When The Story Trumps All

When The Story Trumps All
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece, Exponential’s head of strategy for the Asia-Pacific region, Tyler Greer, explains why Donald Trump’s campaign narrative helped him win the race to the White House.

We need to talk about narrative. As we come to terms with the US election result, it might be worth considering that one candidate projected a story which found purchase and buy-in from millions of voters, and which put that audience at the heart of it. The other really had no story outside of their own candidacy and their appropriateness for the job. Which one worked better is now one for the history books.

Tyler Greer

Pictured: Tyler Greer

 

Right now, the same post-vote accusations are coming from the losers as we heard following Brexit. It’s racism, it’s lack of education, it’s a failure to understand the wonderful opportunity afforded us by an integrated, open, free-market economy. Perhaps some of these accusations have merit. Certainly there were many negatives underpinning the arguments for both. But these are sub-plots to a narrative which reverberated with great effect to those who saw themselves as protagonists within it.

Say what you like about Trump – and it’s unlikely to be anything good – at least he had a story to tell. Its delivery was mostly crass, nasty and cranky, but at least it was a story. Contrast that with Clinton who, though eminently qualified for the role of president, brought almost no clear story to the race. More money, more experience, more surrogates, more famous people, more history, more qualification – Clinton was without peer as a presidential candidate. Unfortunately, she was unable to capture the belief of an electorate largely hostile to a status quo which they felt had no idea of their needs and struggles.

Eight years earlier, Clinton watched as Obama captured the imagination of the world with the narrative of hope, change, and ‘Yes we can’. It carried with it something people could believe in and be a part of. What a shame she didn’t learn from that.

Brand Trump should act to remind those of us in the media and advertising industry of the critical importance of narrative.

More often than not, the brand story around a product or service trumps, as it were, the quality of that product or service. Yet, so infatuated have we become with the channels which carry our messages, we have forgotten that it is the message itself that matters most. Having worked in ad tech for over five years, I have learned how critically important it is to use stories which people can connect with as a way of explaining what it is we do and why it matters. Simply discussing the technical aspects of data integration and machine learning is worse than dull – it acts to alienate the majority of people for whom it will be most beneficial.

Our current fixation with data and technology is dominating the way we got to market at the expense of storytelling, meaning that those who build the critical brand identities have been usurped by those who can provide the mechanisms through which to carry them. Reports from this year’s Cannes event read like a lament for a lost time, and not just for the lack of decent parties. It was an event dominated by the ad tech giants, each there to spruik their access to vast audiences rather than celebrating the stories that formed connections between audience and brand, regardless of the medium.

The data and tech game should not begin and end with ad efficiency. They are tools which can help us better understand audience behaviours and needs which can, in turn, help us build stories of relevance. Let’s not forget what we’re here to do.

Let’s face it, if you’re reading this it likely means you’re an educated, decent-salary-earning, latte-sipping, inner-city type for whom Trump (and Pauline Hanson, and Brexit, and so on) and the story that got him the presidency appears nothing more than a crude jumble of slurs and obscenities and simplistic platitudes.

But for millions of people, this story went to the heart of who they are and the world they live in. In a complex world, clear narratives which tap into audience needs matter more than ever before. It’s something that ad industry used to believe in, and it’s high time we remember that.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Designworks jonesy & amanda New Research romania sell Tyler Greer

Latest News

The Mint Partners Wins Pernod Ricard, Cemoy & Little National
  • Advertising

The Mint Partners Wins Pernod Ricard, Cemoy & Little National

Independent communications consultancy The Mint Partners has bolstered its integrated client roster and signed a number of premium lifestyle brands to kick start the new financial year. With an array of new products, services, and a focus on insight-led and creative integrated communications, MINT has enjoyed recent success with an expanded portfolio across new categories including fintech, […]

IMAA Launches First Radio Campaign With ARN
  • Campaigns

IMAA Launches First Radio Campaign With ARN

The Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA) has launched its first radio advertising campaign in partnership with ARN to promote the benefits of independent media agencies to businesses. The radio campaign will launch across the ARN network today, which includes the KIIS and Pure Gold networks. It aims to promote the IMAA and the benefits […]

opr Adds DocuSign To Client Roster
  • Media

opr Adds DocuSign To Client Roster

Sure, it might not be a Coke or a Qantas, but opr think this win significant enough to send well-meaning press release.

Stan Acquires Heckler Co-Produced Biopic On F1 champion Sir Jack Brabham
  • Media

Stan Acquires Heckler Co-Produced Biopic On F1 champion Sir Jack Brabham

A feature length documentary on the extraordinary racing career of Australia’s first Formula 1 champion, Sir Jack Brabham, co-produced by design, animation and visual effects house Heckler, will be available on Stan exclusively from this Friday – 7 August. Directed by Ákos Armont (Aurora Films) in association with Heckler, whose co-founder Will Alexander served as […]

ET Collective Announces 2020 Winner Of WomenKind X ET Initiative
  • Advertising

ET Collective Announces 2020 Winner Of WomenKind X ET Initiative

Brand design agency ET Collective has announced Sutherland Shire Family Services as the 2020 winner of their new pro-bono initiative, WomenKind x ET. To celebrate 10 years in business, female-led brand agency ET Collective launched ‘WomenKind’, a pro-bono initiative designed to help Australian female entrepreneurs and/or businesses dedicated to helping women with their own brand. […]

Hit UK Format Beat The Chasers Comes To Find Australia’s Smartest
  • Media

Hit UK Format Beat The Chasers Comes To Find Australia’s Smartest

Seven today announced Beat The Chasers, a primetime special event series that supercharges its hit game show The Chase with over $500,000 up for grabs. For the first time ever, the greatest quiz brains in Australia will try to beat four of The Chasers at once to have a chance at winning a massive cash […]

Would TikTok Be Missed?
  • Opinion

Would TikTok Be Missed?

Columnist poses the question - would TikTok be missed? B&T says not as much as vanilla Paddle-Pops or Best Of Red Faces.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
NextMedia’s frankie And Gardening Australia Magazines Report “Surge In Sales”
  • Media

NextMedia’s frankie And Gardening Australia Magazines Report “Surge In Sales”

Amid the sadness of magazine closures, the challenges of COVID-19, and industry concern as companies merge or change hands, some magazines are thriving. NextMedia titles such as the much-loved frankie and ABC Gardening Australia magazine have been enjoying a surge in sales during this period of home isolation. Gardening Australia retail sales have been robust […]

Mag Closures & The New Landscape For Earned Media
  • Opinion

Mag Closures & The New Landscape For Earned Media

In this guest post, MINT’s publicity director, Nathan McIlroy (pictured below), explores the new norm for Australian media and says Bauer’s/Mercury Capital’s recent mag closures should be viewed as an exciting opportunity for the brave… Last week’s announcement that new owners Mercury Capital were to permanently close eight of Bauer Media’s magazines sent shockwaves through […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Jamie Whincup And A Host Of Aussie Personalities Star In Club Marine Series
  • Media

Jamie Whincup And A Host Of Aussie Personalities Star In Club Marine Series

In a first for the Australian insurance market, Club Marine, Australia’s largest provider of boat and pleasure-craft insurance, has released a new series of videos to help explain insurance cover. With a few familiar Aussie personalities to help out, Club Marine is helping its members, as well as the broader boating community, to understand the […]