Rob Sentse: Influence Operations within Multinatinal Operations — Market Your “Product” Don’t Just Shove It Down Their Throats with Air Strikes and Night Raids

Advanced Cyber/IO
Rob Sentse
Rob Sentse

Influence behaviour. Market your product.

Know the human environment as operations are predominantly conducted in urbanized terrain.

Understanding the environment is fundamental in either conducting operations and analyzing any threat.

Performing operations from a marketing perspective means that you have to:

Review of the operational environment.

Try to analyze a country as you would analyze an organization.

Study the countries’ inhabitants at every level, opponents at every level and the overall economic, political, cultural and technical environment; covering developing trends, as well as the current situation.

What do the people want and why do they want that?

Review of the detailed marketing activity. Relate objectives, desired effects and end state to the marketing mix.

1. Price – Which material and immaterial price do “we” want to pay.

If we want to execute an effective campaign to influence behaviour we need enough “boots” on the ground. A mix of NGO, IO (inter)national police, (inter)national military and (inter)national governmental representatives. Until now it impossible to wage a proper Influence campaign. Troops, international organisations and non-governmental
organisations on the ground are usually very limited and even lack combined and comprehensive operations. Limiting the use of force to military strikes is judged to be among
the worst ways to Influence behaviour.

2. Product – What do “you”/“they” want, Why do “you”/“they” want that.

3. Promotion – How to blend into the mindset of “them”.

4. Placement – acknowledge what “they” want.

5. People – Who are “they”. How can “we” include “them”. The emotions, feelings, experiences, coping skills of the people.

Nearly all programs completely lack a comprehensive psychological-social approach towards the population. Until now there is no awareness, recognition nor  acknowledgement that war thorn countries exists of a traumatized population, possibly the sole item that the population share mutually. Because of this the population is hindering there own progress. Within the population there is an experience of being a perpetrator, victim or spectator (sometimes these three elements are united in one person). It would be wise to integrate psychological-social care program within all processes.

6. Physical environment – The ambiance, mood, or tone of the environment.

7. Psychological environment – Well being, interpersonal and intrapersonal balance.

8. Process – How do “they” obtain “their” objectives. How do we implement “our” objectives into the loop of “theirs” and Why should “we” want to do that.

9. Packaging – How can the “product” be “reached”, “consolidated”.

Are the current marketing objectives and strategies compliant with the desired end state? you fight for the approval of the client. So, you fight fair, your competition fights
‘unfair’ and uses ‘dirty’ tricks Be aware that your clients can also be your supplier, but also your competitor. After all, your competitor of yesterday, could be your client of

One of the challenges for governments is to perform operations from an Influence Operations perspective.

So, why don’t governments go for the obvious solution and create a comprehensive approach?

The answer can be that governments and their politicians live in a 2-6 year voting cycles; they want answers immediately to fuel their objectives.

It is possible to get in control by providing superior service, products, marketing (presence, posture, profile) at a reasonable cost anytime, all the time. Relate this to,
for instance, UN operations.

For instance, perform integrated patrols, the effect will be that the local population sees an integrated UN which is able to show a UNITED face and to react more adequate. For that it is important not to force your client.

Instead of that, persuade him, influence his perception, give him choices. In order to not let your competitor define your actions you have to maintain the initiative and get
his best people to join you.

The challenge is to give the market confirmation, via their own opinion leaders, that his choice is right/wrong (peer pressure!).

By such a comprehensive approach you will be able to win the hearts and minds of the population and by that you will create commitment for the cause.

Why do the population need to experience a United approach?

How will the population experience a United approach?

How to influence the behaviour of all stake holders, the local population included, with a comprehensive approach?

Which conditions must be present or realized to achieve a coordinated and synchronized comprehensive approach?

Why should the “local/governmental face” be at front when (reconstruction) activities take place?

So, be present in the market all the time, everywhere.

Understand your clients and synchronize your strategy accordingly.

Avoid misinterpretation and not changing fast enough because otherwise you will lose your best people to your competition.

Do not think that you have to defeat people to “win”.

PDF (3 Pages): Influence behaviour. Market your product