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Corporate propaganda refers to
propagandist Propaganda is communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use of sufficiently mutually und ...
claims made by a
corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal ...

corporation
(or corporations), for the purpose of manipulating market opinion with regard to that corporation, and its activities. The practices of
advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasi ...

advertising
and
public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British ...
are among those which may be considered corporate propaganda.


Components


Corporate branding

A corporate brand is the perception of a company that unites a group of products or services for the public under a single name, and a common set of symbols. The process of corporate branding comprises creating favourable associations and positive reputation with both internal and external stakeholders. The purpose of a corporate branding initiative is generally either to disguise corporate motives, or to improve business opportunities. In more general terms, research suggests that corporate branding is an appropriate strategy for companies to implement when: * there is significant "information asymmetry" between a company and its clients; That is to say customers are much less informed about a company's products than the company itself is; * customers perceive a high degree of risk in purchasing the products or services of the company; * features of the company behind the brand would be relevant to the product or service a customer is considering purchasing.


Sex in advertising

Sex in advertising is the use of
sex appealSex Appeal, or variants, may refer to: * Sex appeal, or sexual attraction Music * S.E.X. Appeal, a German trance music project * ''Sex Appeal'' (album), by Georgio, 1987 *"Sex Appeal", a song by Frankie DeCarlos from the 2011 album '' Empire (Frank ...
in
advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasi ...

advertising
to help sell a particular product or service. Sexually appealing imagery may or may not pertain to the product or service in question. Examples of sexually appealing imagery include
nudity Nudity is the state of being in which a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, ...

nudity
,
pin-up girl A pin-up model (known as a pin-up girl for a female and less commonly male pin-up for a male) is a model whose mass-produced pictures see widespread appeal as part of popular culture. Pin-up models were variously glamour models, fashion models ...
s, and muscular men. The use of sex in advertising can be highly overt or extremely subtle. It ranges from relatively explicit displays of sexual acts, to the use of basic
cosmetics Cosmetics are constituted mixtures of chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and take ...
to enhance attractive features, often supplemented by
photo manipulation Photograph manipulation involves the transformation or alteration of a photograph A photograph (also known as a photo) is an image An SAR radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour show ...
.


Direct marketing


Buzzwords and jargon

Another component of corporate propaganda is the use of corporate buzz words, a form of
loaded language Loaded language (also known as loaded terms, emotive language, high-inference language and language-persuasive techniques) may be rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving cr ...
that exploits complex or meaningless words in order to woo customers, and
corporate jargonCorporate jargon, variously known as corporate speak, corporate lingo, business speak, business jargon, management speak, workplace jargon, corporatese or commercialese, is the jargon often used in large corporation A corporation is an organi ...
, words that are intentionally designed to either confuse the public or to impress them. Some examples of corporate buzz words would be: *
Synergy Synergy is an interaction or cooperation giving rise to a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. The term ''synergy'' comes from the Attic Greek Attic Greek is the dialect of the of , including the ' of . Often called class ...
*
Innovation Innovation is the practical implementation of ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relation ...

Innovation
*
'Thinking outside the box'
'Thinking outside the box'
*
Globalisation Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...
* Development (or Progress) * and others Some examples of corporate jargon would be: *
Operational excellence The concept of Operational Excellence was first introduced in the early 1970's by Dr. Joseph M. Juran while teaching Japanese business leaders how to improve quality. It was formalized in the United States in the 1980's in response to 'the crisis ...
* Paradigm shift *
Public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British ...
* Cost avoidance * and others


Crisis communications

Crisis communication is sometimes considered a sub-specialty of the corporate propagandist profession that is designed to protect and defend an individual, company, or organisation facing consequences for objectionable actions and corruption or
nepotism Nepotism is a form of favoritism which is granted to relatives and friends in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, fitness, religion, and other activities. The term originated with the assignment of nephews to im ...
. These challenges may come in the form of an investigation from a government agency, a criminal allegation, a media inquiry, a shareholders lawsuit, a violation of environmental regulations, or any of a number of other scenarios involving the legal, ethical, or financial standing of the entity. The crisis for organisations can be defined as follows: :A crisis is a major catastrophe that may occur either naturally or as a result of
human error Human error refers to something having been done that was "not intended by the actor; not desired by a set of rules or an external observer; or that led the task or system outside its acceptable limits".Senders, J.W. and Moray, N.P. (1991) Human E ...
, intervention, or even malicious intent. It can include tangible devastation, such as the destruction of lives or assets, or intangible devastation, such as the loss of an organisation's credibility.


