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How Are Marketing And Advertising Transformed In Times Of Conflict?

Believe it or not, marketing and advertising are decisive phenomena in times of war, both for better and for worse.

And it is that communication, advertising and propaganda have the power of the media to guide public opinion.

So much so, that the role of a marketer was defined at the beginning of the Second World War.

Joseph Goebbels, an expert publicist, and possessor of extensive knowledge of propaganda and mass control was the promoter of the initiatives that made the Germans adopt the ideology that gave rise to the World War II.
Although Goebbels was really a German politician, he came to hold the position of Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Third Reich between 1933 and 1945, due to his ease with words and persuasion.


Goebbels was in charge of Adolf Hitler's propaganda actions and unified all media under one political regime.


His words persuaded the German people to support the Führer in his ruthless military strategy based on the right to control elites, which ended up triggering the world conflict.
But what were Goebbels's actions?

Joseph Goebbels was the promoter of numerous propaganda and communication actions. For example:

  • He developed the Volksempfänger (people's receiver). He arranged for a low-cost radio service so that all of Germany would have Führer's speeches.
  • He placed loudspeakers in public spaces for news broadcasts only from German stations.
  • It prohibited access to the foreign press and censored content.
  • He combined Hitler's speeches with radio entertainment programs so that the people were educating themselves while enjoying their favorite spaces
  • Included Nazism as a patriotic theme in the arts (music, painting, theater)
  • Manipulated through communication strategies, propaganda and advertising driven by hate and racial discrimination

Although negative, this is an example of how far the use of advertising, marketing and communication can go in times of conflict, guiding crowds and transforming public opinion.

Today's Marketing Transformation

More than seventy years after the end of World War II, humanity is facing another period of conflict, in which advertising, marketing and the media continue to play powerful and decisive roles.

In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, for example, the media and advertising have guided opinions, often manipulating information using sentiment and concern.

Given this, many marketers around the world have joined the request that brands only get involved with a purpose. Actions are sought, not publicity or notices, they have said.

The example of Airbnb, which publicized the offer of 100,000 spaces for refugees in Poland, has also been highlighted.

Another example is Tesla’s owner, Elon Musk, who shared the internet for free in the conflict zone so that those affected can maintain communication.

The commitment of many brands, some local and others more recognized, in the hardest times of the Covid 19 pandemic has even been mentioned. For example, the hotel sector in Madrid, in Spain, offered its free facilities for the doctors who worked on the red line.

Nike also appealed to citizen responsibility to comply with sanitary measures and Mercado Libre changed its logo in a call for social distancing.

We can summarize that at present and during the different crises that the world is facing, Marketing actions are aimed at:

  • Strengthen communication: Communication based on sensitivity is extremely necessary for current marketing strategies, always trying to call for social responsibility.

  • Bet on Digital Marketing actions. According to data, the consumption of news and Internet advertising has increased by more than 80 percent. This demonstrates the great business opportunities in the spectrum of mailing campaigns or social networks, we can easily interact with our target audience.

  • Prioritize customer service. Raising the user experience to a higher level is vital in these times, connecting with the needs and requirements of the target customer to offer what our audience really needs and wants.

  • Adapt to changes. Given the crisis that the world is facing, companies need to adapt to the context and choose services that are appropriate to the environment in which they operate.

  • Take current marketing trends as a base. Prioritizing social marketing, green marketing, neuromarketing, among other current trends, will help brands to do their bit in confronting the global crises we are currently experiencing.
POSTED ON MARCH 26, 2022
BY: ELIZABETH ALMEIDA