Perceptions are as old as human beings but managing the perceptions of who matter or of the people at large as a skill, seems to have been born, not more than a half a century back. It’s birth can be fixed somewhere around the Vietnam war and got concretized as a governmental policy just prior to the war in Iraq. Today, it is being used by one and all and is a critical component of our existence, whether we accept it or not. Perceptions can immensely be played around with is the thought and over a period of time it becomes a reality.
To hide the inconvenient truths, give half baked palatable information and exaggerate & extrapolate the truth is the backbone of this enterprise. The seminal definition on this topic comes from the US military which talks about conveying / denying select information to foreign audiences to influence their emotions & objective reasoning leading to behaviour favourable to them.
From a definition and thought it has been transformed into realistic discipline today with a business model and huge business opportunity to be grabbed.
Knowing the ideal position you want the people to hold is the key. Credibility based on consistency and using prejudices or expectations to increase credibility has to work in tandem. Centralised control of the propaganda machine and content is a must. A spokesperson who has the ideal blend of domain & communication and the understanding of the nature of mass media, its reach, is primordial to perception management. The oral word today becomes etched in stone, as the video clip is permanent and can be played endlessly.
ISIS has used this tool to the fullest to brainwash gullible people across the world to swell its cadres and remain committed to their death. This is a negative example, nonetheless, it manifests how potent it can be. In the clutter and the cacophony of the present day mass & social media every organisation has to make its presence felt in its favour.
TO COME OUT AS CREDIBLE BRAND IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT CAN SHOW THE WAY.