One day I will get around to writing an article about the day I met Donald Trump, in his office, in Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York. But, until then I’ve been writing about some of the great insights gleamed from The Sales & Marketing Summit. Last week I focused on how Charles Darwin was an accidental web designer. This week I’d like to focus on how simple Donald Trump is
The need for simplicity was a re-occurring theme during the Summit and something that has been preached by marketers since the dawn of the sector. You are probably familiar with the acronym in the title of this article KISS i.e. ‘keep it simple, stupid’, which has been around since the 1960s (when it was first invented by an engineer on the Lockheed spy plane). It is just as important fifty years later and maybe more so in the digital age, where you can be restricted to only 140 characters.
Like him or, more than likely, loath him, there is no denying that Trump is a master communicator. Trump’s success was covered in a great presentation at the Summit by Marshall Kingston, Brand Manager at Kepak.
Marshall pointed out that Trump resonates with people because he keeps things simple. This applies to not only what he says, but how he says it. He goes to great lengths to keep things as simple as possible, so much so that he rarely even uses words of more than two syllables. Ironically Mexico and America are some of the few three syllable words he says. It’s true too, watch one of his speeches and count his words of more than two syllables. Other than names you’ll struggle to find them. I can’t believe I never noticed this.
Keeping it simple is one of the most important, if not THE most important, rules of communication. Trump ensures that by keeping what he says simple, the result is that as many people as possible can understand him. This is why he is such a hit with working class Republicans and those that are less-educated. He is probably one of the few politicians they understand because he doesn’t try and make himself look, and sound, intelligent, by using complicated phrases or words; just the opposite in fact.
Trump’s approach to communication can be summed up beautifully by one of his most famous sayings, which he loves repeating. He’s famous for saying that he“used to call people incompetent, but now he just calls them stupid”. The term ‘incompetent’ is ambiguous and subjective, because different people will have different views on what they judge to be incompetent. But everyone knows what stupid means, so there’s no confusion – it a hit with people. It also means he’s gone from using a four syllable word to a two syllable word. Genius.
Over my career I have always stood by the mantra that you should never use three words when two will suffice. I suppose this can also apply to syllables too.
Simon Palmer, Marketing and PR and Goldfish.ie