Why did the media gave Donald Trump $2.6 billion dollars of free advertising during his presidential campaign. Because they wanted to promote him? Of course not.
Because he’s mastered an unusual skill: creating haters.
Trump got free publicity from the people who hated him most. And it wasn’t luck, it was intentional. Donald Trump knows how to stand out, how attract attention and leverage it.
He’s been using this technique for decades, long before he ran for president. And you can use the exact same technique to create 100% free advertising as well.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
The Donald’s Been Doing It Forever
In 1986, Trump’s company won a contract from the city of New York to repair and refurbish the Wollman Skating Rink. The city of New York had been trying – and failing – to repair the rink for years. Trump decided he wanted the contract. So he started talking.
No, actually – he started mocking.
He didn’t mock people though; he mocked the system that allowed all previous rebuilding projects to be massive failures.
He intentionally inflamed the passions of both supporters and detractors.
These tactics generated tons of free publicity. Pressure mounted on the city. He won the contract.
And once the project was done, (he completed the project 30% early and 25% under budget), he credited his success to “good management.”
Free publicity combined with a quality product is an unbeatable combination.
You Can Fight Human Nature, (But You Won’t Win)
Trump never paid for advertising. He just created some haters and let them talk about him as much as they wished. In fact, he fed them new subjects just to keep them talking.
If Trump didn’t upset people, then they wouldn’t have been so eager to discredit him. In their eagerness to debunk him, they had to talk about him.
This strategy worked in the city of New York in the 80s. Ot worked in the campaign of 2016. And it still works today.
His haters really believe their words discredit him. They are wrong.
He knows his target audience. Haters are a central part of his marketing and advertising strategy.
Like some weird outer space creature from a bad Star Trek episode, Trump swallows energy from his adversaries and grows stronger. And even though their efforts keep failing, his haters won’t stop giving him free advertising.
In fact, they can’t stop themselves from talking about him.
It isn’t very smart of them to keep giving him so much free air time. Why won’t they just stop?
Method in the Madness
If you’ve been one of my followers for any time at all, you know why: human beings are not rational.
The reason people can’t stop talking about The Donald is because they can’t stand him.
It’s almost as if he makes outlandish statements on purpose…
We’re taught from an early age to play nice and not make waves. We’re taught to not make people dislike us. It sounds smart, and…
To create free advertising, you need to make some people dislike you. You need some people to dislike you so much that they can’t help telling the world how awful you are.
I call this special class of people anti-customers.
One anti-customer is worth a hundred loyal-but-silent customers. Why?
Because anti-customers care.
They feel compelled to talk about you. Their passion drives them to speak out against you. And when anti-customers speak out against you? Ah, that’s the moment you seize to make the magic happen.
How to Leverage the Passion of Your HatersIsaac Newton explained it: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction The intensity of passion from an anti-customer will provoke an equally intense reaction from your existing customers. Anti-customers increase the passion of customers. The more some people talk smack about you, the more your loyalists will speak out to protect you and try to drown out the negative voices. It’s just human nature. Your “average” customers will get irritated with the antics of the anti-customer. They will feel compelled to speak out on your behalf. And your truly loyal customers will charge to your defense like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. You’ll reap the benefits. Customers are talking about you. Anti-customers are talking about you. Prospects are hearing about you. Interest in you is building. At that point, all you gotta do is keep delivering a decent product or service at a fair price. Oh, and one other thing: keep inflaming the anti-customers.
The Care and Feeding of Anti-Customers
You might be saying to yourself, “ok, how do I create the right kind of anti-customers?”
There’s a right way and a wrong way to create and provoke your anti-customers. This is where business diverges a little from politics.
In politics, you can successfully create anti-customers by attacking people as well as ideas. That’s not true in business. Only attack ideas, systems, programs and products. Never attack people.
How? Your attack begins with your manifesto. (You do have a manifesto, don’t you?)
What exactly is a manifesto? According to Wikipedia:
“A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.”
This is no passionless corporate Vision Statement. This is your line in the sand. It is an intentional provocation. In fact, the word “manifesto” is from the latin phrase manu festus which means “struck by hand.” It implies action, passion, and impatience.
Your manifesto should be hot-blooded, full of fire and fury. You don’t have time to lay out a reasonable argument. You’re in a hurry to change the world, and you won’t concern yourself with insignificant details.
In your urgency, you “strike by hand” your thoughts, beliefs, hopes and dreams for the future.
Your manifesto is the verbal equivalent of a molotov cocktail tossed through the open window of the status quo. It is intended to explode, burn and leave a mark. It is not intended to be nuanced, reasonable or even possible.
In fact, any manifesto worth reading will be entirely unreasonable.
Build Your Manifesto and Buckle Up
A good manifesto has three parts:
- Denounce the Problem(s) with the Status Quo
- Pronounce the Glorious Future, (once the problems of the status quo are fixed)
- Announce the Actions you are taking to make that future vision a reality.
You must demonize the enemy, (whatever that may be). You must turn molehills into mountains. You must not worry about the details of execution. What matters is the passion and urgency of your mission. You must issue a call to all right-minded folk to join you in your glorious mission.
Do that with your manifesto. Publish it far and wide, and you will create loyal fans. Even better, you will create loyal anti-customers.
One final word: make sure you publicize all the nasty things anti-customers say about you. Send an email to your fans saying “look what they said about me”, and then copy and paste their mean words. This will galvanize your supporters to ride to your defense.
Remember to thank them – publicly and humbly – for their support. And when you are counting the additional profits, remember to credit it all to “good management.” Just like The Donald.