Why Donald Trump Fans Think He’s For Real

Two years ago, in an issue of the Hammock Idea Email, I wrote about research into why people aren’t convinced when presented with irrefutable evidence that something they believe in, is false. As Donald Trump’s supporters are exhibiting such a pattern — even he admitted it with that remark about shooting a pistol while on 5th Ave. — here’s an excerpt from that Idea Email:

Social scientists are only now beginning to comprehend why people refuse to believe evidence that challenges their existing beliefs. In 2006, political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler identified a phenomenon they called the “backfire effect.” They showed that “efforts to debunk inaccurate political information can leave people more convinced that false information is true than they would have been otherwise,” according to the New York Times

They now have conducted similar research related to healthcare beliefs like childhood vaccination fears and have discovered the same type of backfire effect to scientific evidence that differs from people’s existing beliefs. “Giving people corrected information is often ineffective with the people whose minds we’d like to change, and in some cases it actually can make the problem worse,” Nyhan recently told NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. “It’s much harder to change people’s minds than we might have thought.”

While not fully understood, a leading theory on why people cling to long-held, yet incorrect, beliefs is that such beliefs contribute to our sense of who we are are and even can be a factor in our self-esteem. So when someone presents us facts disproving what we believe, we may subconsciously fight back against the new information because it damages something about our self identity.

I went on to suggest that marketers should focus on customers’ needs than attacking their beliefs. But now, in hindsight, I never imagined people would embrace Donald Trump as part of their self identity and would believe in him even after discovering he is a villain out of a cartoon.

@NinaTotenberg Re-Tweets

Two following tweets are from NPR’s Supreme Court correspondent @NinaTotenberg about the death of Justice Scalia. Compare specifically how many people re-tweet and like the “tweet about the actual news” vs. “the tweet about what she was doing when she heard the news.”

The fact that NPR listeners have re-tweeted the “news process” story far more than the “news” story mean only one thing about NPR listeners:

1. NPR Listeners are fascinated with the process of journalism exhibited by one of the foremost experts on the Supreme Court.

A Pre-Caucus Prediction for Who the Parties Will Ultimately Nominate

In November, the race will be between Rubio and Clinton.

I’m not ready to predict whether or not Bloomberg will enter the race as an independent.

I will wait until November to predict who will be elected President.

I base all my predictions on a secret algorithm I’ve hidden inside a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon yesterday.

An Epic Binge Watch You Can’t Refuse

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of The Godfather 1902-1959: The Complete Epic. Apparently neither has Rotten Tomatoes, as it has no reviews. First released in 1981, Epic is a re-edited seven-hour version of The Godfather and Godfather II, remixed into a “chronological” narrative instead of Coppola’s masterful flashbacks in the original films. Epic also added some scenes that didn’t make it into the original theatrical versions.

I vaguely recall there was a version of I & II re-edited into a TV mini-series called The Godfather Saga, but that version stuck to the original story sequence and edited out what Emily Litella used to call “violins on television” and dirty words.

Epic aired on HBO last Sunday (Jan. 24, 2016) and this link (at least, temporarily) has information about more showings and the film’s on-demand options (HBO Go, HBO Now, Cable company apps, etc.) and future air dates.

The Godfather for the Binge-watch Era

godepictitle

While I was not able to “binge watch” it at one stretch (it took me most of a week), I can’t imagine there being a greater example of how to remix two classic films into the perfect binge whole. Epic successfully appropriates and changes an existing work of art to create something completely new and completely different, and, in its own way, completely great. However…

Two things to note about Epic:

1 | It wisely doesn’t appropriate anything from the god-awful Godfather III. In fact, I think it was released even before there was a Godfather III.

2 | If you have never seen Godfather I & II, don’t watch Epic first. Here’s a quote from The AV Club’ review of Epic that explains why:

While this sequential edit is an interesting way to rewatch the films after you’ve already seen them a half dozen times, it does lose some of the cinematic magic that made these films the classics they are today. The tragedy of Michael’s missteps as the Corleone patriarch is diminished somewhat when no longer juxtaposed with his father’s rise to power.”

That said, the reviewer goes on to admit:

…”(such) trifling criticisms are mitigated by glimpses at reinstated scenes like a conversation between Michael and his father about the need to avenge the murder of the eldest Corleone son, Santino (Sonny).”

Next time you’re looking for a binge classic, this is it.

Customers Don’t Want Your Content

While lots of people (including me) call it “content marketing,” I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they want content. Contentment, yes, but content?

People want knowledge, insight, expertise, wisdom, to laugh, to be entertained.

People want to know how to move a Google doc into a Google Drive folder or help in deciding which among 20 different paper shredders should they buy or where’s the closest place they can order breakfast food for supper.

People want to learn new things, lose weight, be better at bocce, or know what bocce is or have someone explain to them  how no-one they know likes Donald Trump but he leads in the polls.

florida-whiteboardGive people such knowledge and you won’t need to pay for expensive infographics. (The late Tim Russert didn’t need high-tech graphics to make people smarter.)

So here’s how to become great at using content to increase revenues, create long-term customer relationships and many other things you’d rather tell the boss about that how many pieces of content you’ve posted:

Stop thinking about this thing where companies use content in their marketing as “content” or “marketing.” Focus  rather on developing as many ways as possible that enable you to help your customers become smarter.

They’ll love you and you’ll become marketer of the year.


(Sidenote: Whenever I write something like this, I feel the need to credit Doc Searls. He makes me smarter all the time.)