propaganda model of communication


In a broad sense, propaganda is understood as the spread of political, philosophical, scientific, artistic and other views and ideas with the aim of introducing them into public consciousness and activating mass practical activity (from Lat. Propaganda – subject to dissemination). As in any human activity, the subject and object of propaganda, as well as the content, forms and methods, means and channels of distribution are distinguished here.

In a narrower sense, propaganda is seen as the dissemination of views and ideas, which aims to form a certain worldview and induce certain actions. Thus, propaganda used for marketing purposes closely resembles advertising in its meaning. The difference is that the so-called propaganda communication must precede the advertising communication and prepare its basis.

In world practice, propaganda communications are understood as communications designed to form an image, idea, concept, aimed at solving marketing or political problems. We’ll talk about marketing goals and propaganda goals.

So, if, when solving marketing problems, you turn to propaganda, then you set specific marketing goals for the propaganda specialists. For example, to convince consumers that the consumption of product X is a useful and pleasant pastime inherent in people with good incomes and to raise the image and market share of product X among similar products. Based on this, the tasks of propaganda are determined:

– prepare articles about the product and place them in major newspapers and magazines;

– to prepare articles on the useful properties of the product;

– develop a dedicated promotional campaign for different target audiences.

Communication and its parameters

Communication in modern literature is defined either as an action (as a one-way process of transmitting signals without feedback), or as a process of interaction (a two-way process of exchanging information), or as a communicative process in which communicators continuously and alternately act as a recipient and a source of information.

In accordance with the points of view presented in the scientific literature, different communication models appear on the basis of different tasks facing the researcher. Researchers divide them according to different parameters:

  • sociological;
  • psychological;
  • semiotic.

Communication models according to G. G. Pocheptsov

In accordance with the approach of G.G. Pocheptsov, communication models are distinguished:

  • psychological and sociological models of communication;
  • communication model in terms of PR, propaganda and advertising;
  • semiotic models of communication – in sociology and psychology there were various models of communication. Communication analysis is carried out actively based on their modern approaches;
  • models of image communication;
  • models of mythological communication;
  • models of psychotherapeutic communication;
  • models of propaganda communication;
  • models of arguing communication.

Communication model according to F.I.Sharkov

The approach is based on the classical positivist methodology of subject-object dispositions. This model is represented by the concepts of a systems approach, structural functionalism, computer futurology, technological determinism, information society, etc. Social communications in this approach are based on system functions and connections. Communicative technologies set themselves the task of constructing the necessary image of the subject and certain social connections in the system. This model can be compared with the principles of classical cybernetics, which presuppose strict control over the activities of the system, while excluding all unnecessary elements and interconnections.

The propaganda specialist must pay great attention to the media. Since not every piece of material may be interesting to a journalist of a particular media outlet, personal acquaintances of a specialist with journalists and editors (for example, in a situation where such a specialist is a former journalist) can do a good job. As practitioners note, editors are a market that needs to be satisfied in order for editors to continue to use your propaganda materials.

Often the need for propaganda arises when creating a new product. In most cases, the consumer is conservative, that is, he is tuned in to meet the need in the old, familiar way, even if this method is less effective. Therefore, in order to form a consumer mindset for the use of a new product, a certain scheme for bringing the product to the market is used. First, a logical conviction is formed in the need for a new product, then the image of the product is associated with a specific seller (trade mark).

In this case, propaganda communication consists of the following elements: training – the formation of the idea of ​​dependence – the belief in the superiority of the idea.

The main task is to create consumer confidence. Propaganda communication should not be intrusive and resemble advertising. At the same time, traditional distribution channels are chosen for it – radio, television, press. It is effective to use the opinions of famous people, as well as the placement of propaganda in films and literary works (what is called product plasement in advertising).

Various methods can be used to assess the effectiveness of advocacy. At the same time, it is important that propaganda as such is measured, that is, the effectiveness can be measured only when it was used before the use of other incentives. In this case, methods such as

– measuring the number of contacts with material posted in the media;

– measurements of changes in the levels of awareness of the product, understanding of the essence of the product and attitude towards it;

– measuring the impact on sales and profit levels

Modern communication models

All communication models can be classified according to form, content, functions, tasks and goals. To date, several communication models have practical application in integrative systems.

