Branding, Human Rights, Law, Media, Politics, Public Relations, Social Justice, Social Responsibility, Sustainable Development, Trump

The Trump Phenomenon (The P.R angle) – by Socio-Capitalist

In the words of Barack Obama, ‘the election (Trump’s victory) is probably the biggest political upset in the history of the American elections’.

The recent election in the USA, which threw up the eccentric billionaire Donald Trump as President has shown and established the current wind of Nationalism, just as Brexit, sweeping the western world. The recent campaigns leading towards the USA elections was so harrowing that it was described as the most toxic in contemporary history.

What is the Trump phenomenon? This is a nationalist fervour towards the rise of America (i.e. America first) over the ideas of globalization and liberalism, which has seen the USA lose some ground.

Issues/ analysis:

In the words of Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom “It is clear that the forces of liberalization & globalisation, which have ravaged countries like U.S, U.K and France, have left a lot of people behind.”

A lesson that could be learnt from this election is that the world of America does not start and end in the urban jungles of LA, Manhattan, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago.

It is an established fact that in contemporary politics, majority of the voters go to the polls based on one major issue which the writer refers to as the ‘ONE ISSUE DOCTRINE’ in politics. In this case either the economy or immigration (or both) trumped everything else.

The Trump phenomenon could be attributed to a large chunk of America being forgotten i.e. Middle America, where most of the states voted Trump. The Obama Presidency and the Hillary attempt at the presidency was characterized by the term ‘Coastal Elites’ (a group of powerful and rich people) who inhabit the cities & towns along the American coast line to the detriment of a lot of Americans in the hinterlands. These coastal elites drew the narrative for the Hillary attempt and it was clear that they were not in touch with the real feelings and desires of the majority of the Americans in the south, mid-west and west of the USA.

What the Trump victory and the Brexit vote in the UK have proven, is that when a people are patriotic to their country and are more enlightened about the central and most serious issues that concern them as a nation. No amount of rhetoric or media hype would derail/ distract them or make them lose focus.

There was so much negativity towards Trump in the media, which is unhealthy for any country, especially a developed one like the USA. The assault on him was unrelenting. Why! It seemed the media had already taken a stance in the election.

The Trump phenomenon defied all logic. No matter what was thrown at Trump, it all seemed to bounce off; he was just the quintessential ‘Teflon Don’ (bullet-proof, in local parlance).

The issue with this election was the stark contrast between opposing views (there was little middle ground).

Issues that propped up included:

  • Globalisation vs. Nationalism
  • Conservatism vs. Liberalism
  • Economic Prosperity vs. Morality/ Good Character
  • Poor America vs. Rich America
  • The People vs The Elites
  • Rural America vs. Urban America
  • Reality vs. Façade

Why did Trump win? The P.R angles:

In PR context, messages are sent, delivered and feedback interpreted. The clarity of Trump’s messages was one of the reasons that worked for him. He spoke on the real issues affecting majority of the people i.e. the Economy, Immigration. His mantra “make America great again” struck a cord with the people. Even his not too nice statements/ description of his opponents such as ‘Little Marco’, ‘Crooked Hillary’ and ‘Lying Ted’ went straight to the point without need for further explanation. He spoke in the language that his audience (ordinary people) understood (without regard to political correctness). To be honest, Political Correctness was never part of the American culture, Americans are known to ‘say it as, it is’, and this was exhibited by brutal frankness on the part of Trump.

Trump connected with the average American (his target audience/ voters), not the foreigners.

In order for Trump to get his message out, social media platforms e.g Twitter and small internet based media outfits were used to maximum effect (much like Obama’s use of Facebook in 2008). The Trump campaign strategy was to use earned-media coverage to remain in the spotlight and cut costs, which led to a spending of about half of what the Clinton campaign spent on advertisement.

Trump represented someone who could bring prosperity and reclaim the real identity of the USA, which was more important than political correctness, nice talk, Affordable Health Care Act, gay marriage, globalisation and climate change.

Trump represented a rejection of the establishment and politicians, a breath of fresh air into the politics of the USA. If a hungry man is an angry man, it can be said that majority of the states in the USA were angry and their anger has led to the removal of the establishment in the two major parties. The Don was just the tool. While on their part Hillary’s campaign, according to the Huffington Post, suffered from a sense of neglect and arrogance. This was said to have come from her staff. In summation, citizens of other nations should not claim to know more than the inhabitants of those nations about the peculiarities of those nations.

