Basics of Information Warfare for Business Marketing

Translation of Tommi Hermunen‘s blog post Informaatiosodank√§ynnin perusteet on the Digitalist Network website on August 5, 2014.

The believers on the digital are, if not delusional, then at least misguided.
“Internet makes decision making easy. You can find objective views about a hotel, a restaurant or a movie.”

Claim #1: People are not objective. Not even when they have all the possible information.

The web has so much info that you can’t take it all in. That is why you make up your truth using only a small fraction of what you see.

We are being manipulated. The information I see is different from what you see. The same product has a different price for you than for your neighbor. We are forced to create different truths of the world because we receive different sets of information.

The most dangerous thing for forming the truth is that the internet is a trend and craze machine. It has become impossible to fathom the scales on which the fads happen.

Claim #2: The victor in information war is the one whose truth prevails.

In the same way as countries wage war with their propaganda, each comment, text and upload you post is competing for attention and acceptance. You may not feel like calling this competition “war”, but the same rules apply.

We google to find the information that won the fight. The public opinion has changed, because the message was received – as intended or by accident.

You could think that a country with a nuclear weapon, and no neighbors with any, had no need for propaganda. What does Israel need 400 social media soldiers for?

Claim #3: The truth on the internet is unfair.

The role of ethos on the web is diminished. Anyone can participate in the discussion and the message is merited more on cleverness than expertise. Thumb-ups on the Facebook or TripAdvisor scores may not be impartial.

The web is a battleground for truth. A text having referenced sources doesn’t automatically make it true. It may, however, be enough for the masses – especially the impatient users of social media.

In this environment a brand name is not treated fairly. The relation between the brand and the customer has the same imbalance as there is between Russia and the western media in the Ukrainian crisis. One is guided by a set of rules, the other is not.

The web is the weapon of mass destruction of today. Live with it.

Simply put: Things we have no personal experience on are made true by the web. Everyone creates their own truth with the information available. And information is created and shared by people whose motives you probably don’t know.

How can a brand succeed in its marketing and get its message across in an environment so chaotic and sometimes hostile?
Communicate a lot. Communicate honestly. And hire pros.


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