What's the comms verdict on 100 days of Trump?

This Saturday marks 100 days of President Trump. The milestone prompted a declaration from the White House that Trump had accomplished more in his first 100 days than any other president since Franklin Roosevelt.

Given the statement was released on Tuesday, with four days until the 100 day mark, this is no mean feat.

The rhetoric is typical of the bold claims we’ve come to expect from this administration.

Will the approach that won the keys to the White House stand the test of the next 100 days or the full four years of the President’s term?

It’s fair to say the new President hasn’t been able to dictate terms in the same way he could while campaigning.

A few of Trump’s major policy promises, not least the controversial travel ban, are yet to get off the ground.

Trump has been able to rely on blaming ‘the system’ – a system he targeted to good effect during his campaign – to answer charges that he isn’t delivering on his promises.

But that excuse won’t serve forever. Tougher scrutiny and reputational strain could start to show if policy delays continue.

The use of evidence and facts look set to be the defining characteristics of Trump’s presidential comms.

He has called the likes of CNN and BBC fake news outlets, while in turn being accused of making bold proclamations without evidence to back them up.

He’s also cited inaccurate information on at least one memorable occasion.

This president has placed much more emphasis on messenger (and medium) in these first 100 days than the message itself.

Trump’s medium of choice is undoubtedly Twitter.

His volume of activity on the platform is unprecedented in politics but it suits him. Blunt, bold, and no room for evidence; his proclamations are made for 140 characters.

But is the President over-reliant on his personality and trigger happy thumbs?

On the campaign trail, politicians need to make bold promises and deliver memorable mantras to win votes.

Trump did this well with his ‘Make America great again’ slogan, but evidence suggests he is still in campaign mode when it comes to his communications.

Before taking office, Trump had promised to run the country like a CEO. Ironically, it is from the world of business – and effective B2B communications – that he might draw inspiration to combine his strength as an orator with well-researched evidence.

Business leaders need to build long-term relationships based on trust. They encourage customers to vote with their wallets every day; not every four years.

Consequently, a good CEO recognises the value of evidence in successful communications campaigns.

The best spokespeople deploy that evidence to support their arguments, not to undermine their reputations.

The presidential honeymoon period, and Trump’s force of personality, has so far papered over cracks in his communications strategy.

Unless he starts focusing on message as eagerly as he does medium and messenger, he could find himself fighting fires when the goodwill dries up.

Jon Bennett is managing director, Linstock Communications

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