Over the years propaganda has taken different forms and its targets may be broad or narrow. Although many of the notable examples include huge political scandals and corporate giants. One thing is clear: there are different types of propaganda that can impact any business.
As such businesses have their set traditional and digital marketing goals to meet. These goals often involve the greater public and what better way to attract them than use persuasive means. This is where propaganda comes in.
It is also used in politics, especially during the campaigns and elections period, to inspire people to vote for a specific candidate.
It’s also worth noting that the use of propaganda to persuade people is a purposeful act. Even then, marketers can use propaganda for good. What makes the difference is your intent.
There are different types of propaganda. Some are positive, while others are driven by selfishness and greed.
What is Propaganda?
Propaganda is a systematic effort aimed at manipulating people’s actions, beliefs, and attitudes. It uses symbols, monuments, gestures, banners, music, designs, and other means to achieve its driven agenda.
The origin of propaganda dates back beyond World War 1 and has since then evolved in the way it’s used in different capacities both online social media and websites, and traditional methods.
All these actions and techniques are done intentionally and with the high emphasis being laid on this manipulation. This is what distinguishes propaganda from a free exchange of ideas or casual conversations.
Propaganda is used in different sectors globally. For example, business, politics, religions, health, and others. Propagandists in each of these sectors have a specified goal to achieve. They then use facts, ideas, and arguments and display them in a way that will be most effective.
To some extent, these propagandas are often accompanied by lies or distortion of information to blind the reactors or targeted audience.
Today you’ll realise that marketing campaigns are loaded with propaganda, as well.
Have you ever bought a particular outfit because your friend is buying one? Even though you knew it might not fit you the same way?
Or bought tickets to a particular concert because all your friends are buying even though you knew you would not enjoy yourself? If so, then you may have experienced bandwagon propaganda.
We’ve all seen the ‘8 out of 10 Dentists recommend’ toothpaste adverts, haven’t we? This advert is often done by a dentist (or rather an actor dressed as a dentist!) who often says other dentists also recommend the same toothpaste.
Such an advert uses a dentist because if someone else says a chef was to do it, people might not take them seriously.
This type of propaganda uses key influencers’ testimonials to influence the greater public. They convince you that the product or service is good for you since they are using it.
It is also called trash talking. As the name suggests, it involves pouring not-so-good praises about a certain product or advocacy. It is offensive rather than defensive propaganda.
Such propaganda occurs when a certain company or even politician uses offensive words to talk about their competitors and opposing party.
This is often seen in the bitterness between different political party supporters.
Card Stacking Propaganda
Card stacking is the most popular type of propaganda in advertising. In this technique, a marketing agency always shows the good and best features of their products but hides the bad ones.
It works on a half-truth basis. They tell you how valuable the product such as soap will be but leave out the part of how it may cause skin rashes. This technique may be regarded as unfair advertising since they are not bringing all the facts to the table.
Brand Patriotism Propaganda
If name-calling is all about showering negative praises, then brand or product patriotism is the exact opposite. This type of propaganda is all about the good praises to advocate or market for a certain product, more like card stacking.
As the name suggests, it is all that is glitters and gold, perfection, in every sense. It is used to define positivity for a certain product or fact or idea. Popular phrases that might be used to advertise a product would be ‘the number one acne solution’.
Like other types of propaganda techniques, it is done in such a way that it sparks the targeted audience’s attention and curiosity. The words used may be simple, but their meanings always hold much power.
So Propaganda is bad?
Of course not. It’s a standard marketing tool or technique, and, like all forms of marketing, is designed to sell more, achieve more, get better results for the originating company.
I named one of my businesses Propaganda because not all forms of propaganda are bad, in fact, most are vital business tools without which we’d be lost amidst the millions of ‘like’ companies with whom we compete for space.
Thank you for reading.
Stephen Taylor, Propaganda CEO & Founder.