Authoritarian model – this model is based on strict administrative and managerial control over the activities of the media and the maximum restriction of freedom of information. This model is described by researchers D. McQuail and W. Schramm.

Bilateral asymmetric model – this model includes feedback, while maintaining the communicator’s power over communication, which forms an asymmetry of a certain kind. The two-sided asymmetric model is one of four models proposed by T. Hunt and J. Gruing, which appeared in the 1920s. XX century

Two-way symmetric model – in this model, symmetry is formed through a balanced relationship between the sender and recipient of messages. Appeared in the 60-70s. XX century, described by T. Hunt and J. Gruing.

Non-classical methodology – based on the cognitive model of subject-object relations in relation to the object. J. Habermas, a German philosopher, author of this methodology, preferred the postulates of positive science in the study and analysis of social subjects. He called interpersonal communication (“interaction”) as a tool for realizing the practical interests of a person as a way of liberation, emancipation from various kinds of influences (politics, economics, etc.) and coercion. Yu. Habermas distinguishes between “true” communications and “false” communications, substantiates the “technical rationality” of the transposition of technical methods and means into interpersonal communications.

Post-non-classical approach the nature of the social is reduced to subject-subject relations, while excluding objectivity. Society in accordance with this approach is considered as a network of communications, and communications are characterized by the possibility of self-description of society and its self-reproduction (the principles of autopoiesis and self-referencing N. Luhmann). Communication in this case acts as an active self-organizing environment, where the simplest social and communicative systems are established by mutual coordination of the experiences and actions of the participants in the communication. Society encompasses all the actions achieved to relate to each other in the process of communication. The action is perceived as a genuine element of the social system, which is perceived and produced in it in correlation (communication) with other actions-events.

Without dwelling on all the models in detail, we will consider the most famous models.

Aristotle’s model

Aristotle identified three components in the communication process: “Orator – Speech – Audience”. In the version of modern processing, the model looks like this: “Communicator – Message – Communicant”.

Oratory is put in the foreground in oral speech. However, it should be noted that at the time of Aristotle, the speech of orators was intended not only for pronunciation, but also for reading. Aristotle mentions this in the work “Rhetoric” (Book 3, Ch. 12), emphasizing the self-sufficiency of written speech.

Thus, the presented model is universal: it describes the communicative act in oral and written forms. 

The elements “Speaker – Speech – Listener”, albeit in a slightly modified form, are also present in subsequent models. The Greek art of rhetoric remained virtually unchanged until the 20th century. Only with the development of mass communications through television, cinema, radio, and under the influence of the need to improve communication methods, the classical model has undergone changes.

Lasswell model 

 In 1948, G. Lasswell, an American scientist, proposed his own model of communication, which became the classic model in the sociology of mass communication. G. Lasswell’s formula is not only a model reflecting the structure of the communication process, but also a model for studying this process, its individual elements and structure.

Table 1 – Formula G. Lasswell

Who is reporting? CommunicatorControl analysis
What?Message (information)Content analysis
Who?Communicant (audience) Audience analysis
Which channel? Transmission channel Analysis of funds and channels
What is the effect? FeedbackAnalysis of the result

According to this structure, G. Lasswell defined a number of sections of the study of communication, each of which gives an answer to the corresponding question posed:

analysis of the management of mass communication processes – the answer to the question “who?” considers the factors that open and direct the very act of communication (this is the communicator itself in the first place);

analysis of the content of transmitted messages – this includes a statistical analysis of the number of mentions of one or another factor and events in the media;

analysis of the means and channels through which messages are transmitted (for mass communication, this is an analysis of the work of the mass media themselves);

analysis of the audience (specialized, mass), which is vital for effective communication; sociological services are involved in solving this problem, the analysis results of which are used by professional broadcasting corporations, advertisers, etc .;

analysis of the results (“effect”) of the communication impact, for the sake of convenience is often combined with the section “audience analysis”; since G. Lasswell’s research related to the activities of the media, their impact on the audience was primarily studied; the effectiveness of communication as a whole was assessed on the basis of the emergence of interest in the message or the absence of this interest.