Internal/employee communications

As the extent of communication grows, many companies disseminate propaganda amongst the
lower-class
lower-class
employees Employment is the relationship between two parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black border edge.jpg, 300px, ''Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' ...
of the organisation. Internal communication in the 21st century is more than the memos, publications, and broadcasts that comprise it; it's about building a
corporate culture Historically there have been differences among investigators regarding the definition of organizational culture. Edgar H. Schein, a leading researcher in this field, defined "organizational culture" as comprising a number of features, including a ...
where employees remain staunchly loyal to their employers: * ''Efficiency'': Internal communication is used primarily to disseminate information about corporate activities. * ''Shared meaning'': Internal communication is used to build a shared understanding among employees about corporate goals. * ''Connectivity'': Internal communication is used mainly to clarify the connectedness of the company's people and activities. * ''Satisfaction'': Internal communication is used to improve
job satisfaction Job satisfaction or employee satisfaction is a measure of workers' contentedness with their job, whether they like the job or individual aspects or facets of jobs, such as nature of work or supervision. Job satisfaction can be measured in cognitiv ...
.


Investor relations

The investor relations (IR) function is used by companies which publicly trade shares on a stock exchange. In such companies, the purpose of the IR specialist is to disseminate propaganda amongst current and potential financial stakeholders-namely retail investors, institutional investors, and financial analysts. The role of investor relations is to fulfil three principal functions: * comply with regulations; * Create a favourable relationship with key financial audiences; * contribute to building and maintaining the company's image and reputation.


Issues management

A key role of corporate propaganda is to encourage a positive view of
corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal ...

corporate
hegemony,
wage labour Wage labour (also wage labor in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Curren ...
, and specific organisations. In recent years, PR specialists have become increasingly involved in helping companies manage strategic issues – public concerns about their activities that are frequently magnified by special interest groups and NGOs. The role of corporate propaganda therefore also consists of issues management, namely the “set of organisational procedures, routines, personnel, and issues”. A strategic issue is one that compels a company to deal with it because there is “ a conflict between two or more identifiable groups over procedural or substantive matters relating to the distribution of positions or resources”.


Media relations

In order to increase positive media coverage, organisations must
bribe Bribery is defined by ''Black's Law Dictionary ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most widely used law dictionary Image:Legal Dictionaries.jpg, 300px, Several English and Russian legal dictionaries A law dictionary (also known as legal dictionary) ...

bribe
and incentivise influential members of the media, failing which they may resort to propagandist manipulation as a last resort. This task might be handled by employees within the company's media relations department or handled by a public relations firm, such as Ogilvy PR.


Online

Internet advertising is a method of distribution for corporate propaganda which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. It includes email marketing,
search engine marketing Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected compu ...
(SEM), social media marketing, many types of
display advertising Digital display advertising is graphic advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; ...
(including
web banner A web banner or banner ad is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical system ...
advertising), and
mobile advertising Mobile advertising is a form of advertising Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.William J. Stanton. ''Fundamentals of Marketing''. M ...
. Like other advertising media, online advertising frequently involves both a publisher, who integrates advertisements into its online content, and an advertiser, who provides the advertisements to be displayed on the publisher's content. Other potential participants include advertising agencies who help generate and place the ad copy, an
ad server Ad serving describes the technology and service that places Advertising, advertisements on Website, Web sites. Ad serving technology companies provide software to Web sites and advertisers to serve ads, count them, choose the ads that will make the ...
who technologically delivers the ad and tracks statistics, and advertising affiliates who do independent promotional work for the advertiser. Many common online advertising practices are controversial and increasingly subject to regulation. Online ad revenues may not adequately replace other publishers' revenue streams. Declining ad revenue has led some publishers to hide their content behind
paywall A paywall is a method of restricting access to content Content or contents may refer to: Media * Content (media), information or experience provided to audience or end-users by publishers or media producers ** Content industry, an umbrella ...
s.