For those aspiring to leadership, in particular, never judge a country by only an assessment of urban areas or cities, to the detriment of those in the rural areas; continuation down this path, leads to peril. The major issue here is that Hillary lost traditionally Democratic states, this says a lot about the actions and strategy of the Democrats (there must have been something wrong, for the Democrats to lose both the Senate and the House of Representatives).

What was the major motivation of the people? Was it the love of Trump or the dislike/ disdain of Hillary? Rather it was an affirmation of the assumption that majority of the people in the states in middle and rural America felt forgotten and left out. Secondly, that the establishment had failed them in different ways i.e. reduction in living standards, huge debts, business closures and loss of jobs (this was the reality).

Donald represented those who wanted to take back their country i.e. about the real identity of America and economic prosperity. Here is a man who broke most of the stereotypes of a candidate for the White House. Trump broke all convention wisdom/ principles for political campaign strategies. i.e being a divorcee. A lot of candidates who have tried 10% of what the Don was alleged to have said or done, have had their political careers stopped abruptly. Yet this did not de-motivate his voters. Quite unconventional.

Post-Election:

In 2006, the Writer in an article titled ‘Youth and Democracy’, outlined the role of youths in a democratic dispensation. The first is Vigilance & Advocacy, Secondly, Participate by observing their civic responsibility of voting and being voting for. Finally after the elections, exhibiting sport manly camaraderie by accepting the results, except there are clear cases of irregularities.

The current situation in the USA, where a candidate that invokes strong feelings, won the elections and the youth are incited to take to the streets, without rebuke from the losing side, is most disheartening to democratic ideals, especially when it is coming from the standard bearer of Democracy in the world today.

The protesters against the Trump victory are setting a bad precedent which could heighten tensions and could boomerang against them in the future. It is a sad commentary on American politics, when a losing side cannot observe some tolerance to accept the result of an election.

If the USA is to be the Big Brother of the world, it should act in the best possible way by showing good example. If Obama’s election did not elicit such protest, then why should Trump’s election?

The election of both Trump & Obama highlights the beauty of democracy, where majority carries the vote and anyone can get to the highest position, if they can reach out to the majority. Rural vs. Urban America (8 years ago, Obama was the majority. Today it is Trump). The writer had always advised, after the victory of Obama 8 years ago, for society to be wary of the pendulum swinging from the left which Obama represented, to the right which Trump represents.

It is to my understanding that the famous phrase in the USA is ‘anyone can become President in America’ and ‘anyone can become anything they want to be in America’. It should be noted that there are no clauses to the phrases e.g. ‘you cannot be, president if you make politically incorrect statements’.

Political maturity, which the No 1 nation in the world is supposed to represent, should show direction to other less-developed nations of the world, how not to protest a fairly conducted election, and to eschew violence and accept verdicts of elections that go against their party/ candidate. What does this say about minorities and the fairer sex, when the first time in living memory/ contemporary history that a well conducted election would be protested by a losing side is when a black man is president and a woman lost the election? Leaders should heal a nation after elections, and not lay landmines in the way of the incoming Government. What sort of example is this to less-developed nations?

If America is the land of freedom and worship, where is the respect for the conservatives now (it should be noted that respect is a two way street), quite ironical. Those who voted for Trump and Brexit should be given some credit and respect; they are entitled to their own decisions, as well. This was a democratic process that was carried out and people should respect that unless there is more to the protests, than meets the eye.

In conclusion, It should be noted that from various perspectives (philosophical, sociological and cultural), Great and developed countries in today’s world re-invent themselves through the democratic process every 4, 5, 8 or 10 years. Therefore America should be allowed to go through the process. It is the opinion of the writer that the disgruntled members of the pro-Hillary camp should snap out of their spell and accept reality that someone else won the election i.e. there is a new sheriff in town. No side wins all the time, you win some, and you lose some. Just respect the process. This is the beauty of Democracy.

In the words of Marine LePen, the leader of the National Front Party of France, the election of Trump “is a new dawn in a great movement sweeping the world”.

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Branding, CSR, Law, Public Relations, Sustainable Development

CSR is about looking at problems as opportunities – William D. Eggers, Deloitte

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a buzzword with the government (in India) making it mandatory for companies to spend 2% of their net profit on the social upliftment of people .