G. Lasswell’s model as one of the leading paradigms of theoretical understanding of communication has received wide recognition. This is due to its successful formulation, which makes it possible to include not only theoretical provisions, but also a large amount of empirical data.

In 1968, H. Lasswell developed a more detailed version of his communication model. This model also involves the analysis of the communication process by answering a number of questions:

  • “Who?”;
  • “in what situation?”;
  • “with what intention?”;
  • “using which strategy?”;
  • “with what resources?”;
  • “with what result?”;
  • “influences which audience?”

This model reflects the behaviorist approach to communication, which consists in the simple influence of the communicator on the recipient, which is an object that somehow reacts to the received information.

Table 2 – G. Lasswell’s communication model

WHO? This question is associated with the establishment of the source of information, which may not coincide with the communicator who directly transmits it (these can be either different persons or one person). This must be determined in order to establish the correct answer to the next question.
IN WHAT SITUATION?The answer to this question is related to identifying in which situation – favorable, neutral or unfavorable – the communicative act is realized. At the same time, it is necessary to establish the presence of artificial and natural barriers between the audience and the communicator, which hinder the delivery of the necessary information to the addressee, and try to minimize the level of their influence.
WITH WHAT INTENTION? This question is key. Only after determining the true goal of communication, one can think about the selection of the means necessary for this goal (channel, message, communicator), about choosing the target audience, etc. The correct understanding of the goal (instructing, informing or motivating the audience) is a determining element in the selection of other components of communication in order to ensure its effectiveness.
USING WHICH STRATEGY?The answer to this question will help you choose the right strategy, and as a result, provide the most effective way to achieve the goal (in our case, effective communication). The strategy is not only the definition of promising goals, but also the selection of rational ways and means of achieving them. The communication strategy is primarily determined by the availability of resources, audience characteristics, and the nature of the goal. When choosing the optimal strategy, they are guided by the solution of a number of tasks: providing effective, fast and reliable feedback; providing as complete information as possible. There are times when, due to the lack of the necessary elements, you have to abandon a perfectly developed strategy.
WITH WHAT RESOURCES?Answering this question, it is necessary to understand that communication resources include both the specialists – communicators, and the financial and information resources that they have, as well as effective communication technologies, techniques, methods, etc.
WHAT IS THE RESULT?In answering this question, we mean an assessment of the total efforts of the participants in the communication process. Communication is effective if the goals are achieved in a timely manner and at the lowest cost. Communicative efficiency is due to a change in knowledge and attitudes, beliefs or behavior of the recipient of the information.
TO WHAT AUDIENCE?This question is related to the choice of the communication audience, i.e. those to whom messages are addressed. Effective communication is associated with the correct choice of audience (mass, specialized, individuals). The search for “one’s own” audience and the ability to select appropriate means and methods of communicative influence for it require high professionalism and mastery of the methods and techniques of specific social research.

The formula of the communicative process by G. Lasswell is both a model for the study of the communicative process and a detailed plan of communicative action. At the same time, this model has a significant drawback – it is monologic, the model does not include feedback, thanks to which communication is considered not unidirectionally and not “by itself”, but as a two-way process and in its relation to political, economic, cultural, social and a different context. This is important for mass communication, first of all, in crisis situations in the life of society, which actualize the results of media activity and its interpretation in the mass consciousness of the public.

Behavioral model 

John B. Watson (1878-1958), the founder of behaviorism, placed at the basis of communication not language as a system, a structure, but speech signals, the manipulation of which provides an opportunity to influence the individual. He compared personality behavior to the system of hidden and visible reactions in the stimulus-response model. Supporters of behaviorism in a radical form reduced all social processes and phenomena to interactivity between stimuli that affect a person and reactions to these influences. The consolidation of reactions, in accordance with their theory, obeys the “law of exercise,” according to which the frequent repetition of the same reactions in response to the same stimuli automates these reactions.

