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Marketing Secrets for Truth Activists

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Truth activists have all the facts on our side, but how do we persuade people who stubbornly refuse to listen to those facts? I read a book recently which provides expert marketing and psychology advice for political activists1. This essay summarizes principles of persuasion for use by truth activists.

Those promoting a fascist agenda -- from those who coach political candidates to those who sell wars -- have long been using advanced marketing techniques and psychology to manipulate people.
We must understand these techniques in order to shield ourselves from manipulation.

In addition, using these tools in our work to protect our liberties, spread truth and promote justice will make us more effective.


3 Brains

The first thing to understand about persuasion is that every person actually has 3 brains. Top-notch communicators appeal to all 3 brains.

The 3 brains are:

(1) The reptilian brain, which focuses solely on survival, fight-or-flight, and getting away from pain.


(2) The mammalian brain, which handles emotions: love, indignation, compassion, envy, hope, etc.

(3) The human brain (neocortex), where we handle logic, abstract thought, words, symbols and time.

Most people incorrectly assume that if enough facts and logic are presented, people will believe the truth. In fact, psychologists, marketing experts and trial lawyers have found that facts are less persuasive for most people than emotions in reaching decisions.

Why?

The reptilian and monkey portions of our brain reach decisions based upon survival and emotion before the neocortex can make rational decisions. So facts alone won’t convince most people. Instead, stories, images and emotions are what sway most people.

For example, one political psychologist writes:
If you appeal primarily to people's reason without first getting them to feel the significance of the issue you're talking about, they're not going to be interested. From an evolutionary standpoint, our emotions play two major roles. One, our emotions appear to capture our attention, so if you don't make emotionally compelling arguments, if you don't use stories or examples to grab listeners, they won't hear important things you have to say. The other role of emotion, which is probably most crucial, is that emotions motivate us -- positive feelings pull us towards things that are generally good for us, and negative emotions move us away from things that are generally bad for us.
Framing

Associating an issue or person with an emotion is called “anchoring”.

Some words convey strong positive or negative emotions, and act as powerful anchor words. For example, Newt Gingrich pushed the following positive words for use by politicians (I have deleted the anchor words which are not appropriate to truth activism, such as "crusade"):
share... change... opportunity... legacy... challenge... control... truth... moral... courage... reform... prosperity... movement... children... family... debate... compete... active(ly)... we/us/our... candid(ly)... humane... pristine... provide...

liberty... commitment... principle(d)... unique... duty... precious... premise... care(ing)... tough... listen... learn... help... lead... vision... success... empower(ment)... citizen... activist... mobilize... conflict... light... dream... freedom...

peace... rights... pioneer... proud/pride... building... preserve... pro-(issue): flag, children, environment... reform... confident... incentive... hard work... initiative... common sense... passionate
Just using these words to describe one's position helps to persuade people towards that position. For example, for those who work to expose the fact that the 9/11 Commission did not provide a complete accounting of what happened on September 11, both "truth" and "activist" are positive anchor words, but "truther" doesn't appear on the list, and is not a good anchor. "9/11 truth activist" is a lot more powerful a phrase than "9/11 truther".

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George Washington


As a political activist for decades, I have rejoiced in victories for the people and mourned in defeats. I chose the pen name "George Washington" because - as Washington's biographies show - he wasn't a (more...)
 
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or trial lawyers have experience using these techn... by George Washington on Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 10:29:59 PM
The answer is "yes." Some of these techn... by Emily Spence on Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 9:44:26 AM
Nearly 15 years in media marketing here for the bi... by Cheri Roberts on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 10:14:13 AM