Meet Mr William D. Eggers, Research Director, Public Sector Industry, Deloitte
Bill, as he is called, is the author of eight books, including his newest, co-authored with Paul Macmillan, The Solution Revolution: How Business, Government, and Social Enterprises are Teaming up to Solve Society’s Biggest Problems (Harvard Business Press, September 2013). He coined the term Government 2.0 in a book of the same name.

He is an appointee to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Performance Assessment Rating Tool (PART) Advisory Board. Bill has advised governments around the world. He gives close to 100 speeches a year and his commentary has appeared in dozens of major media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Guardian and the Chicago Tribune.

In an interview granted to Live Mint & Wall Street Journal, Bill said if a company uses CSR activities to also promote its business, it should be applauded and not frowned upon. He feels it is not unethical to leverage on CSR activities to strengthen your brand, if the company is doing a lot to improve the environment, the company should be able to state that it is part of their core values.
Socio-Capitalist agrees with this statement, because if there is no psychological impetus/ booster or Public Relations value for companies to continue to carry out CSR activities, the pot of CSR and the benefits accruable would eventually dry up, especially if companies would be restricted from having bragging rights over positive CSR activities they have carried out.
What is your opinion?

Find below the feature of the interview:

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Branding, CSR, Law, Public Relations, Sustainable Development

Cruise Industry underperforming in CSR – Leeds Met Research Study

A new research by Leeds Metropolitan University reveals that the cruise industry isn’t going far enough in their corporate social responsibility towards the environment, society and the destinations they visit.
The study, published in April, 2014 in the journal, Tourism Management, analyses the industry’s lack of corporate social disclosure and ranks companies through analysis of their corporate social responsibility reports and websites to provide the first cruise sector sustainability reporting index.
Sixty five per cent of the 80 cruise companies worldwide which were analysed do not mention corporate social responsibility on their websites, and only 12 brands publish corporate social reports – belonging to only four companies: Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean International, TUI and Disney Cruises.
Dr Xavier Font, the lead author of the study from Leeds Metropolitan University explains: “Most companies report soft data, such as statements from their CEOs, that are easy to copy and do not show real change”.
The report highlights that more must be done by the cruise industry in terms of the environmental impact of cruise ship’s discharges, as cruises usually operate in highly valued coastal water and marine ecosystems. It is noted that some anti-fouling coating used to mitigate the impact contain hazardous chemicals which can be harmful to marine organism. The harm from ballast water is well recognised since 1970 when the International Maritime Organization noted the negative impact of non-indigenous organisms transported in the ballast water. Since 2004 there is a Convention for the Control and Management on Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments, but that has not entered into force due to the limited signing from states (only 33) until 2012.
Cruise ships that comply with legislation and are under international regulations may still discharge comminuted and disinfected sewage using systems approved by its flag administration at a distance of more than three nautical miles from shore. To be able to claim environmental responsibility, cruise companies should use an advanced system and use it consistently, not just depending on the jurisdiction.
The study also examined the socio-economic impact of the cruise industry and highlighted previous research which reported evidence of frequent violation rights for disadvantaged groups including charges for medical examinations, visas, transport and administration putting cruise industry workers into a level of debt that cannot be repaid and is comparable to forced labour.
It also noted that there is limited public data to sustain the claim that cruise industry contributes to the economy by creating jobs and contributing to the local economy of the destinations visited. In fact, low spend cruisers are considered unproductive given the costs incurred by their impact. Additionally earnings by the supply chain are limited, as the requirements for the cruise are complex, requiring larger number of forecasted supply. Economic factors, such as fuel consumption, are the only ones considered to select destinations, but not the impact on communities. This is especially acute in small destinations where the ratio to cruise passenger per resident is high.
(www.travelandtourworld.com)

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Branding, CSR, Public Relations, Sustainable Development

CSR Initiative: Enterprise Bank Partners Okpekpe International Road Race 2014.

