The new rules of communication

We’re all familiar with the narrative of the recent American election.

Hillary Clinton bought vast amounts of professionally produced TV and Internet advertising. Donald Trump, on the other hand, used social media to communicate directly with the public in impulsive 140-character bursts, in part because he had less money to spend.

Hillary Clinton’s dominance of traditional media channels backfired on her. Targeting slickly made advertisements at specific demographic groups convinced people that her messages were inauthentic, insincere and manipulative.

By contrast, Donald Trump, with his shoot-from-the-hip style, managed to present himself as “real,” “sincere” and “authentic.”

Trump really “got” the three golden rules of modern communication .

1. He communicated DIRECTLY with his followers via Twitter and Facebook.
2. He kept his messages SHORT.
3. He used REPETITION, rolling out the same epithets (“Crooked Hillary”) and phrases (“Build that wall,” “Make America great again,” “Lock her up!”) whenever he could.

This phenomenon of direct, short and repetitive messages beating more sophisticated alternatives can be seen outside politics as well.

For example, have you seen the video of “P-P-A-P” on YouTube? “P-P-A-P,” or “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen’ is a song by an obscure Japanese comedian called Pico Taro. Less than a minute long, it has a simple tune and simple lyrics.

P-P-A-P. I have a pen. I have a apple.
Uh! Apple-pen.

I have a pen. I have pineapple.
Uh! Pineapple-pen.

Apple-Pen. Pineapple-Pen.
Uh! Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen.

The video, which cost less than $1,000 to make, has been viewed almost 200 million times. (That’s in part thanks to Justin Bieber, who declared it his “favorite video on the Internet.”)

In late October, P-P-A-P even got official recognition from Guinness World Records as “the shortest song ever to enter the Billboard Hot 100.”

Pico Taro’s success with P-P-A-P points to the same lessons as Trump’s election victory.

—DIRECT delivery via social media beats traditional media channels.
—SHORT messages beat long ones.
—REPETITION makes messages more memorable.

Social media has revolutionized the rules of communication.

Direct, short and repetitive messages now outperform any other kind… So I suppose I’d better bring this article to an end while it’s still under 400 words!

What do you think?

Mr. Yoshito Hori established GLOBIS Management School in 1992 and GLOBIS Capital Partners in 1996. In 2003, GLOBIS started its original MBA program which, in 2006, received accreditation from the Japanese Ministry of Education and gained “university” status. GLOBIS started a part-time MBA program in English in 2009 and a full-time MBA program in English in 2012.

A Harvard MBA graduate and former Sumitomo Corporation employee, Mr. Hori founded the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Japan Chapter in 1995 and became the first board member from Asia in charge of Asia Pacific region in 1996. He also served on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s New Asian Leaders Executive Committee and Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership, as well as the Harvard Business School Alumni Board from 2005 to 2008. Currently, Mr. Hori is a board member of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), and serves as co-chair of WEF’s Global Growth Companies.

In 2008, he launched the G1 Summit – a Japanese version of the WEF’s annual Davos forum. This led to the foundation of G1 Summit Institute in 2013, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

Just days after a huge earthquake struck northeast Japan in March 2011, Mr. Hori launched Project KIBOW to support the rebuilding of the disaster-affected areas. The following year Project KIBOW was incorporated as the KIBOW Foundation, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

An avid enthusiast of the Japanese game Go since age 40, Mr. Hori has been Director of the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) since June 2013.

Since October 2013, Mr. Hori has hosted a weekly TV program in Japan called Nippon Mirai Kaigi (Japan Future Conference). He has authored several books including Visionary Leaders who Create and Innovate Societies, Six Dimensions of Life, and My Personal Mission Statement.

Mr. Hori received his BS in Engineering from Kyoto University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

He is an avid swimmer and enjoys spending time with his family, especially his five sons.

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