What does Trump and Brexit tell us? Start with emotion.

By Guest Author: John Brown (Head of Engagement – Hotwire)

Eating a mushroom omelette. That’s where I was when Trump won. I was in a Dubai hotel, munching on eggs and glaring at a screen unveiling the news.

Was I surprised? Sure, a bit. While I was more confident that Britain was indeed going to opt to leave the EU, the election of ‘The Donald’ felt too crazy.

Yet there we have it. Britain out. Trump in.

I’ve had many a heated conversation about the politics behind each scenario but the key thing that I felt linked the two shock victories together was emotion.

Good old fashion human emotion.

First, take a look at the two defeated campaigns, Remain and Clinton, you’ll see all the key ingredients you’d hope for in a communications campaign.

  • Strong spokespeople
  • Set of clear messages
  • Great stats and facts
  • Money

Unfortunately, these elements came second to raw emotion.

There’s no doubt we’re living in a post factual era.

Trump had ‘make America great again’. ‘Leave’ had ‘take back control’. Two powerful emotive statements that could be used to whip up a frenzy of emotion.

It didn’t matter that what came after the straplines of the respective campaigns was dubious at best. The fact remains that they played into the emotion of society.

As communicators we need to get a lot more comfortable with emotion. In fact, our approach to tactics should start from the perspective of, ‘what do we want our audience to feel?’.

Keeping this front of mind along with the wider business objectives will help to adjust marketing strategies in a way that recognises the human factor in communications.

While the world slowly shuts its jaw after the initial shock of the past year, marketers need to take notice and adjust their approach accordingly.

I know I will be. I also know that I won’t be eating another mushroom omelette again any time soon.