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Creative Opinion: BMB gives lessons in anger management for an era defined by Brexit and Trump

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Brands, politicians and communicators need to break the anger cycle that fuelled Brexit and brought Trump to the White House to successfully engage the public, BMB’s top team has warned. At the Eurobest festival in Rome yesterday (Wednesday, November 30), BMB CEO Juliet Haygarth and Chief Creative Officer Jules Chalkley outlined the key lessons for brands, politicians and communicators, following the extraordinary political events of the past year.

In their talk “Directing the Mood of a Nation,” Haygarth and Chalkley explained how anger coupled with blame became an extremely effective combination for Trump and Brexiters in the run up to the EU referendum. “Trump, Farage, UKIP, Le Pen, and Brexiters are all more likely to suggest unorthodox, extreme concrete action, such as build a wall or close borders, aimed directly at a group of people,” said Haygarth. “This will be more compelling to an angry person than a complex and nuanced discussion on policy.” The biggest lesson for communicators is that you must “move beyond anger,” Chalkey warned, also adding; “We need to try and find a new way of mobilising people and shifting their mood away from anger.”

Haygarth and Chalkley advised how this can be achieved in a post-truth age. Communicators can direct the nation’s mood and break the anger cycle by: empathising with the public; not relying solely on facts or reason; arming supporters by creating a call to action; using a defining image, coming up with ideas that speak to everyone; getting the timing right; being funny or transgressive; and making sure that what you are communicating is about more than just advertising. “Advertising alone doesn’t have the muscle to change a nation’s mood,” Haygarth said. “You are not making ads, you’re providing visuals for newspapers, stimulation for social media, and all with dizzying speed. You need to fuel the 24 hours a day news agenda. You’re not creating campaigns, you’re campaigning for something you and millions of others believe in.”

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