By Susan Tomai, Founder
The standard guidance Oratorio has always offered our business clients is straightforward: don’t call attention to your competition’s brand, don’t point your finger at your audience (literally and figuratively), be honored and humbled to represent your constituency. The President-elect tossed all that out the window and still won the election. Does this mean that the old communication rules no longer apply in the age of Trump? No. It worked for him, but it won’t work for you.
Only Trump is Trump. He is truly sui generis. He makes news, he insults, he burns bridges – and he moves on to his next fireworks display. To him, all publicity is good publicity. He doesn’t care. There are of course plenty of public figures who think quite highly of themselves, but no one else possesses the same combination of self-assurance (some would say narcissism), combativeness and showmanship. No one could equal or out-Trump Trump.
And this is a good thing. Of course the delivery methods have changed; as Trump continues to demonstrate, Twitter and other social media platforms are hugely important. Communicators can successfully bypass the traditional media and speak directly to their audiences, up to a point. But the traditional news media still matter - and disciplined, credible message development and delivery are still essential to communications campaigns, no matter what the medium may be.
Like him or not, Trump’s approach has succeeded. But running for President and being President are not the same. As of Friday he won’t be talking solely to his supporters anymore - and even he may discover that more discipline and restraint will be required to run the country.