Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, and Donald Trump have all thrived on their ability to get things done. They have each established enormous brands and images that have fueled their personal and/or company success over the past many years.
There is a lot that can be learned from the ways that they rose to fame. This is especially true for marketers that are trying to grow their companies and increase brand awareness. Here are 10 marketing lessons, specifically, that can be learned from Oprah, Bezos, and Trump:
1. Be honest
To start, Oprah has built much of the rapport she has with fans by being honest in her shows. She has discussed her struggles with weight and has been deeply personal in front of large audiences. That has established a higher level of trust in what she does because people take her word more seriously.
The same could also be said for the way that Jeff Bezos has showcased Amazon’s vision. It is no mystery that they want to be the store where people can buy anything at a fair price. This mission has resonated well with customers and driven the majority of the decisions that Amazon makes as a business.
The word risk is ingrained into the vocabulary of Trump, Bezos, and Oprah.
Oprah quit her job as a news co-anchor in Baltimore to run a poorly rated show in Chicago. Then, after helping take that show to the top, she started her own show. Similarly, Jeff Bezos has taken Amazon in directions, like with AWS, that many would never have even associated with the company. Possibly most emphatic of all, Donald Trump ran for president.
The chances that these three have taken put them in situations that could have led to massive failure. Some of the chances that they took did, indeed, end poorly. For example, Amazon acquired pets.com which totally failed; Oprah once invited neo-nazis onto her show, and Trump has received extreme backlash for some of his political decisions.
That said, it is these risks that they have all taken that have put them in their current situation. In marketing, being willing to take chances is what could differentiate your company.
3. Think outside of the box
Oprah ventured away from her TV show by writing books, creating a magazine, a TV network and more. Furthermore, the creativity that exists within Amazon and Bezos’s contribution to that creativity are tremendous. It is one thing to take a chance when presented with two options. It is something completely different to come up with those two options in the first place. The Alexa team, the physical bookstores and everything tied up in Amazon Prime are just a few examples of this creativity.
Traditional marketing ideas are floating around at every company. Being creative is the way to step away from the pack and gain traction.
4. Care about people
There was an episode of Oprah where she gave everyone in the audience a new car. Jeff Bezos has put Amazon at risk of failure just to provide his customers with lower prices. Trump appealed to millions of Americans and won the election based off of their belief that he could make life better. What has helped these three establish such powerful brands is their intense focus on their viewers/customers/users. This has been communicated through words and actions.
As a marketer, thinking about how to really help people instead of just getting their money is the best way to create long-term relationships and trust.
5. Embrace trends
Amazon has been quick to embrace new trends. They have emerged as leaders in countless fields because of their ability to adapt to the times. As a large company that can be extremely challenging. In politics and popular media, the same can be said. Trump and Oprah have excelled from their ability to discuss and navigate relevant issues.
Staying up to date personally and as a company will keep you exposed to new and relevant information that you will need in order to succeed moving forward.
6. Think long-term
When opportunities present themselves, you have to jump on them.
It is remarkable that even while doing quite well, whether it be with Amazon’s revenue, Oprah’s personal brand, or Trump’s financial well-being, all three continue to be forward thinking. For example, Amazon has been around for over twenty years. Oprah spent 25 years on the air. Trump has been popular in the media for even longer. They have created long-term visions that have enabled them to be effective, continuously, over time.
7. Invest in a channel
Twitter has become an extremely powerful platform for Donald Trump. He currently has 44 million followers, which is more than 10% of the US population. Subsequently, it has become a platform for him to express himself and his ideas/opinions extremely frequently.
Creating a singular channel where you have such a large reach and impact can be extremely valuable for marketers. This can establish you as a thought leader, build community and give you a powerful platform to share your ideas and new products.
8. Be thoughtful about your audience
One of the most important aspects of marketing is understanding your audience. Trump, Bezos, and Oprah have excelled at this. Despite preconceived notions going into the election, Trump reached the people in America that he was trying to reach. That led to them showing up on voting day, and it won him the election.
Oprah has also developed an astute following over time. She caters her content to people whom she thinks she can make happier. She then has added value to their lives. Amazon focuses on particular niches of people as well within each of their different services. They have extremely customized pages for each user based on buying preferences, for example.
Understanding who you are targeting and doing what you need to actually target them is a huge advantage for marketers. You will spend less time on people that are lower value and you will be able to help the ones you are actually after.
9. Use humor
Oprah has been the best at this. She makes people laugh and approaches life with a sense of light-heartedness. Humorous marketing campaigns, as long as they are not offensive, can build serious brand traction.
Too many people take the world very seriously today. A more lighthearted approach will lighten up the mood of customers and can be powerful in marketing efforts.
10. Be a thought leader
People have flocked to Oprah because of the knowledge that she provides. Between her book lists and thoughtful content, audiences have been attracted to her brand and leadership. You could say the same for Bezos and Trump.
Being a thought leader in a particular category relevant to your product can drive large audiences to your business. This can lead to a huge uptick in sales.
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