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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Analysis: 5 Branding Techniques To Achieve Middle East Peace


1. Name & Positioning 

In branding, you use a name and positioning to establish a unique space for the product or service in the customer's mind, and to ensure that your product will be the first thing the customer thinks of when they're ready to act.

"Middle East peace" is obviously a great name because it intuitively appeals to people and is actually a long-held yet frustrated goal.

As we know, it is impossible to generate a solution from within a problem. Using "Middle East peace" as the brand avoids pitting Israel against Palestinians, or Jews against Muslims, East against West, etc. It is only about the choice of creating peace or living in perpetual war.

Everybody can agree on this. How would you describe it? What is it's "position?" Well, "it's like being able to wake up in the morning, except you're not afraid that someone will blow your head off in the street or stab you to death."

2. Relevance

In branding, you want to show how your product or service is both important to the customer and better than any other choice the customer already has. This is sort of like positioning, except you are explicitly placing a higher value on your product or service.

If "Middle East peace" is the brand, the competition can obviously be articulated as "Middle East conflict." But that would be too simple. The real "alternatives" are essentially:
  • Religion - whether that "holy war" be the property of the Israelis or the Palestinians.
  • Ideology - "Zionism" or "Palestinian Liberation" and their spinoffs, e.g. the BDS (Boycott/Divestiture/Sanctions) movement.
  • "International Law" - which is used as a sword with which to advance the grievances of both sides.
Of course, religion, ideology and international law all matter. But from a branding point of view it can and should be argued that the larger product, which is peace, is a more viable and valuable alternative and needs to be established as having a higher value than either holy war or international law.

The most obvious way to do this is to argue that peace is the foundation upon which all other societal structures are built. Humanity cannot exist in an orderly form otherwise.

3. Vision, Mission and Values

Every decent brand has three things: a vision statement, which articulates the abstract goal it strives for; a mission statement, which states how it plans to get there, and values, which provide the infrastructure for behaviors that support the mission.

In the case of branding Middle East peace, the vision can be encapsulated as "optimal living conditions characterized by the absence of armed conflict." With respect to convincing people of this vision, it can be argued that "saving lives" is a value that unites humanity across religions.

The mission in support of this vision is to do things that save lives.

The values associated with peace include: tolerance, sustainability, compassion, and even justice. It is just both to save lives and to increase quality of life across the board.

4. Audience Research & Segmentation

In branding it is important to establish who you're talking to and what motivates them. When it comes to "Middle East peace" as a brand, we are obviously talking to very different kinds of people at the same time.

Here are three major audience segments that need convincing:

  • Western-educated, progressive liberals
  • Radical Islamic terrorists 
  • Fundamentalist Jews 

One of the mistakes people make when it comes to segmentation is to judge their audience in a positive or negative manner, when the goal is simply to understand the way they think.

Another is to forget to segment the audience, and to talk to one party just the same as you would talk to the other.

Focus on the other party, and you're more likely to succeed at convincing them.

This isn't very complicated: Find out what triggers or motivates the audience and then talk to that. There are several major themes here:




  • Respect
  • Security
  • Access to holy sites
  • Sustainability
  • Money
For example, why would a radical Islamic terrorist be interested in peace? Maybe because they won't get any money if they continue funneling foreign aid to terror tunnels.

How about fundamentalist Jews? Because the international community won't support any stance that fails to adequately consider the long-term sustainability of both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples.

5. Mirroring & Motivation

In communication it is well known that when you want to convince someone of something, you would do well to dress like them and talk like them.

In the context of Middle East peace, it is important not only to tailor one's message and language to the audience, but also to customize the method of delivery appropriately.

If you're talking to religious Jews for example, send someone who knows not only policy but halacha (Jewish law).

If you're talking to a Palestinian in Gaza, send someone in respectful (e.g. covered-up) dress who is familiar with the ways in which Palestinians experience life today, including stark poverty, indoctrination, drastic social presand implicit and explicit threats for any sort of "collaboration" with Israel.

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All opinions are the author's own.