hearts, “What’s in it for me?”)
Second, the twin forces of globalization and technological disruption reinforce a sense of pending chaos — that is, economical and social displacement. This, in turn, has exacerbated tribalism to the point where different American demographics co-exist without dialogue or understanding. “Red” and “blue” seem to exist in parallel universes.
Marketers should absorb the lessons of Trumpism.