Although Clinton is leading at the polls, when it came to Brexit, the day before the referendum there was 48% ‘stay’ versus 46% ‘leave’. And we know what happened there.
So, although the polls give an indication of voting preferences, I’m not going to predict the outcome of the US election. However Donald Trump is doing something that Hilary Clinton is not. And that something is called positioning.
Positioning happens between the left and right ear of people. It is also relative. Victoria Beckham explains the relative nature of positioning wonderfully with her statement “I want to be more famous than Persil Automatic”. I think we could all agree that she has succeeded. So to be positioned in the mind of the consumer, you need to have a reference point to an attribute. Preferably one that is relevant and important. Victoria’s was fame.
Although Trump’s slogan is ‘Let’s make America great again’, he always brings it back to one thing: safety. He addresses the issue from various angles, including job security and national security, and sometimes crosses over into distasteful territory where his comments come across as xenophobic or insulting to minorities. Trump, understanding the power of positioning, clings doggedly to this attribute of safety.
It is surprising that Hilary Clinton has not followed the very successful strategy of her husband during his electioneering, where Bill Clinton reminded his team constantly about where they should steer all dialogue, and it is rumoured that he had a sign up in his campaign office that simple read ‘It’s the economy stupid’. His campaign revolved around the financial wellbeing of the country’s citizens – an issue that was uppermost in people’s minds. So not only did he focus on a single-minded positioning, but he chose an issue that people would vote for. And that’s what Trump is doing. Hilary on the other hand is coming across as proficient in many areas and runs the danger of contravening the maxim of Leo Burnett: “I can’t tell you the secret of success, but I can give you the recipe for failure: try to be all things to all people”.
So whether Trump wins or not comes down to basic arithmetic. If more of the electorate consider safety as the primary issue, then he will get more of the votes. If Victoria Beckham can beat Persil Automatic, there’s no saying what Trump can do.