What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Like most Americans, I’m sick and tired of election season in the United States. If it were up to me, primary campaigns would last about two weeks and Presidential campaigns would only last about a month but, alas, it is not up to me, and so I, like everyone else, am subjected to over a year’s worth of negative ads and mainstream media hit pieces every four years. As ugly as this year’s Presidential election has been, I, as an entrepreneur, have found some inspiration from it and learned quite a bit during the course of it, and I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned here today that I truly believe could help you become massively successful in whatever it is you do.
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BUILDING A BRAND IS ESSENTIAL
Hillary Clinton couldn’t seem to stick with a campaign slogan for more than a few months at a time, until she finally settled on the non-clever and weak “Stronger Together” toward the end of her campaign. Meanwhile, Donald Trump stuck with the extremely simple and powerful, not to mention patriotic, “Make America Great Again” for the entirety of his campaign. If we’re keeping score here, in terms of who wins the slogan battle or award for best campaign branding, the score is clearly Donald 1, Hillary 0. “Make America Great Again”, as a slogan, or means of branding a candidate—of summing up his or her campaign up in just a few, short words, is vastly superior to “Stronger Together” (as well as every other shit campaign slogan Hillary came up with before it) in every way, and I believe it is responsible for much of the support Trump has garnered from patriotic, “America First” citizens.
The importance of branding to any organization, whether it’s a sole proprietorship like Manifestation Machine, a giant corporation like Disney, or a political campaign, should be obvious to anyone who’s ever bought a product or a service based on brand or name recognition alone. Think Coca-Cola, Apple, McDonald’s, Marlboro, Heinz, etc. Just my saying those names probably puts into your head an image of the company’s products or their products’ packaging and/or reminds you of how you feel about them. That’s the power of great branding. You may love the brand or you may hate it, but either way, you feel something about it, and that’s the entire point of branding—to make people feel strongly one way or another about something.
When I set about branding my own company, Manifestation Machine, I didn’t just pick the name “Manifestation Machine” itself for very specific reasons, I was also very keen on making sure that the Manifestation Machine logo embodied what I and the company stand for. This is why I gave it the steampunk look with the gears, which represent automation and ease, the flame and fiery color scheme, which represents passion/conviction, and the wings, which represent freedom (and mirror, in some ways, the winged cross tattoo I have on my upper back). When people look at the name “Manifestation Machine”, I want them to think “automatic/easy creation”, which is what I believe we get when we surround ourselves with like-minded, success-oriented individuals, and when they see the Manifestation Machine logo, I want them to think about that plus passion and freedom, with passion being what I believe everyone needs to achieve freedom, whether it be physical, creative, or financial.
My focus on branding can also be seen in my company’s mission statement which is “To build a better world through a community of like-minded, success-oriented individuals willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams and create a life worth dying for.” In essence, my desire is for Manifestation Machine to not be seen as “just another blog” or just another fly-by-night self-help company, but as a global brand associated with helping people from all around the world come together to create things they never could have been on their own, and I believe I’m definitely on the right track so far.
People will never forget “Make America Great Again”, and I hope they’ll never forget “Manifestation Machine”, either, but what are you doing, or what can you do, to brand yourself or your company to make you/it unforgettable as well? Have you given this much thought? If not, it’s time you did, because it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, whether it’s a product, a service, or yourself—you need to create a brand, and you do that by choosing words (company and product names, slogans, jingles, tag lines, etc.) and images (logos, commercials, advertisements, etc.) that speak to the nature and the heart of what you/or your company or products are all about.
Once you’ve got your brand nailed down, make sure you put it on/in everything: Your website, blog, social media, e-mail signature, stationery, product labels, newsletters, etc. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to show and tell more people what you and your company, products/services, etc. are all about.
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD PUBLICITY
Not even if it’s in the form of ten or more women from over a decade ago coming forward to claim that you touched them inappropriately while they were trying to leech off of you to become famous. Not even when nearly every mainstream media news channel brands you as a racist, misogynist, xenophobe, homophobe, deplorable, or irredeemable. Indeed, all publicity, when one is trying to make a name for his- or herself, attract attention to his or her- company, campaign, product, event, etc., or create emotionally supercharged brand recognition, is good publicity, because it steers the attention away from other people, places, and things and toward the people, places, and things you wish to promote.
I saw this fact play itself in grand fashion as I watched former Apprentice host, real estate mogul, and well-known celebrity Donald Trump play the mainstream media, which is clearly in the tank for Hillary Clinton, like a fiddle, using all of the negative press they’ve given him and his Presidential campaign to take attention away from his opponent and to put it on him, which had the effect of introducing him to millions of people who didn’t know who he really was or what he was all about until they saw him being bashed so hard on CNN, MSNBC, etc. and in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, etc.
Others I have seen turn supposedly bad publicity to their advantage include rapper Eminem, whose use of gay slurs and threats of violence against homosexuals on his magnum opus, The Marshall Mathers LP, had the entire country, and dare I say world, In an uproar, and the entire Kardashian family (Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kylie, Kendall, Kanye, etc.—wow, that is a lot of names that start with “K”), which has skyrocketed to fame largely on the back of a sex tape that Kim Kardashian appeared in years ago with her ex-boyfriend, R&B singer Ray J.
For most people, being labeled a homophobe/misogynist or a vapid, fame-seeking attention whore would be the death knell for what could have been a promising career, but in the cases of Eminem and the Kardashians, all the so-called bad publicity only helped them get more attention, sell more albums and concert tickets, get more reality T.V. deals, and start more spin-off companies and products like clothing lines, fragrances, their own records labels, etc. At the end of the day, far from being broke or hurt in any real, tangible way by the negative press and attacks on their character, these people have essentially, as Eminem’s good friend 50 Cent says in his book ‘The 50th Law’, turned shit into sugar—and the great news is, so can you.