Shannon – Weaver model

K. Shannon and W. Weaver in 1949. developed a mathematical theory of communication. This theory was originally developed in order to separate background noise from the useful information that is transmitted by the source. Overcoming noise, according to Shannon, can be achieved through the use of redundancy of signals (repetition of parts of the message in order to prevent communication failure).

Redundancy in communication, according to K. Shannon, can be achieved by repeated repetition of information, or its duplication using other communication channels. Thus, a model of two – or multi – channel communication appears. The advantage of this model is that with its emergence, an idea of ​​the amount and speed of transmitted information appeared. The Shannon – Weaver model, however, has a number of limitations:

  • abstraction from the essence of the transmitted information (all attention is paid only to its amount);
  • mechanism (mainly reflects technical methods of communication, and the individual is included in it only as a “source” or “receiver” of information);
  • lack of feedback, unidirectional linear nature of the communicative process.

Circular (cyclical) communication model 

It was proposed in the works of C. Osgood and W. Schramm.

W. Schramm believed that communication cannot be viewed as a linear interaction, since it is a cyclical process, and in the process of communication its participants (recipient and source) periodically change places. Communication, therefore, is defined as a two-way communication process, when both the recipient of information and the sender to the same extent interact with each other, exchanging signals (messages), as a result of which communication is transformed into a dialogue. The actual “feedback” mechanism makes the communication process more efficient.

Two-channel model of speech communication 

Developed by V.P. Morozov, a Russian psychologist, in which communication is shown as a two-channel system, but not in the technological, but in the psychological sense. VP Morozov presents communication as a two-channel process, which consists of speech linguistic, verbal and extralinguistic non-verbal channels.

This theory is based on Shannon’s scheme, according to which each communication system is the interaction of a number of main parts:

  • source of information – a person who transmits information;
  • signal – broadcasts information in an encoded form;
  • listener or receiver – has the skill to decode information.

This model took into account the role of the functional asymmetry of the human brain, which is the physiological basis for the independence of the non-verbal function of speech from the verbal one.

Two-stage communication model

Studies of the role of the media have revealed that after two weeks the influence of the message received does not decrease, but, quite the contrary, will melt away. This situation is due to the discussion of information and messages by recipients with those who are called “opinion leaders”. So, from a one-stage communication model (media – recipients) a two-stage model appears (media – opinion leaders – recipients). If in the first model the main condition is the transfer of information, then in the second the process of transfer of influence comes into play. Hence, it follows that interpersonal communication is superior to mass communication when trying to convince the audience.

Reliance on “opinion leaders” is a reliance on communicative and social networks that already exist in this segment of society, which is more effective than the formation of some new networks.

The Silence / Silence Spiral Theory

 The Silence / Silence Spiral was developed by E. Noelle-Neumann. According to this theory, the mass media can manipulate public opinion by passing the word to the minority instead of the majority.

According to her hypothesis, a person who feels himself in a minority does not express his opinion, thereby becoming part of the majority. When the mass media correct the picture of the real distribution, making the majority a minority, it falls silent. Thus, in mass communication, only one side is presented. The other side closes in on itself. 

The function of public opinion is formed in social control. The result of the fact that the individual does not want to find himself in isolation is that he either moves to the position of the majority, or is silent. This area also includes the phenomenon of “joining the winner” noted by many scientists during voting.

 E. Noelle-Neumann writes: “Twice I had to observe the ‘last minute shift’, the pressure of public opinion, which brought the candidate an additional 3-4% of the vote. Lazarsfeld, witnessing this phenomenon, back in 1940, during the election of the American president, called his “orchestral carriage effect” followed by others. According to the generally accepted explanation, everyone wants to be with a winner, to be considered a winner, too. ” 

The basis of this phenomenon is considered to be the fear of a person who is, by nature, a social being, and does not want to be alone in isolation.


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