Brand, Public Relations and Terror
Propaganda and terrorism have always gone hand in hand. I recently finished a must-read book called “Branding Terror: The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations” which examines the brands of terrorists – and it is indeed quite fascinating. The book was written by a former United Nations counter-terrorism expert, and a creative director. It analyzes the branding of different terror organizations via the “symbolism, colors, and typography of its logo and flag.”
The press release for the book rightfully notes that “Terrorist groups are no different from other organizations in their use of branding to promote their ideas and to distinguish themselves from groups that share similar aims.”
Indeed, they all compete for money, attention and members. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most successful terrorist organizations including Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, have extensively worked to refine their brands through public relations and marketing efforts. As the book notes, “There is no question that Hezbollah’s logo was done by designers, and that they are using it as part of a sophisticated communications strategy.”
Hamas – like many other Palestinian Arab terror organizations – cares tremendously about public relations and media coverage. The group has established strong social programs – including educational facilities, health-care clinics and charities in the areas they control – and do so in order to ensure continued popular support. Their Al-Aqsa TV carries original programming and news and the organization is quite active on social media using a number of accounts – including on Twitter @hamasinfo, @hamasglobalpr and @AlqassamBrigade”Ž.
Hezbollah too is quite concerned about media coverage. They employ a high-profile head of media relations (Ibrahim Mousawi), and operate their own satellite TV station, Al Manar (which similarly is active on Twitter: @almanarnews).
To the best of the media’s current knowledge, Hezbollah and Hamas haven’t employed a worldwide public relations company to help them, as Syrian dictator and mass murderer Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad contracted Brown Lloyd James to work the media and polish their brand.
Indeed, brand matters in business and in terrorism.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, and author of “For Immediate Release.”