28 January 2011

It is about identity

"Nazi propaganda was ingenious enough to transform antisemitism into a principle of self-definition, and thus eliminate it from the fluctuations of mere opinion. The used the persuasion of mass demagogy only as a preparatory step and never overestimated its lasting influence, whether in oratory or in print. This gave the masses of atomized, undefinable, unstable and futile individuals a means of self-definition and identification which not only restored some of the self-respect they had formerly derived from their function in society, but also created a kind of spurious stablity which made them better candidates for an organization." (The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, 1994; page 356). 
Public relations, at least insofar as it addresses one's own people as audience, is not really about persuasion or even about narrative, it is about identity. So long as a value stays on the surface and doesn't enter into the definition of the person's identity, the public relations objectives will not be achieved. 

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