But Don’t Sing His Every Tune…

My co-SCORE-mentor colleague and friend Mark Wolfson sent me this article written for EarlyToRise.com by Mr. Craig Ballantyne.

Half-way through Mr. Ballantyne’s opening paragraph, I already knew who his award winner was, and I agree.

Speaking purely scientifically and not politically, I have been watching the GOP race unfold with fascination. Donald Trump has migrated from reality TV to true, globally mission-critical shock-u-drama.

I remember in (late?) September after the August ruckus at Trump’s explosion onto the political stage. I was expecting him to burn hot and the burn out, because as soon as he started getting seriously maligned by the popular media for his outlandish statements, wouldn’t any peer-acceptance-needy human being try to switch lanes to the high road and imitate being “presidential”?

And Trump did start to do exactly that – for a week or so.

He figured out what I and I am sure many others already knew – that if he started to sound like the typical politically-correct politician, he would plummet and his run would be over. You see, one can’t win at someone else’s game where the entrenched already hold all the market share. A lifelong politician who sounds like a politician will always beat a newcomer who sounds like a politician, because voters tend to stick with the known entity they don’t like vs. the dark horse they don’t know —all other things being apparently equal.

But Trump surprised my expectations because he not only recognized his potentially short-lived political lifespan, he course corrected BACK to his distinctive political brand – the politically incorrect candidate. Thus his fan base was re-energized before it fell away and got reabsorbed by the viscous political goo. Trump flipped his fate to Ben Carson, the likable and eminently reasonable candidate everyone got along with – and it was Carson who burned hot and then was not, going from “being #2 to being who?”.

So now Trump is going to not only stick to his shtick, he’s going to keep upping the ante, saying whatever outlandish thing he needs to in order to stay in the high-Gs elevator (fighter jock thing) and keep the crosshairs on him. The scary thing will be if it actually works come November. Ah, now that *would* become a political commentary so I’ll put down this stinky topic and slowly back away.

PoliticalpianoBut from a business perspective, Trump displays something he was already credited for knowing well, and well he should: the power of branding, brand messaging, and offering a distinct product.

I hammer on industries and clients all the time that if you are going to make or sell another thing just like everybody else’s thing and expect the marketplace to average you into the sales volume, let alone hand you above average performance, you will fail and deserve it. No one has a right to “their share” of the marketplace by offering something that is every bit as good as the next guy. (Product reps: read that back to yourself and gasp.)

You can’t stoop to being as good, especially when you’re new. You must be better, different, distinct, unique, offering a value or an experience that no one else does whether high-brow, low-brow, or nakedly no-brows.

I happen to appreciate high-brow and still believe there are many ways to bless and impress people with your brand, product, service and/or self without resorting to gimmicks, antics or smoke-and-mirrors. Someone once said, “there are still many songs to be written in the key of ‘C’.” (Non-musicians: C is the easiest key to learn on the piano, so the point is that no matter how many people do the same thing well, it can still be done better.  And I can’t find the author of this quote now, so somebody please message me if you know.)

Trump probably isn’t capable of being an even better politician than Reagan, Kennedy, Roosevelt or Lincoln, all of whom had their warts, too, so he has resorted to political dark comedy to distinguish himself. It proves that being distinct is more important than being better. Therefore, if you can be both distinct and better, then you deserve all the wild success sure to come your way.

Jeff Koenig


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