You do this is by courting attention as all costs, as one of my favorite authors, Robert Greene, advises in his Machiavellian classic, ‘The 48 Laws of Power’, paying little to no mind as to whether that attention is positive or negative. Obviously you shouldn’t be garnering negative attention by doing things that could land you in jail (*cough, cough* illegal e-mail servers *cough* fake charitable foundations *cough, cough*), because it would be quite difficult to enjoy the trappings of success from inside a jail cell, but you shouldn’t be afraid of people (including the mainstream media) saying nasty, negative things about you. In fact, you should encourage people to talk about you, your company, your products/services, etc. in any way they can, because it doesn’t matter how great your company or products/services are; if no one knows you exist, then you’ll never sell anything, and if you never sell anything, you will never be truly successful, and you’ll definitely never be financially free (which I believe we can all agree we’d love to be).
“But, but, Cory…I don’t want negative reviews on Amazon.com, Yelp, or TripAdvisor! And I don’t want television reporters or journalists saying mean things about me!” Well, that’s too bad, because I can tell you right now that most of the so-called “starving artists”, independent musicians, struggling actors and actresses, wannabe models, and failed entrepreneurs out there would love to have anybody anywhere say anything about them. If you think you can make a living doing whatever it is you want to do with no one knowing who the hell you are, I say “good luck” to you, my friend, because that’s not how this world works. In this ever-changing, Internet-connected, social media obsessed world we live in, it’s “dog eat dog”, kill-or-be-killed, and about survival of the fittest, and if you are too proud to be more “Me, me, me!” than the guy or girl next to you, then I’m sorry (but not sorry), but you do not have what it takes to make it.
I’ve had my fair share of negative publicity. As Low Carb Cory on YouTube, I rubbed a lot of people the wrong way with my brash, cocky attitude and controversial weight loss advice, and I had an army of Internet trolls stalking me in the comment section of every one of my videos. As hip-hop artist/rapper, Cory Crush, I had a reputation for drinking heavily at my shows (this was about nine or ten years ago), walking around drunk on the bar when I was performing, and saying some things in my songs that some people were quite upset about. And most recently, I was the subject of a number of articles written about me (and some private settlements I’ve reached with violators of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)) by the Milwaukee Urinal (and yes, I said Urinal, not Journal, because the paper is trash) and USA Today, in which I was criminally defamed, mischaracterized as a “Professional Plaintiff”, and falsely labeled as an extortionist when, in reality, I am a passionate Consumer Rights Advocate who has done the Federal Trade Commission’s and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s jobs for them, not to mention saved the court system a lot of time and tax payers a lot of money, by doing my part to see to it that Federal Law is followed by companies like Great Lakes Higher Education Corp, Time Warner Cable, and Alliance Hospitality Management, all of whom I have actually filed Federal lawsuits against.
Now, when all of this bad publicity came my way, I could have been upset by it (and I was, at least initially), tucked my tail between my legs, and run off to hide somewhere until it all blew over, but I didn’t, and I fought back instead. I realized that even the shittiest things said about me could be used to my advantage and that, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter whether people love me or hate me, so long as they felt something about me.
See, I know that the part of the brain that feels love is only millimeters from the part that feels hate, and I also know that love and hate are really just two sides of the same coin, so if you hate me, I know that all it would take for me to flip you, to get you to love me, is a single act of kindness on my part that reveals to you that maybe, just maybe, I’m not such a “bad” guy after all. For me, that act of kindness could be my creation of this website, which is designed to help you become healthier, happier, wealthier, and more successful, or it could be the release of my debut, middle grade children’s fiction book ‘Breaking Away: Book One of the Rabylon Series’, which is now available on both Kindle and in paperback and was designed to teach children ages 9-12 the value of dreaming big, taking risks, and trusting their gut.
The absolute worst thing that could possibly happen to us—those of us who have hopes of earning millions or billions of dollars, getting famous, or becoming wildly successful–is people not knowing who we are, and so you should do everything in your power to attract as much attention to you and your company, products/services, etc. as possible. As a great man, G-Dragon, once said (and it wasn’t me, though I wish it were), “It is better to be hated than ignored”, and as I like to say, “If you aren’t hated, then you haven’t made it”, so if you haven’t said or done anything to piss anybody off lately, you may want to get going on that right now.
Let’s face the facts: We live in a 24-hour-news-cycle world, where a new story distraction is popping up in our Facebook or Twitter feeds or on the ticker on the news every minute, and people have the attention span of a moth around a light bulb—when the light turns off, they just move to a new light bulb—so what’s the worst thing some bad publicity can do to you? Keep people interested in you for maybe five, ten, or fifteen minutes tops, before a new episode of their favorite T.V. show comes on? As sure as I am that the sun will rise tomorrow, I am sure that no amount of bad publicity could ever do as much damage to you as you think it could and it could, in fact, put you on the fast track to wealth and success. If you’re smart about it—If you don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to it, if you see it not as a problem but as an opportunity to “spin” it into a positive/to your advantage, and if take control of it by using it to build momentum toward something more beneficial to you, you will find, as I (and Donald Trump, Eminem, and the Kardashians before me) have, that there is, really, no such thing as bad publicity.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here today! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Please leave a comment below and tell me how you feel about this post, or better yet, visit its sister thread in the Manifestation Machine Forum and join the discussion about the topics covered herein. I can’t wait to hear from you, and neither can the millions upon millions of your fellow Mechanics!