Trumping Trump: Quality versus Quantity

While the news media take advantage of the lift received from reports about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton needs to determine how best to benefit from a less aggressive communications approach. Trump will say anything he likes to journalists as frequently as he can, while Clinton is more measured with reporters.

So how do you win against a competitor who can rightly or wrongly command the majority of headlines? Especially when it’s hard to convince mainstream media, and just about any other news outlet focused on ad dollars, to not cover the person that more people want to read, watch and hear.

The answer is to use the more measured communications approach to your advantage and to use your competitor’s more aggressive style against him. Additionally, by getting people to challenge how the news media focus on ad dollars at the expense of balanced coverage, the conversation could increasingly become about the problems with mainstream news, featuring Trump as the poster boy.

There’s already coverage in the New York Times about how the “television news industry is wrestling with how to balance fairness, credibility and the temptations of sky-high ratings.” Ongoing negative Trump and mainstream news outlet coverage, showing Clinton as the victim, could influence voters her way and force outlets to be more balanced.

As for using Trump’s aggressive communications against him, foot-in-mouth mistakes will need to be amplified and the upside of all those people tuning in to hear what he might say next is that many of them will be reminded that they don’t like him. Similar to the response to most loud mouths, just because we’re listening, doesn’t mean we like what we hear.

Clinton doesn’t need to be as loud as her Republican opponent, she just needs to be smarter by playing to her strengths, by providing quality over quantity, by seizing on Trump’s blunders and by using the news media’s ad-focused biases to her advantage.

Great Brand Stories Come From Answering 5 Questions

Some companies struggle to define themselves and what they do. I see it often when I go to the “about” page of a brand’s site and can’t immediately understand what they offer. More often than not I’ll need to Google the company to find news coverage describing them.

So why is it that some companies fail to clearly get to the point about what they sell and why it matters? Because they don’t understand the basics of storytelling.

News stories answer the following questions: what, why, who, how, when, where. For instance, knowing how a product will make it easy to quickly secure my data will help me appreciate why I might want to buy it.

All businesses need to know the answers to these questions. Whether it’s at the brand level or at the product level, if your team doesn’t know why your product matters and if your site doesn’t clearly state the customer benefits, for instance, then whatever is unique and wonderful about what you’re selling won’t resonate as much as it should.

So as you’re conceiving your startup or launching a new product or repositioning your business, make sure you and your teams are absolutely clear about the answers to these questions:

  • What is your product or service?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Who is it for?
  • How does it work?
  • Where and when is it available?

Once you can clearly and succinctly address these questions, you’ll be able to tell a compelling customer benefit story that will help you, and your, team connect.

Black Print on White Page

Does text colour matter? Specifically, online, is black print on a white page easier to read than white print on a black page? Yes it is because it’s easier on your eyes. We’re also accustomed to this colour scheme based on all the newspapers and books we’ve read.

I’ve always believed black-on-white is better and a quick search found general agreement.  Apparently the white-on-black colour scheme, or inverted text, decreases readership by 50%.

So if you think your website or blog should have a black or dark background because it will be cool and stand out; think again. And if your site currently uses an inverted text colour scheme, ask your community what they think.