By Anne Zeiser
Founder of Azure Media
Author of Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media
Anyone who’s been in business or managed teams of people knows you can’t have two people running the same show. Accountability must lie with one person. Because ego always creates conflict with two co-heads, President-elect Trump’s recent top posts has created a two-headed monster.
Trump’s appointment of Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee Chairman, as his chief of staff is the politically expedient decision for the top White House position, appeasing the Republican leadership. Priebus is a GOP insider with close ties to House Speaker, Paul Ryan. Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon, the recent chairman of the Trump campaign and former chairman of the conservative Breitbart News, as his chief strategist and senior counselor is a cagey positioning of who Trump really trusts and wanted. But Bannon won’t fly in Washington as chief of staff because the alt-right lightning rod has been the architect of many of Trump’s most polarizing nationalistic and racist messaging during the campaign. The murky title of “strategist” gives him the president’s ear without anyone knowing how much he owns it.
How do I know whether Priebus or Bannon is Trump’s true consigliere? Journalists and public relations professionals know that the person listed first in a press release signals who’s the most important. That’s Bannon in this case, despite Priebus snagging the top chief of staff title.
What Trump has tried to do with these dual appointments is to give both the ultraconservative voters and more moderate GOP leadership someone to look to in a position of power as “their guy.” But this two-headed moster is a critical mistake. Instead of sticking to his business know-how by placing one person in charge, Trump’s dual leadership posts is a prescription for internal civil war in his administration.
It will end with Trump figuratively lopping of one of the monster’s heads by uttering his hallmark statement to one of them, “You’re fired.”
This updated story also appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.
Anne Zeiser is a critically-acclaimed transmedia and social impact producer and media strategist. She's stewarded films and iconic series for PBS, produced news for CBS, managed national brands for marketing firms, and founded Azure Media, which develops transmedia projects on air, online, and on the go that fuel social impact in communities, in schools, and in capitals. With media partners from PBS and the BBC to Miramax and Sikelia Productions, Zeiser has successfully launched and marketed film studios and media organizations, feature and documentary films, television series and specials, mobile games and apps, and online video and media communities. She's the author of Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media from Focal Press' American Film Market® Presents book series. You can follow her at the book’s Web site or on Twitter @azuremedia.