Don’t sweat the detail
Most people would have thought that Trump’s comments – caught on tape too – on inappropriate sexual behaviour with women, would have been the end of his political life. But this was not the case at all. In the end, all he had to do was say that he regretted those “locker room comments” and most voters forgot it. Life just seemed to move on.

Keep it simple
Education is a funny thing. Many, when they get out of university with the prized degree gripped in their hands, end up with a disproportionate amount of faith in two things – facts and logic.

But people in general, and the voting population in particular, couldn’t care less about either. The whole game of ‘connecting with your market’ has far more to do with funny human things like how engaging the speaker is; and how easy it is to understand the message.

Trump had an abundance of both. Yes, love him or hate him, one had a tendency to listen to him, just to see what he was going to say next. As for the critical topic of ‘how he said it’, Trump was a master of simple language.

Quite a few academics have looked at language complexity and a standard measure (i.e. how many big words are used) is the Flesch-Kincaid scale. According to The Boston Globe, presidential hopefuls ranked as follows:

  • Donald Trump: 4.1
  • Hilary Clinton: 7.7
  • Bernie Sanders: 10.1

In other words, Trump talks at the level of a schoolboy (4th grade in the US system), mostly with words of one syllable; when he did venture into three-syllable words, it was mainly the use of “tremendous”. By contrast Sanders sounded like a university graduate, while Clinton was somewhere in the middle.

Trump’s method was to keep it blunt and keep it simple. Shock value didn’t do him any harm either, such as his infamous reference to Mexicans as “rapists”. This meant he kept getting in the news and reinforced the old adage: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

branding-beat-the-odds-notebookTo what degree do these lessons apply to the oils and fats business? Well, I’d say they all give useful insights on how the masses and the media work generally, in the western world in particular.

Take all of the above on board, but if you want a one-liner (which is the message), forget facts, forget logic, and focus on Trump. You won’t beat the odds with intellect – but with the right delivery.

Dr Ian Halsall
Author & Researcher


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