PSYOP and Commercial Influence: Another Perspective

PSYOP and Commercial Influence: Another Perspective I was attending a training session for the DOD Employer Help to Guard and Reserve (ESGR). During the session I was questioned to give an impromptu introduction into “Marketing”. Since there is an on-going conversation as to the similarities and differences between commercial shape (marketing, sales & Public Relations) and PSYOP/MISO, I plotting I would share the essence of that presentation in this posting.I view the commercial shape world as three complementary functions: Public Relations (PR), marketing and sales. Unlike the military where the reporting structure is clear, this is sometimes not the case in the commercial sector. I have been in organizations where Marketing, Sales and PR each are headed by Vice Presidents and report to the CEO. In other places Marketing and PR are combined.PR has a clear mission: communicate the organization’s messages.Sales also has a clear mission: breed revenue.Marketing’s job is primarily to help sales, but can also provide help to PR.In the military world Public Affairs (PR) is the CDR’s voice to the media. They get to target audiences both foreign and domestic through the media. PSYOP, for the sake of discussion, has the marketing and sales missions.In this case I equate sales to “Face to Face” communications. PSYOP teams are in direct, personal contact with the population and take on the role of a sales force.MISO forces make products that are used in the media and are used directly with the population. MISO can buy or trade for photograph space or announce time. They can, as do commercial entities, hire contractors to write white papers, articles and OpEd materials in help of the CDR’s messages. (Note: this post is not meant to chat about issues of sourcing and attribution, but rather only the techniques. MISO also makes leaflets (sort of like commercial brochures), posters, comic books, etc.Commercial entities are making aggressive use of Social Media with an emphasis on FaceBook and Twitter. Strikes me that PA is the right military specialty to take the CDR’s messages through Social Media. I’m not quite sure that MISO doctrine has caught up with MISO’s role in Social Media and invite knowledgeable readers to chime in here.The point of today’s entry is that there are valid comparisons between commercial shape and PSYOP/MISO. They may not be exactly right – but they certainly can clarify MISO to CDR and other stakeholders.

We were also found by phrases: Read more

Rules for Playing On the Islamic Home Field

Rules for Playing On the Islamic Home FieldWith the 50th Super Bowl around the corner, sports metaphors abound this time of year. The PSYOP Community finds itself playing in ‘home fields’ around the world. Many of today’s AOs are in the Islamic world, an area of the world and a culture that are foreign to many of us.I had the fantastic pleasure of attending a lecture sponsored by the Safe Communites Institute, a part of the USC Price School of Public Policy. The speaker, Dr. Doron Pely is the Executive Director of the Sulha Research Institute (see: www.Sulha.org) and a colleague of mine at TALGlobal (www.talglobal.com).While we are taught that it’s often perilous to generalize, sometimes an educated, Kentucky windage leveraged analysis is a surpass house to start than one of ignorance. Today’s posting is a synthesis of the hour and half lecture. The data upon which it is based comes from a few sources. The essence is a comparison of perceptions of Israeli’s by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and vice versa – the perception of Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israelis. Arabs gathered Arab perception data while Israelis collected Israeli perception data.The yucky generalization is that these perceptions will closely align with perceptions of the “West” by Islamic populations in areas of conflict, especially those AOs with active military operations. How does the target consultation perceive you?According to the research, the West is viewed with the subsequent descriptors:·      Terrible, dishonest and uneducated.·      Cowardly and cruel.·      Violent with a lack of pity.The research also indicated that the West is perceived as lacking understanding of Islamic culture and lacking in empathy. This last point is vital because empathy is a vital prerequisite for conflict resolution.Research also showed that the Palestinians were split sweet evenly as to whether they felt it was beneficial to achieve a peaceful agreement. This point means that most Islamic conflict AOs will start with the West playing bump-up in gaining the trust and confidence of the population. The New “Normal”Those of use who have studied psychology in Western Universities learned the classic Maslow hierarchy of needs as shown below. (Diagrams courtesy of Sulha Research Center)But, the Sulha Pyramid below shows a juxtaposition that is fundamental to understanding Islamic culture. Notice that the basic physiological needs are in the middle of the pyramid with Honor & Admire needs as the base and Belonging as the second layer. Prior to wrapping up, let me offer the best practices provided in the lecture.1.     Mind the rituals.Small cuts won’t cut it. Building trust and respecting the process is a key to success.2.     Watch the state of Honor.Honor as fundamental in Islamic culture as fundamental as food and drink in the West.3.     Mind PrecedentsJust as you would with a court case, do some research to validate that what you want to do now has been done in the past.4.     Remember your role.A vital hint is that those with power ‘pull’ while those who perceive themselves as victims will ‘push’. Pulling implies indirect pressure.5.     Keep the constituencies in mind.Consider each party’s perspective.6.     Use creative reframing.Constantly insure that you are in empathy with the process while framing your positions.We in the PSYOP community need to be lifetime learners, sometimes this also means we need to search for new perspectives that help us optimize our hard work in diverse AOs.Reader input encouraged!

