Thursday, 4 September 2014

Use enemies to develop a bond with your prospects

Effective marketing in a low-trust world means developing a bond with your prospects through your content marketing. One great way to do this is to share a perceived common enemy with your readers.
Dave from PR, who, along with his light-fingered chums in big finance has spent the last few years moving us towards a a big low-trust society, totally gets this.

But he could still take a few tips from Vladimir, who has a lifetime's experience of getting ahead and prospering among the managing elite of an even lower-trust polity. Vlad could probably give detailed lectures on how to in use a common enemy to bury bad news and persuade downtrodden members of your big society that they really are all in this together. Even an ex-public relations professional, tasked with fronting for City kleptocrats, voyeuristic spooks and corporate ├╝ber-scroungers could take cynicism lessons from the KGB's most famous alumnus.

You have to hand it to Putin - only a truly epic bullshitter could successfully bury a generations-deep pile of misery like this by taking his shirt off and blaming everything on foreigners:
In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality. By the mid-1990s, the average St. Petersburg man lived for seven fewer years than he did at the end of the Communist period; in Moscow, the dip was even greater, with death coming nearly eight years sooner...

...Russians did not start dying early and often after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “To the contrary,” writes Eberstadt, what is happening now is “merely the latest culmination of ominous trends that have been darkly evident on Russian soil for almost half a century.” With the exception of two brief periods—when Soviet Russia was ruled by Khrushchev and again when it was run by Gorbachev—death rates have been inexorably rising...

...Another major clue to the psychological nature of the Russian disease is the fact that the two brief breaks in the downward spiral coincided not with periods of greater prosperity but with periods, for lack of a more data-driven description, of greater hope. The Khrushchev era, with its post-Stalin political liberalization and intensive housing construction, inspired Russians to go on living. The Gorbachev period of glasnost and revival inspired them to have babies as well. The hope might have persisted after the Soviet Union collapsed—for a brief moment it seemed that this was when the truly glorious future would materialize—but the upheaval of the 1990s dashed it so quickly and so decisively that death and birth statistics appear to reflect nothing but despair during that decade.
The Dying Russians - Masha Gessen in the New York Review of Books blog

Look and learn, Dave. If Vlad can carry on belligerently distracting his people from such catastrophic amounts of existential despair until he retires, he'll probably go on to command even bigger fees than Tony Blair on the leadership guru lecture circuit.