Wikileaks as De-Branding

kris, December 1st, 2010

(written on 31.10., updated significantely on 1.12.2010)

Wikileaks reveals facts behind global politics and the motivations of its actors. Both is often hidden behind the rhetorics of political communication (in form of official declarations, PR and all other forms of strategic communication). So wikileaks makes it possible to confront strategic communication with the reality of unvarnished communication and with facts – and shows the discrepancies. De-Branding on a very large scale.

The tactical reactions of the damaged political actors take place on all levels:

  1. belittle the relevance of the information “we knew all that anyway”
  2. banalize the information by emphasizing the personal stories and the gossip (what politician X said about politician Y, etc.), by doing so distract from the real relevant political issues
  3. depict the enormous threat for the security of soldiers, diplomats, their familiy, the USA, the whole world, etc.
  4. criminalize wikileaks and their sources, do legal actions
  5. demonize wikileaks, damage their image, make them apear as “bad guys”, discredit them and their sources, etc.
  6. undercover action: hack wikileaks, spy them, disturb their communication network, infiltrate wikileaks, etc.

Its also quite interesting how different newspaper in different countries write about the leaks. Some examples of today, 31.10.2010:

The print version of the Italian Corriere della Sera occupies almost half of its pages to leak-related stories (typically italian much of it is gossip-oriented). While in the cool Swiss NZZ apear just a few columns with observations on the media echo of the leaks. Obviously Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and The New York Times dedicate huge sections of their web site to the topic  (they exclusevely got the material first in oder to proof it, etc… and obviously pro prepare the publicity).

The whole media presence is overwhelming and not digestible by me, but it seems to be worth studying. Is the some structured study of this case going on? Who is doing it? Apart from the reactions to the leaks and the above mentioned communication warfare, it would be interesting to get an better understanding of the leak itself. Is the data set complete? If not, what kind of selection is it? What was the process of selection? What are the motivations for this selection? Are there hidden interests? Or hidden players? etc.

Here i want to post two videos from “democracy now“, which point out the relevance of transparency and so justify the leaks.

Brand War in Italian Politics

kris, November 24th, 2010

The communication warefare between Berlusconi and Fini and the rest of the politic landscape also includes a war on Brands.  Berlusconi and Fini together used the name “Popolo della Libertà” for their joint venture and with it they won the last elections. Now that they are splitting up both claim the exclusive right to use the Brand.

Fini’s comrade-in-arms Italo Bocchino says Berlusconi can not use the brand without Fini. Bocchino is also co-founder of other politcal brands like Futuro e Libertà per l’Italia and Generazione Italia.

Maybe none of the parties will use the brand Popolo della Libertà, they might do variations, which evoke the original brand, or instead create a new brands and claims as simple as “Berlusconi for President”,  or return to old brands, like the famous Forza Italia.

One is for sure: we will see lots of creativity and enormous investments in tactical communication within the next weeks, which also involves design and branding, as an excerpt form the “corriere della sera” of today proves:

A really funny coincidence is the SONY ad, with its claim “make.believe”. Here you can download the complete article.

Some excerpts from another article of the same newspaper:

… finiani puntano […], che per utilizzare il simbolo in campagna elettorale Silvio Berlusconi ha bisogno dell’autorizzazione di tutti i soci fondatori del partito. …

GUERRA SUL SIMBOLO – Dunque sul nome del Pdl è partita la guerra di nervi e parole. Nella banca dati europea che certifica la titolarità di marchi e simboli, l’Ufficio per l’armonizzazione nel mercato interno (Oami) fornisce le seguenti risposte alla chiave di ricerca «Popolo della libertà»: ci sono «Il popolo della libertà nel mondo», «Partito del popolo della libertà», «Popolo della libertà», «Partito del popolo della libertà», «Popolo della libertà». In pratica, il «Partito del popolo della libertà» e «Popolo della libertà» ricorrono due volte, una volta con il simbolo e un’altra volta senza simbolo, mentre il primo della lista, dispone di un simbolo. Nei cinque casi, denominati «marchi comunitari», il nome del titolare risponde a quello di Silvio Berlusconi. Il deposito è avvenuto il 19 febbraio 2008 per «Il popolo della libertà nel mondo» e il 19 novembre 2007 per tutti gli altri, esattamente il giorno successivo a quello del «predellino» quando il Cavaliere lanciò la sua nuova creatura in piazza San Babila a Milano. …

Real Fiction or Fictitious Reality: it’s all Storytelling

kris, November 19th, 2010

“Whether you’re studying PR or a journalism or filmmaking, it is absolutely essential to be able to tell stories, and to be able to tell them using a variety of tools,” Brenda Wrigley, Associate Professor and Public, Relations Department Chair, Syracuse University zitiert aus “PR rising” (PDF) of PR newswire.com.

Dies wurde wohl nie unterhaltsamer dargestellt, als im Film Wag the Dog.

Der Film ist eine kritische Satire über den Umgang der Mächtigen mit Medien und Öffentlichkeit, welche durch gezielte Medienmanipulation die Macht des Präsidenten retten wollen, und nimmt die Theorie auf, dass von den USA schon häufiger Kriege aus wahltaktischen Gründen geführt wurden. Als Vorgriff auf die Realität wird Wag the Dog im Zusammenhang mit der Lewinsky-Affäre des Präsidenten Bill Clinton gehandelt. Dieser ließ 1998 während der Anhörungen über die Affäre den Irak bombardieren (Operation Desert Fox), was von einigen Medien als Ablenkungsmanöver bewertet wurde.

Parallelen zeigen sich auch zu der medienwirksamen Rettungsaktion von Jessica Lynch im Irakkrieg 2003 – also Jahre nachdem der Film entstand – bei der ein Hollywood-Kameramann Regie führte.” de.wikipedia.org

Paralellen zu anderen Fällen gibt es noch viel mehr, zunächst muss auf dem Feld der Inszenierung gewonnen werden, und erst dann im “echten” Krieg.

Wag the Dog (USA, 1996):

Georgia (New York Times, 2008):

gefunden auf dem Blog buenosburritos

Globale Demokratie

kris, November 18th, 2010

avaaz.org hat nichts mich Branding und Image zu tun, aber dafür um so mehr mit globaler Demokratie. Auf der Platform werden weltweit Stimmen für wichtige Anliegen gesammelt. Die Stimmen werden dann als Petition oder Ähnliches präsententiert. Das kann wirken. Denn wir Indivuduen haben nur in der Masse macht – indem wir als Konsumenten oder als Wähler Entscheidungen treffen (kaufen oder wählen). Nur auf globaler Ebene gibt es keine Möglichkeit seine Stimme abzugeben (ausser durch seine Kaufentscheidungen). Dieses Demokratiedefizit versucht avaaz.org auszugleichen, indem es möglich macht im Internet zu Themen Stimmen zu sammeln, um diese als Bündel darzustellen, so, daß sie als Masse Macht haben.

Die Aufrufe zur Abstimmung verbreiten sich viral, über Email und die typischen-Web2.0-Verteiler (facebook & Co.). Scheint zu funktionieren, denn der Aufforderung einer Freundin für den Schutz der aussterbenden Thunfische zu stimmen, bin ich sofort gefolgt. Hat ja nicht viel gekostet: nur ein paar Klicks = Demokratie mit minimalem Aufwand > besser als gar keine!

Ganz ähnlich funktioniert auch campact.de.