We were also found by phrases: Read more

Narratives and Messages – Key to Influence & Counter-Influence

Narratives and Messages – Key to Influence & Counter-InfluenceFocus is a key to shape success. Unless you know your messages and that of your opponent, you will not succeed. A narrative often forms the core of an enemy’s attraction. For example, Qulliam, a UK based reckon tank characterizes the ISIS narrative as: “Islam is under attack and we must defend it”  (see: quilliam.org; Countering Islamist Extremist Narratives: A Strategic Briefing, January 2016).Quilliam also reports that “ISIS publishes more than 30 unique pieces of propaganda each day, and its broader narrative can be stratified into six sub-themes: Brutality; Mercy; War; Victimhood; Belonging; and Utopianism” and argues that “Only by countering the broad Islamist narrative, and how ISIS uses it in its propaganda to radicalise and recruit, will we be able to make progress in our foreign policy priorities for pursuing peace and stability in the region.”Developing an effective counter narrative requires an in depth understanding of the basis for the target narrative as well as a keen grasp of the communications media and vehicles use to shape target audiences. Naturally language and credibility are key as well as the ability to raise issues with the enemy narrative while not denigrating the base documents upon which the enemy alleges that the narrative is based.While Quilliam may argue that an attack on the broadest of narratives is the most logical starting point, an different approach might be to address sub-themes through a family of messages for each sub-theme and building up a case with the attack on the broader narratives. The report noted above has some brilliant references and examples and is worth your time to check out. As always, reader input encouraged.Photo Source: http://www.penguin.com/book/moby-dick-by-herman-melville/9781101100431

We were also found by phrases: Read more

Case Studies & PSYOP

Case Studies & PSYOPThe beginning of a New Year is always a time to reckon in this area new perspectives. One of the staples of business education is the case study. Sometimes referred to (at least in the olden days when I went to school as the Harvard Case Method (see: https://hbr.org/store/case-studies?cm_mmc=cpc-_-google-_-domestic-_-cases&referral=02276&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=dom_cases&gclid=CPKZo4iokcoCFUhcfgodY4QCBQ) The students received a mini-booklet that described a company. By design it included financial statements, marketing information and panoply of other stuff. Your job as the student was to figure out what was incorrect with the company and offer your recommendations on how to fix the company.I had one entrepreneurial professor during my MBA program at Babson College who gave us an assignment on a case study with a different slant. Our job was not to solve the company’s problems, but to get the consulting contract wherein the company would pay us to solve their problems.This assignment required a whole different set of skills and, in retrospect, formed some of the basis for my starting and running my own successful consulting business.One of my sources directed me to a LinkedIn piece which in turn directed me to an article: “Russian Propaganda, Disinformation And Estonia’s Experience – Analysis (see: http://www.eurasiareview.com/04102015-russian-propaganda-disinformation-and-estonias-experience-analysis/, which is also the photo source).The content of the article is sweet excellent – but I am referencing it as a potential tool for PSYOP/MISO education. Given the range of contemporary and potential adversaries and AOs, it is incumbent on us to develop the processing of thinking for PSYOPers.I would point to regionally-oriented on-line sources as a way to do this. The site referenced above seems to be a excellent one and I’m sure that there are others as well. In particular I feel we should be leveraging this type of implementation to stimulate the student plotting process and to learn in this area other parts of the world notably Asia, Africa and Latin America.Reader input encourage and the best and brightest of New Year’s to all y’all!