Nigeria – The Okpekpe International Road Race has come and gone, but we at Socio-capitalist could not let escape the CSR Initiative involved in the project.
Enterprise Bank Limited of Nigeria has extended its corporate social responsibility (CSR) vote for wellness and physical fitness of Nigerians to the 10-kilometre Okpekpe Road Race as the Official Banker.
The annual international event, which has been endorsed by the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and the International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) is on its second edition and took place on May 3, 2014 in Okpekpe in Etsako Council of Edo State.
The bank’s sponsorship of the 2014 version of the race stems from its desire to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst Nigerians through a programme of eating right and engaging in physical fitness, a position which complements the CSR initiative of the race organizers, Pamodzi Marketing Company Limited, to promote good health in the Okpekpe environs through its malaria eradication programme.
The Okpekpe Road Race 2014 featured participants from over 10 countries and had a total prize money of about $117, 000 or N20 million. The winner of the men’s race was Ethiopian, Teshome Asafan, who went home with $25,000 (or N4.13million) on offer, $10.000 of which, was made available by the State Governor.
The event was given adequate coverage by the media, with local TV stations delivering live coverage of the race.
Okpekpe is a town in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. It is located about 25 kilometres (16 miles) northeast of Auchi. It has a population of 3155 inhabitants. Its people belong to a large homogeneous group of people, called the Afemai. (Wikipedia)

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Branding, CSR, Entertainment, Public Relations

CSR Initiative: Sterling Bank Sponsors Private Screening of ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’

Sterling Bank Plc of Nigeria is set to make its mark in the entertainment industry, as it sponsors two private screenings of the film, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, the $8 million dollar movie collaboration between Hollywood and Nollywood.
The film is an adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s novel which depicts the relationships between the four prime characters and how they were affected by the Nigerian Civil War, and the triumph of love, over war.
The screenings, which held in Lagos, was exclusively for the customers of the Bank and was aimed at rewarding loyalty and sustained business relationship.
This, according to the Group Head, Strategy & Communications, Mr. Shina Atilola, was in line with the major Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Bank, which focuses on education, entertainment and the environment.
The film, which was directed by Biyi Bandele, featured stars like the British-Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Hollywood actresses Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose and veteran Nigerian entertainer Onyeka Onwenu. The lead cast is supported by several Nigerian actors including Genevieve Nnaji, O.C Ukeje, Zack Orji, Tina Mba and Gloria Young. It also stars John Boyega and Joseph Mawle.
The Bank’s spokesperson explained that the partnership between the Bank and the entertainment industry was one of great importance to the brand, as it further deepens its involvement in entertainment by the hosting and screening of a critically acclaimed global movie ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’, is just another step in that direction.
Commentary:
This is a good initiative in supporting the Arts.

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Branding, CSR, Public Relations, Social Media, Sustainable Development

CSR and Social Media: The New Power Partnership in changing Customer Experience.

New York – A panel of discussants gathered to discuss on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to brands and the role social media plays in the mix in a discussion titled, ‘Digital and Social Media Breakthrough in Customer Experience’. A lot of ground-breaking and elucidating comments were made, highlighting various mantras and ethos in the current practice of CSR in the social media age. The panel was moderated by Trish Wheaton, Wunderman’s Chief Marketing Officer and Y&R Advertising’s Managing Partner, Global New Business.
She was joined by Michele Barlow, EVP of Enterprise Marketing at Bank of America, and other major industry players from global brands that are leading the charge for CSR: Ginger Conlon, Editor-in-Chief, Direct Marketing News, and Chad Mitchell, Senior Director, Digital Communications, Walmart.
The panel was held at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, on March 28, 2014, as part of The Conference Board’s Customer Experience Conference.
The panel brought to the fore issues relating to transparency, trust, making your customers fall in love with your experience (through the two way symmetrical model of Grunig), making employees Brand Advocates, through making them believe in the CSR objectives. How citizens have been empowered to influence companies today. How social media enables immediate reaction, by companies to customer needs. How “CSR has to be part of your DNA. It isn’t just something you can get in and out of”. The most interesting and pertinent statement that could be taken away from this discussion is that, the goal of every company should be to get their customers on their side, where the customers can stand up for a brand. This is very powerful.

Find below some quotes from the discussants and a feature on the session:
Barlow was weighing in on “Digital and Social Media Breakthrough in Customer Experience,” when she said “Be prepared––you’re going to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. You can’t edit out the negative stuff,”. “We’ve learned a ton from the ugly. (It) demonstrates that you’re a brand that cares, if you take the feedback and act on it.”
According to Conlon, once you understand what consumers value about your brand, you’re on your way to making them love you—an especially important factor when embracing social.
Conlon said “When customers are on the side of the brand, they’ll stand up for you when there’s a mess up,”. “That’s really powerful, when customers will join the conversation with you.”
Wheaton said “The combination of social and CSR is a brave new territory to go into,”. “The bad always finds its way through, but the good often does not”. “So if you’re doing it, say it!”
Mitchell said “Be true to your brand”, “different channels, same voice” i.e. be consistent across channels.

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