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Randy Olson - Author & Filmmaker

Brander in Chief: Dr. Randy Olson Explains the Power of Trump’s Narrative Intuition

Brander in Chief: How Trump’s Narrative Intuition Beat Clinton and Put a Reality TV Actor in the White House

How could this country elect a reality TV show host as its President?

Trump had a story. Hillary had none.

“America was once great. America is no longer great. I will make America great again,” he proclaimed ad nauseam. Then he propped up his position with “Crooked Hillary.” “Build the wall.” “Drain the swamp.”

Nothing more than elementary, inflammatory catchphrases. And Americans bought it.

Trump demonstrated no depth. Shared no policy points. And seemingly went out of his way to offend people like no other candidate ever has.

And yet he won. But how?

Donald Trump is an example of a leader with deep narrative intuition, according to Dr. Randy Olson. 

houston-we-have-a-narrativeOlson helps scientists and academics learn to simplify their messages to help them connect with their audiences. He used his “And, But and Therefore” methodology to track the two campaign narratives. By comparing what he calls their “Narrative Index,” the ratio of “buts” to “ands” in their speeches (the more buts the better), he found that President-elect Trump far surpassed Clinton’s narrative power.

Olson even reached out to James Carville and had conversations with the Clinton team to warn them that if Hillary didn’t create a clear story guided by the narrative index, she would lose the race.

Why is this important to business leaders and communicators? Well, any marketer or marketing campaign can benefit from taking these lessons from this most arduous election to heart. Narrowing your brand story into one singular narrative and using the ABT template will help you and your brand be heard and influence your audience.

Primary Points:

  • Why Trump’s Campaign was successful due to his deep narrative intuition
  • How to understand, practice, and utilize the core principles of narrative
  • Why it’s so important for any marketing campaign to have a singular story narrative

Key Quotes:

“Everywhere you find a great communicator you will find deep narrative intuition.” —@ABTagenda (click to tweet)

“Narrative is leadership.” —@ABTagenda (click to tweet)

“Be the master of your own narrative.” —@ABTagenda (click to tweet)

“We buy with our hearts and justify our purchases with our heads.” —@ParkHowell (click to tweet)

Mentioned in This Episode:

NOTE:  Randy Olson was exhausted doing this podcast the morning after a late night watching the election results AND we really thank him for doing it, BUT he made one minor glitch in saying the South Park guys went to University of Chicago when he knows full well they went to University of Colorado. THEREFORE, if you caught it, please correct it in your mind.

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.

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