We were also found by phrases: Read more

Happy Holidays And A New Approach to Veteran’s Unemployment

Happy Holidays And A New Approach to Veteran's UnemploymentGreetings,I don't generally promote causes of any type, but helping our fellow unemployed Veterans succeed in life is a cause we can all shape on. Most of us have been unemployed at one point or another and learned the hard way that there are no simple solutions.A very trusted colleague of mine is one of the founders of V.E.T.S., a new approach to matching veterans with teams where they can thrive.Here's their pitch:We did it! V.E.T.S. made its promised year-end, tax-deductible donation campaign to automate our culture measurement and employment process.Yes, it’s an incredible capability you’ve never heard of. Please, take a look at gofundme.com/VetsWhoFit. You'll see our work's details on VetsWhoFit.org.Gifts should be in this area improving lives. Nothing's more vital (after family) than helping people join teams where they fit in for rewarding work! Get that part right and the rest of life goes much surpass. We can make those matches with solid analysis rather than guessing or stereotypes. This is especially vital for young veterans (our cause) but works for everybody.Now, it's time for your help as you also help yourself. Please, please strongly consider including us amongst your holiday donations and also spread the word by using all of the options below to enlist your family and friends. — Our Reward Levels give you this job culture matching service, for life! You also have choices to bring family and friends with you. Please look for those choices on the GoFundMe page.For those of us with nothing left to donate after staying afloat, we get it because we've been there. So here's what you do: go to your friends, parents and older relatives with the truth that the V.E.T.S. process will revolutionize the way people find rewarding jobs and student bodies. Look at the small GoFundMe video for details. Help now could lead to your marvel job later, especially if you're just starting out. Really! So consider the messages below and mention us over the holidays.You can also help by subsequent us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/VetsNp)  and liking us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VETS-1510479515918591/)  to stay contemporary as we pursue this marvel!Thank you for taking time to help this very vital mission. We look forward to helping our veterans across the country find places on fantastic teams where they'll fit in after serving us so well.Merry Christmas,EdA-10 Warthog callsign, 'Jefe' And here's the link and the photo source: https://www.gofundme.com/VetsWhoFit 

We were also found by phrases: Read more

That Old Time Religion – A Daesh Antidote?

That Old Time Religion – A Daesh Antidote?The NY Times of 21 December 15 ran an OpEd piece free “A Medieval Antidote to ISIS” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/21/opinion/a-medieval-antidote-to-isis.html, which is also the picture source.)The article was written by Mustafa Akyol, who is a self-described lenient Muslim. While many of us are familiar with our own religions and many others, I suspect that not many of us are familiar with “Murjia” or irja. Adherents to this variety of the Islamic religious conviction are simply called “postponers” because they believe in a pluralistic, tolerant form of Islam.Many religions are not standardized. They run from the strict, conservative approach to the laws espoused by the religious conviction to the more reform or lassiez faire who adopt more of a buffet approach where they take what they want in terms of religious guidelines.Many in the PSYOP/MISO Community regard the war on Daesh as one of competing philosophies and ideals. Is it reasonable to assume that an approach based on lesser-known aspects of a religious conviction can be used to persuade zealots and jihadists to become more moderate? While I don’t reckon either a past or a logical argument will win over these extremists, I do believe that it may be possible to show existing moderates or undecided followers that there are past and less violent ways to follow their religious conviction.Here, as with other campaigns, it would be necessary to use credible spokes people to use and inside out approach so that people within the community are trying to shape their co-religionists rather than outsiders promulgating this philosophy.The last paragraph of the article sums up its perspective nicely:“Aware that irja is its theological antidote, the Islamic State presents it as a lack of religious piety. It is, but, right piety combined with humility — the humility that comes from honoring God as the only judge of men. On the other hand, the Islamic State’s zeal to dictate, which it presents as piety, seems to be driven by arrogance — the arrogance of judging all other men, and claiming power over them, in the name of God.”

We were also found by phrases: Read more