Wednesday, June 13, 2018

President Trump As Obi-Wan Kenobi

Yesterday, I watched the video that President Trump showed Kim Jung Un at the start of their meeting. I thought it was brilliant.

Two things jumped out at me.
  1. Notice how Kim is the hero of the story and Trump is his guide to achieving his goal. This is one of the most important lessons from Building a Story Brand. Kim is Trump's prospect and he's trying to sell him peace and demilitarization. When you sell, you are the guide, helping the hero, your customer, achieve their goals. You are not the hero of the story nor is your product. You are Obi-Wan and your customer is Luke. You will sell them what they need to succeed and then fade into the background while they win the day. This video was absolutely brilliant in doing that.

  2. Kim is shown as Trump's equal. A fat, little kid who runs a giant prison camp where only one city has reliable electricity is the equal of the American president, a TV star and a larger-then-life billionaire playboy. The video played to Kim's ego and his undoubtedly unsatisfied desire for more adulation, more money, more fame. It said that Donald Trump saw him as a great man just waiting to take his rightful place in history which could only happen if he made the right choices. Pure genius.
I thought Trump was going to overwhelm Kim and if this video is any guide, he did just that.


tim eisele said...

Does Trump know that the elderly mentor to the youthful hero almost always ends up getting killed in those kind of movies?

I can see another side of that same story that the video fits neatly into, though. It is the part where the villain tries to seduce the young upstart to the dark side, by showing him all the wonders that they can achieve together - interleaved with a lot of not-so-veiled threats about the horrible things that will happen to him if he refuses. This is still casting Kim as the hero, but in this case the "story" response of the hero is to angrily refuse temptation and launch into full-up conflict.

I just hope Trump can keep control of the story, and not veer into the wrong part of it. And that Kim doesn't think that he already has someone else in the Obi-Wan role.

Mutnodjmet said...

My favorite part is the satellite image of North Korea lit up, as a future vision. This was the most masterful bit of marketing in history. You analogy is brilliant.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I don't see the downside. We've gone from missiles in the air, nukes being tested and threats to cool videos promising hot chicks in bikinis on Nork beaches. How does that end worse than a nuclear war or even a conventional war where Seoul gets creamed by Nork artillery?

Thanks, Mutnodjmet! Long time, no see!

tim eisele said...

Don't get me wrong, I approve of actually trying something different, instead of just doing the same damned dumb things over and over again like we've been doing for years. And I'm not concerned about "letting the North Koreans have what they want without getting anything in return", because honestly, we weren't really getting anywhere by _not_ letting them have what they wanted either, and as long as what they want doesn't involve invading their neighbors or supporting criminal activities, I don't see the problem.

I'm just concerned that Trump will appear to have initial success, and then get cocky (like he does) and start randomly changing his story, approach, and goals (like he does) until he screws up everything that he had apparently built (like he has sometimes done).

I don't think Trump is nearly as stupid as his opponents make him out to be, but on the other hand I also don't think he is nearly as smart as he thinks he is (and on top of that, he doesn't appear to be as smart as he used to be). He is capable of doing useful things and getting good results, but he's also quite capable of fastening onto bad ideas, and flaming out spectacularly.