Watching Donald Trump vs. the NFL, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had seen this all before. Then it struck me – oh, yeah! He did the same thing to the sixteen other  Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for President of the United States in 2016.

Specifically, Trump spoke directly to their audiences, which he deftly identified as disaffected and disgruntled. He then gave voice to their audiences’ disaffection and ended up routing both the GOP establishment and the NFL.

I have an Op-Ed in the American Spectator today on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:

“Trump’s rout of the NFL on this issue is in many ways the mirror image of his 2016 primary performance, when he caught so many opponents flatfooted. Republicans were badly out of touch with their base. Trump knew it and exploited the gap. And now he’s proven the same was true of the leadership of America’s dominant sport, to their great chagrin.

I write these words not to trumpet Trump or to issue any kind of an I-told-you-so. The results are simply stunning. The results are also an important marketing warning that needs to be made to most businesses and other organizations.

Are you still in touch with your audience, or have you perhaps “evolved” and left your audience behind? You might want to give that question some serious thought and not dismiss it too quickly. I mean, if huge brands like the GOP and the NFL can lose touch with their audience and make strategic blunders this large, any business can.

If big brands like the GOP and the NFL can lose touch with their audiences, virtually any business can, large or small. Know your customers and treat them with respect.

Patrick Hynes, president of Hynes Communications, is a political consultant and lives in New Hampshire.