31 Oct Why Real Story Trumps Propaganda Every Time.
Why real story trumps propaganda every time.
Loser’s first – this is what The Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University had to say about propaganda:
“It can be easy to conflate p.r with propaganda. Propaganda, however, traffics in lies, misinformation, inflammatory language, and other negative communications to achieve an objective related to a cause, goal, or political agenda. Regardless of how it is employed, these common techniques are used to manipulate others to act or respond in the way that the propagandist desires.
- Bandwagon – The public is invited to jump on the bandwagon and not be left out as the rest of society engages in what they perceive to be correct behaviour.
- Snob Appeal In order for this technique to be successful, propagandists have to first position themselves as having a product, idea, or opinion that is worthy of elite status.
- Vague Terms Propagandists will deliberately use vague terms meant to entice.
- Loaded Words Words have power and propagandists may use excessively positive words to sway opinion.
- Transfer Propagandists may attempt to associate two unrelated concepts in an effort to push what they’re selling to the public.
- Unreliable Testimonial From celebrities and other people without any personal experience of the product. People put their faith in the testimonial rather than judging the idea, or company on its own merits.”
Both P.R and propagandists follow the same basic principle – Create a story, or follow the story.
We typically see this in the estate agency sector.
There’s a story on the difficulties experienced by Countrywide, or PurpleBricks, or Foxtons, and the P.R gurus give us their opinion, whether asked for or not. Follow the story.
I describe them as media tarts – whichever their gender.
Create a story, though, the other tool at the disposal of p.r agencies, doesn’t go nearly deep enough.
With most p.r, its loud attention seeking stories that are distributed. Higher column inches being the metric of success.
“We’ve had our clients featured in these publication” being the typical claim of these media tarts.
Every story showing the client in a positive light.
And that’s the problem with p.r.
It bathes the client in such a positive light that it often comes across as insincere at best, oft times fake.
People and companies aren’t like that.
We have flaws, we make mistakes and trying to ‘spin’ another version of that truth isn’t a road many seek to discover. Keeping it under wraps is the usual response, not by giving the story an altogether different slant.
And those column inches? Do they really cause engagement? Or is attention, simply enough for those poor souls flattered by their five minutes of fame ?
Real story trumps propaganda and here’s why.
Estate agency starts with a negative reputation. That’s been the case for many a long year and, by association, even the best agents are tarred with the same brush.
So no matter what spin the p.r gurus put on the story they create, the public perception isn’t going to change. Not for the sector as a whole and certainly not for the individual agency that subscribes to those common propaganda techniques mentioned earlier.
“Join us, the biggest estate agency in the world.” Bandwagon
” The best estate agency training in the world.” Snob appeal
“I’ve looked at other opportunities and this was the best.” Unreliable testimonial
However you spin it, there’s very little substance to the p.r story.
A real story has a framework.
Plots, twists and turns. Tragedy, comedy, uncertainty. The full gamut of life.
It’s not just something that happened, it’s the tensions between potential & failure, between frustration & success.
That is what creates emotion.
And when you create emotion, vendors feel something.
That’s the key to a great story. And the key to building an audience around what you have to say.
“Make me care.” – Andrew Stanton. Film Director, screenwriter.
For estate agents, incorporating story into your marketing mix is the best thing you can do.
Done well, it will build relationships that endure and, for your sales team, ‘selling’ will become a thing of the past.
Propaganda is for the agents that want everything now. That want to brag and to manipulate.
They have a story to tell, we all do, but that’s not the story the vendor is going to hear. They think it not interesting enough and so they hustle for their worth. Selling confusion.
Oblivious to the fact that every syllable that comes out of their mouth further cements their reputation as an industry of beggars.
To change the public perception, estate agents need story. They need an origin story to nurture their personal brand. They need to demonstrate values, beliefs & convictions. They need to connect and to build relationships.
The last thing they need is propaganda, in any of its incarnations.
Thanks, as always, for reading.