By now everyone and his mother/brother/horse has opined about how Donald Trump, inarguably a petty, bombastic vulgarian, climbed to the highest perch in the land (at least from a status/power standpoint).
So I will chime in, with a very able assist. Professor Tim Calkins (Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University) has defined Trump’s ascent as an example of the concept of benefit vs values. In short, people are attracted to and identify with values but ultimately vote for benefits. A link to Prof. Calkins’s piece follows below.
Before that, however, a thought on how this can be applied to marketing. Values may be good, but not necessarily sufficient to make the sale. Strong clear benefits have a better shot.
A good example was provided by colleague Harvey Chimoff, regarding an innovative round paper towel (Ora Paper Towels) that provides dual benefits of one-hand grabbing and environmental benefit (no cardboard tube). Scores very high on the innovation scale (although I remember round beach towels long ago that allowed rotating to catch the sun without moving your towel – – was interesting but didn’t really catch fire.) Actually, this design ultimately proved unique but not trademarkable.
Regarding values vs benefits as a motivator: the Clinton campaign had sort of a feel-good, I’m with her, we’re on this bus together sort of feel but didn’t seem to have at its core a defined cause/benefit that people really were passionate about and willing to make a stand on. It was almost literally, vote for no change.
The Trump campaign (and Sanders’s, for that matter), had at its core a group of people who were feeling disenfranchised, mad as hell, pitchforks and torches handy, skin in the game, and willing to hold their noses and vote for change. (hmm…sounds a little familiar…)
In the end, seemed like a much higher level of passion, frustration and motivation (and maybe desperation) among Trump voters. And they acted on it.
And now, Professor Calkins’s adroit dissection:
Clip and save for the next election!