It’s Election Day in the United States. We made it. But at what price? The Brand Newsroom team takes a close look at negativity. How should we handle it? What’s the cost of letting it run free? The Donald Trump experience seems to teach us that going negative can get you a long way. But is there a better way to achieve your goals?


Here are some key take-outs:

  • Negative news sells. It’s just a part of the human condition. The media and marketers know that a bad news story is always going to sell more than a good news story.
  • Being negative got Trump out in front of the media and spoke to his base, which feels negatively about the issues he champions. It’s a cheap way to present and while it worked for Trump it won’t work for brands.

“We can be so put off by some negative comments that float around but equally we can get so much attention by drawing attention to the negative”. — James


  • There has been a huge backlash to Trump’s toxic way of communicating. It might have got him the attention, but can it win him the election?
  • Don’t just recognise the problem; deliver the solution.
  • You don’t have to go negative the way Trump has to talk to your base. There’s nothing more powerful than saying, “I understand the stress you’re feeling, and I can help you with that”. It’s taking that negative message but delivering it positively.

“Getting the pitchforks out, taunting the natives and inciting riot, even if it’s in the social media space… it’s a race to the bottom.” — Sarah


  • We stand on our reputation and if your reputation is negative, that’s not going to stand you in good stead in the long-term. Negativity has a shelf life.
  • Having love and empathy for your audience is far more powerful than negativity.
  • Negativity attracts negativity — so be careful what you wish for.

“My grandmother used to say, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” — Nic


Here are the links you might need

  • James Lush’s blog about negativity.


Have you heard the one about…

A couple of months ago Sarah did a little experiment examining the email marketing campaigns of the Trump and Clinton campaigns. Here’s what she found out.


And here’s a discussion with Jonathan Crossfield about avoiding social media marketing mistakes.


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