Ethics

There are a number of different ways in which corporate propaganda can be presented to consumers; one of these methods is accomplished through the use of humour. In a study conducted by Hassib Shabbir and Des Thwaites, 238 advertisements were assessed and 73.5% of them were found to have used deceptive marketing practices. Of those advertisements that were conducted deceptively, 74.5% of them used humour as a masking device in order to mislead potential customers. Part of what drives this study is the idea that humour provides an escape or relief from some kind of human constraint, and that some advertisers intend to take advantage of this by deceptively advertising a product that can potentially alleviate that constraint through humour. Through the study it was also found that all types of humour are used to deceive consumers, and that there are certain types of humour that are used when making certain deceptive claims. Humour is not the only method that is used to deter consumer's minds from what a product actually offers. Before making important purchases, consumers should always conduct their own research in order to gain a better understanding of what it is they are investing in.Shabbir, H., & Thwaites, D. (2007). The use of humour to mask deceptive advertising. Journal of Advertising, 36(2), 75-85.


Criminalisation

Under the modern judicial system, behaviour, such as the dissemination of corporate propaganda, can be regulated by the
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
, although many governments and political parties across the world (most notably in the US, the UK, and
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...
) endorse lax regulations in order to further the
special interests Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy include ...
of corporate sponsors. In deciding to criminalise particular behaviour, the
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
would be making the political judgment that this behaviour is sufficiently culpable to deserve the stigma of being labelled as a crime. However, under western law, corporations are regarded as people, and the right to
freedom of speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

freedom of speech
may be invoked as a defence for propaganda. For the views of
Marxist criminology Marxist criminology is one of the schools A school is an educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, second ...
, see Snider (1993) and Snider & Pearce (1995), for
Left realism Left realism emerged in criminology from critical criminology as a reaction against what was perceived to be Left-wing politics, the left's failure to take a practical interest in everyday crime, allowing right realism to monopolize the political ag ...
, see Pearce & Tombs (1992) and Schulte-Bockholt (2001), and for
Right Realism Right realism, in criminology Criminology (from Latin , "accusation", and Ancient Greek , ''-logia'', from λόγος ''logos'' meaning: "word, reason") is the study of crime and Deviance (sociology), deviant behaviour. Criminology is an interd ...
, see Reed & Yeager (1996). The criminalisation of corporate propaganda is hindered by the erosion of
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''superānus'', meaning "above". The roles of a sovereign v ...
state control of
prison A prison, also known as a jail or gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention ...

prison
s through the process of
privatisation Privatization (or privatisation in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codificati ...
. This gives corporations immense power over the legal system. Corporate profitability in these areas also depends on building more prison facilities, managing their operations, and selling inmate labour, resulting in corporate backing for the
War on Drugs
War on Drugs
and other fronts for the increase of incarceration.


See also

*
Corporate communication Corporate communication is a set of activities involved in managing and orchestrating all internal and external communications aimed at creating favourable point of view among stakeholders on which the company depends. Riel, Cees B.M. van; Fombrun, ...
*
Greenwash Greenwashing (a compound word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspe ...
* Marketing speak *
Spin (public relations) In public relations and politics, spin is a form of propaganda Propaganda is communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities o ...
* Decision Earth *
Tobacco industry The tobacco industry comprises those persons and companies who are engaged in the growth, preparation for sale, shipment, advertisement, and distribution of tobacco village in Xanthi, Greece Tobacco is the common name of several plants in ...
*
Wage labour Wage labour (also wage labor in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Curren ...


References


External links


Corporate Propaganda: Its Implications For Accounting And Accountability
David J Collison, University of Dundee.


{{Aspects of corporations Propaganda by topic
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