If Only I Could Meet Nancy Snow!

As I continue my studies, I feel like the day I meet Dr. Nancy Snow is coming closer! So I have to prepared. I have to know what I will say when I see her! (Maybe I should take a print out of this post and keep it in my pocket at all times)

00097586_medium1There are only a few scholars that I deeply respect even though don’t agree with them at all. Nancy Snow is one of them. (And I recently saw that she co-edited a book with another scholar that I deeply respect and don’t agree at all, Philip Taylor. For those interested, the book is called Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy). Anyhow, ever since I became interested in propaganda, public opinion and public diplomacy; I have gone through majority of Snow’s (and Taylor’s) works. So, here you go Dr.Snow:

– The hybrid nature of public diplomacy and propaganda outcomes and definitions makes it difficult in some circles to separate the two. (p.229)

No! Unacceptable. Let me go through a business example.  Is marketing the same thing with public relations? Of course, not. Propaganda and public diplomacy can be said to be the political counterparts of these terms respectively.

The following definitions are taken from Wikipedia.

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Propaganda the dissemination of information aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people.In marketing you have an “offering” which is targeted at the society, and in propaganda you have an “information”. Marketing tries to make people buy “goods and services” and propaganda “ideas”. The four P’s of marketing can be applied to Propaganda attempts. Let’s see our case of WWII.

jaxmuseumunclesamProduct: The “idea” that the propagandist is trying to sell. Here, Uncle Sam is selling “patriotism” during WWII.

Pricing: Nothing is free! When you choose to become a patriot, you are expected to invest your savings in war bonds.

Placement: In the WWII idea market, products were available everywhere. All you need to do is to pay the “price” adolf_hitler_hideki_tojo_propaganda_posterand start believing.

Promotion: The idea is promoted through posters, TV shows, movies, newspapers, political speeches even on the streets.

On the other hand, Public relations is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. Public diplomacy focuses on the ways in which a country (or multi-lateral organization such as the United Nations) communicates with citizens in other societies. In other words PR specialists have the role of the communication bridge between an organizatinon and its publics while PD specialists between a country/an international organization and its publics. At the end of the day, both stand for the information flow between an establishment and individuals.

PS: All the quotations from Nancy Snow are taken from

Snow, N. (2006). U.S. Public Diplomacy: Its History, Problems, and Promise. In Jowett, G. & O’Donnell, V. (2006). Readings in Propaganda and Persuasion. (pp. 225-241) London: Sage

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About Efe
I read and write about political communication stuff and I play with data to see what they have to say. I also love to cook.

2 Responses to If Only I Could Meet Nancy Snow!

  1. Nawiga says:

    Thank you very much for this article. It very interesting.

  2. Actually, Dr Snow is correct. There is a long history of the connection between Propaganda, Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising and any other term that you might like to use as a euphemism for propaganda. But that history has been cut up, chopped up and burned because of the negative impression of the word. Edward Bernays who was responsible for introducing the word “propaganda” to the US public during WWI did it with such conviction that the US public believed that the word and what it stood for was something evil, something the enemy forced upon the public. Once he realized how successful it was, he had to find a phrase that meant the same thing but wasn’t the word itself. That phrase was Public Relations. The remaining words are just synonyms and possibly words that were created with the same intention.

    Neither Bernays nor anyone else was ever able to reclaim propaganda to its neutral territory. I find it odd that you have been caught up and influenced by the propaganda of the word propaganda in the US, given that you are not a native to this country since i understand that most countries other than the US understand the word to be exactly what it is, including it’s various synonyms that cause people to be influenced in one way or another.

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