What the White House’s “Alternative Facts” Means for Your Book or Business
Type the word “alternative” into Google then hit the spacebar. The first suggested search query completes a search for “alternative facts.” Go to Amazon (the second largest search engine in the world) and type “alternative.” You will find the third entry for all of the Amazon stores is an “alternative facts t-shirt.” Go to YouTube (the third largest search engine), and yet again “alternative facts” completes the search. What are alternative facts and why are people searching for them so much?
Soon after President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, 2017, a controversy erupted concerning the size of the crowd on Inauguration Day. On January 21st, the new White House Press Secretary, Sean Spice, held his first press conference. During that time he criticized the media of deliberately underestimating the size of the crowd and stated it was the largest crowd to attend an inauguration. News outlets and social media burst with chatter about the statement. Instead of putting down the controversy, someone else fanned the flames.
Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Trump, went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” the day after Mr. Spicer’s accusations and claims. She defended the press secretary saying, “Our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts to [these claims], but the point remains that…” reported NBC. She was then interrupted by Chuck Todd who called alternative facts “falsehoods.” Conway continued to defend herself and Mr. Spicer before accusing Todd of making her look ridiculous.
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Are you paying attention to current events and how they affect your business? Depending on your industry, strategy, and brand, the “alternative facts” issue may have nothing to do with your business, but it does with mine.
NPR reported that days after Conway’s appearance on NBC, George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 erupted from obscurity to a best seller once again. Orwell’s look into a dystopian future is currently the #2 book on Amazon’s best seller’s list and in the top 100 of all time.
Correlation is not causation. Yet, I am willing to hedge this is the case with Orwell’s novel. It focuses on an alternative future with a government that controls its people using political propaganda via “Newspeak” and “Ingsoc” and accuses people of “thoughtcrimes.” Also, I find it very interesting that Hulu, the video subscription service, picked up Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, for a season. Aldous Huxley’s, A Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury are currently in the top 100 sellers on Amazon in 2017. If it was only one book then I’d brush it off, but we have four books at the top and one is about to become a TV show.
I, an author and a soon to be a publisher, have a vested interest when a book skyrockets out of obscurity into the forefront of the world’s largest bookstore or when a 30-year-old book gets its own TV show on one of the most popular video streaming sites. If you are a company that offers cybersecurity and encryption software, do-it-yourself bomb shelters, survival food rations, or weaponry, then this may be the time for you to boost sales. Awareness is key. You are not fear mongering. You are simply reacting to what people want. Right now, their buying and search behaviors tell us they want to prepare for a world of “alternative facts.” Remember, if you are listening to your customers then you will know what they want to buy from you. This is how you listen to the market.
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Question of the day: What can you do in this politically hostile climate to boost sales? Please comment below.
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