MAM: “It’s the economy stupid”: Trump set for second-term victory

trumpLove him or hate him, Donald Trump has created a buoyant US economy since he became the 45th President of the United States on November 8 2016.

US GDP remains strong. The most recent data shows a 3.1% growth for the first quarter of 2019. This is lower than the 2018 peak of 4.2%, which has been the highest level achieved during President Trump’s administration. This is, however, less than the 5.1% achieved in the second quarter of 2014, when Obama was President.

With positive figures like these, indiscretions like involving his daughter Ivanka, in the recent G20 summit meeting in Osaka, could be forgiven? Even though it was a bit Forrest Gump.

There is also Trump’s historic breakthrough meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un in the demilitarised zone – the first sitting US President to do so; and then there is the US stock markets.

For personal investors there is much to cheer about Trump’s first year in office. The stock market has set many new record highs during the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average index has risen 32%, currently standing just above 26,000 having started below 19,800 the day before Trump took office. That represents a phenomenal return for investors at a time when the return on cash is close to zero.

This increase in the stock market in the first year of office compares very favourably with the performance during the first year of George W Bush, the last Republican President when the market fell about 8% and with Bill Clinton’s first year in office when the market rose 20%. However, it is not quite as good as the 35% seen in Barack Obama’s first year in office back in 2009. *

As for the Nasdaq, this has seen a rise of 22% so far this year, with the S&P rising 18%.

The unemployment rate in May stood at 3.6% – the lowest since the late 1960s.

Ryan Sweet of Moody’s Analytics points to the changing profile of the US working population as a key factor here (coupled with Trump’s policies).

There is now a greater proportion of older workers and better educated workers, both of which tend to have lower unemployment rates.

Trump’s supporters argue that his corporation tax cuts along with his US-focused policies, (perhaps isolationist), and his promises of infrastructure investment have all helped the US economy (ignoring the ‘elephant in the room’ – escalating US-China trade tensions).

As for wages, average hourly earnings growth throughout 2017 was between 2.5% and 2.9% – continuing a generally upward trend which began during President Obama’s administration.

This year, wages continued to rise and reached 3.4% in February before slowing slightly.

They are currently rising faster than the rate of inflation, which was 1.8% in May 2019, which means real incomes are rising.

There is also household income in the US to take into consideration. Real median household income has been growing for the past three years – but the rate of growth has slowed, according to official figures.

Trump certainly has enough evidence to prove to US voters, that there has been economic success under his administration. Something he reminded his supporters when he launched his 2020 re-election campaign at a rally in Florida recently.

A buoyant US economy, in fact could be key to Trump’s second term success.

Wasn’t it in fact, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, James Carville who coined the phrase: “It’s the economy stupid” as a way of defining the 1992 presidential election?

Democratic hopeful, Bill Clinton was running against President George W Bush, who failed to read his own lips and raised taxes, creating a recession that Clinton capitalised on.

Perhaps it could be speculated, that as long as the US economy remains strong, Trump will remain President, despite countless attempts by his rivals to derail him by all means possible: impeachment, personal and political scandals.

*According to data from the Share Centre

MAM: PR mistakes are SMEs making?

Small PR catches up with Claudia Moselhi, director and founder of CLO PR.

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What sort of services do you primarily offer SMEs – marketing and PR, just marketing or just PR?

Mostly PR, but we also provide brand proposition and brand narrative services.

Do you primarily deal with SMEs? Yes, primarily SMEs as well as public organisations like the British Library and member organisations such as the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

What mistakes if any are SMEs making when it comes to marketing themselves?

One challenge I come up against regularly when working with clients is the lack of research and knowledge of their target audience.

If you appeal to everyone, you appeal to no-one. It’s important for the customer to tell you who they are and how you should target them, not you. It’s about testing your products/services, prices, packaging among different consumers and getting as much feedback as you can.

It’s no use building marketing and PR for the wrong audience. I think businesses need to work harder to understand who is going to buy their product or service now, and in the future.

Are there certain SMEs worse at marketing than others?

Based on my experience, it’s often the businesses operating in the B2B space that sell themselves short when it comes to marketing and creative thinking.

B2B doesn’t have to be B2Boring. If you’re a business selling to businesses, it’s vital to remember that you’re selling to people. The brand needs to act like a person.

What strategic tips would you give to improve SMEs PR of their business?

No matter how large or small, SMEs depend on their reputation for survival and success. Good reputation brings customers and their loyalty. If customers already know about you and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you or do business with you.

To improve your PR for positive impact, start by knowing who you are as a brand and stick to it. What is your brand identity and how do you compare to your competitors?

This will bring clarity when it comes to crafting a compelling PR story about your purpose. If you believe in your story, then so will others.

Also, knowing what your objectives are for PR is vital. Is it to increase sales? Increase awareness of the brand? Enter a new market? Or attract great employees? This thinking will help you determine what type of PR strategy and story you’re going to create.

Are there any common mistakes SMEs make?

SMEs often obsess about creating the ‘perfect’ product or service. But it’s useless if it can’t reach the customer’s hands. You need to think about how to generate traction, your marketing and PR strategy and how you’ll get your brand out there.

There can be a misconception that the brand, and all its whizzy marketing and PR, sit apart from the business but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The brand is the living, breathing mouthpiece of the business and they are both intrinsically connected. Customers now demand greater transparency from businesses they buy from and they will see inside the business if they want to. With every move the business makes, the brand will reflect this. So make sure that the business is built on strong values that inform every aspect within – from sales and marketing to staff recruitment and processes.

This will help to make your business worth shouting about to the media and customers alike.

Businesses will often switch PR off and on to save a few pennies but it’s damaging for brand awareness. You need to build in PR – whether that’s traditional, social or digital – to operate constantly, even if it’s a trickle of activity.

Media channels are constantly changing, customers are become ever more fickle, whilst new competitors will arise from anywhere, so you need to ensure that a constant stream of communication with your customers and potential new customers is in place.

Keeping them engaged with genuine content is key or they’ll quickly move on to someone new.