Ravi Sawhney: Branding Expert On Trump Victory

Donald Trump President

According to statements we have received, Ravi Sawhney, an industrial designer and branding expert said today, “Donald Trump connected with voters emotionally in Midwest states more than Hillary Clinton.   Whether it was the result of psychographic research carried out by his staff (not likely) or simply a reflection of his brash, politically-incorrect communication style, the mogul’s message touched an emotional chord with one powerful voting bloc-rural, mostly white, blue-collar workers in critical swing states in the South and Midwest.  His “Make America Great Again” message was designed to make white, working-class Americans remember better times, connecting with them emotionally and driving them to the polls.”

According to a pitch we received, “Making an emotional connection with customers is the core principal of Psycho-Aesthetics (P/A), a 7-step product design methodology Sawhney writes about in his book “Predictable Magic” and the focus of his lectures to MBA and design students at Harvard, Stanford and business schools throughout the US and Europe.  The central theme of his book and speeches – too many companies launch new products or services without carrying out enough research to understand customers emotionally.

Sawhney, the founder and CEO of RKS Design in Los Angeles, believes Trump’s victory has powerful branding lessons for corporate America.  First, before launching a new product, companies must first carry out deep psychological analysis of their core customers;  research that will reveal the emotional triggers that remind customers of joyful times in their lives and give them pride of ownership.   Secondly, if their core customers can sustain a company financially, they should consider being just as bold and memorable in their marketing message as Trump.  Despite the fact that his campaign talking points alienated many voters, it bolstered white, working-class Americans to support him at the polls.

Ravi Sawhney

While Sawhney believes Trump’s campaign rhetoric went too far, he compares it to the less-offensive, but successful advertising campaign of Hooters.  The restaurant chain’s advertising campaign attracts a specific type of customer while alienating others.  The Hooters brand strategy hasn’t hurt the company’s growth because it’s currently expanding internationally with 30 new restaurants Southeast Asia.

In fact, most successful brands on the market today, including Apple, Facebook, Uber, and Coca-Cola have enjoyed huge success by tapping into the emotional state of their customers and boosting their ego (if you felt patriotic after watching Coca-Cola’s famous commercial “I’d like to Buy the World a Coke”, you are evidence of Coke’s ability to make an emotional connection with customers).  These companies do much more than fulfill a need; they take customers on a journey of self-discovery.  They don’t just love a company’s products; they become part of a community that loves their brand.

Whether they opposed or supported his campaign, Sawhney says business owners can learn a lesson in successful branding from President-elect Trump’s stunning victory. While his rhetoric was polarizing, it was a message that connected emotionally with enough voters to deliver Trump the White House.The lesson for corporate America – know how your core customers feel, not just about your product but more importantly about themselves, and you’re more likely to win their business and build your brand.”

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