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[Nettime-nl] Corporate Counterstrategies
Eveline Lubbers on 20 Dec 2000 11:57:02 -0000

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[Nettime-nl] Corporate Counterstrategies

Tactical Tools vs. Corporate Counterstrategies 
a reference guide for campaigners. 

Book proposal by Eveline Lubbers
Last changed in November 2000

ik ben een boek aan het maken, dat in 
het engels moet verschijnen, herfst 2001
(zie intro hieronder, de URL hierboven)

Nu zoek ik voor de hoofdstukken die niet
-echt- in het Engels worden geschreven,
native-speakers die door Nederlanders
geschreven stukken kunnen anglifiseren,
en voor een paar stukken nog een vertaler,
ook liefst native.
Het werk moet in feb/mrt gebeuren en er
komt wel wat geld, voor symbolische vergoedingen
(vergeleken bij echte vertaaltarieven)
maar pas als het boek uit is. CommonCourage
Press geeft het uit in de US, met UK en AU
ben in nog in onderhandeling (c.q. aan het wachten)

Wie heeft er zin, of weet er iemand?

               Losing control in the media arena as a result of activist pressure has become a public relations nightmare for
               the modern multinational enterprise. Shell's Brent Spar fiasco is one well-known example, the Oil Major was
               taken by complete surprise when the Greenpeace campaign against sinking that former drill platform achieved
               its goals. Monsanto's gross underestimation of the European resistance against the introduction of genetically
               engineered products now universally known as Frankenstein Food is another.

               Today corporate identity determines the value of the company, over its actual products or services. The more
               companies shift to being all about brand meaning and brand image, the more vulnerable they are to attacks on
               the image. At the same time, corporations are becoming as powerful as governments - and have to expect to be
               treated as such. People demand accountability and transparency. It's not so much about buying the company's
               products, but whether their policies are going to be subject to the will of the citizens.

               The telecommunication revolution provides an entirely new battlefield strengthening the position of pressure
               groups - at least temporarily. There has been a shift in the balance of power with activists no longer entirely
               dependent on the existing media. This proved very useful recently, both in organizing gatherings such as the
               Battle of Seattle and in reaching new audiences. "Their agile use of global tools such as the Internet reduces
               the advantage that corporate budgets once provided," a PR-consultant had to conclude with regret. But some
               corporations learn fast, incorporating strategies developed by their critics not only on the Internet but also in the
               old media and, of course, in real life. 

               Tactical Tools vs. Corporate Counterstrategies is a twenty-five-chapter book revealing how corporate giants
               attempt to control their "enemies". Composed by Eveline Lubbers, with contributions from eight countries
               exposing corporate counterstrategies used by multinational corporations to squelch grassroots opposition to
               their business practices, this book is a compendium of useful information for the activist. 

               Understanding corporate counter strategies can help any kind of pressure group recognise manipulative
               strategies and organise effectively against them. Although the tactics and strategies applied in European
               countries might differ from those in the United States or elsewhere in the world, grassroots movements - from
               NGO to NIMBY-group, concerned citizen to radical reformers - must become aware of the fact that they could
               be the next target. 

               The best way to take action against these major powers is to first unravel the corporate counterstrategies and
               then expose them to the public. Only by spreading the word and by sharing information can the effects of these
               tactics be diminished. A full understanding of the weak spots can only be found by exploring the big picture.
               The awareness of the mere existence of counterstrategies should make people more conscious - without driving
               them into complete paranoia.

               The origins of this book can be traced back to the Next 5 Minutes conference held in Amsterdam, March 1999.
               I brought together various involved specialists to discuss Corporate Counterstrategies. An hour-long panel
               revealed for the first time the range and insidious nature of some of the tactics used by corporations in their fight
               to control the media and consumers. At a meeting afterwards I introduced the idea to compose a practical
               guide on the subject. Since then, through a dedicated mailing list and website, the idea has grown into the book
               described here. 

               Part One of this book presents eighteen recent case studies which analyze a wide range of Corporate
               Counterstrategies. These strategies vary from relatively innocent PR measures to complete intelligence
               operations. Shell Oil, attempting to rebuild their image "favouring openness and responsibility" drove the
               greenwash concept just one step too far by claiming their newest petrol, Pura, is good for the environment. This
               book goes beyond the story of how McDonald's got tangled up in a lawsuit after suing London activists for libel
               and describes the not so well publicized case of censorship with Chiquita crushing the research journalism of a
               small American newspaper. The power of the PR companies in designing corporate counterstratagies can
               hardly be over emphasized. This book dedicates several chapters to the tangles of the reputation managers. A
               special chapter is included about the joint forces behind the scenes regrouping to fight the recent successes of
               the anti-globalisation campaigns. The new media is playing a role in most case studies but the development of
               web intelligence is getting special attention. Part One ends at the other side of the spectrum, dealing with the
               use of violence against grassroots groups and against native people in the Southern Hemisphere.

               The various authors, specialists in their field, do not stop after drawing a detailed picture. I've asked them to
               delve deeper, questioning the way pressure groups chose to deal with corporate counterstrategies. Why do
               environmentalists in the UK sit down with companies for a stakeholder dialogue? How to separate a code of
               conduct from a PR stunt? What lessons can be learned for an organisation that was successfully infiltrated?
               How to handle suspected infiltration and raise security awareness without stifling creativity, frightening activists
               or creating paranoia will be discussed. A synopsis with a summary of all the chapters is included.

               Part Two of this practical guide offers Tactical Tools. Knowledge of corporate counter strategies may help
               activists and concerned citizens recognise manipulative strategies. This goal could be reached by tenacious
               investigative journalism, analyzing and publishing leaked documents for instance while building an accessible
               databank of corporate strategies. Unraveling corporate tactics will inspire trust in alternatives and the power of
               creativity or by using the new media tools to the max. Keywords: being original, playful, unexpected, small,
               fast, irresistable,unexpected, but also decisive, clear and unstoppable. The Tactical Tools section also offers a
               wide range of media strategies, from the Adbusters to Communication Guerilla. The success of the Battle of
               Seattle will be analyzed to be used for future reference.

               The composer. My name is Eveline Lubbers and I am an investigative reporter and specialized activist living in
               Amsterdam. After finishing university (political science) fifteen years ago I co-founded the Jansen & Janssen
               Bureau, a spin-off from the powerful squatters movement of the eighties. We have been monitoring police and
               secret services since, supporting social activist groups against oppressive surveillance tactics of authorities. I
               have been publishing in both activist and mainstream media, on the Internet and have been producing books on
               related subjects mainly in Dutch. The past few years I specialized in corporate intelligence and PR-strategies of
               multinationals against their critics- including net-activists. My works can be found at Evel's Writing The work of
               the Bureau at Jansen & Janssen. 

               In my work supporting grassroots activists, too often, I encounter people who got in to problems because they
               are unaware of the strategies corporate executives use. Whether from denial, arrogance or a simple lack of
               time, activists just refuse to see that their campaign could be a target too. The best way to explain these risks,
               is by sharing the experiences of others. I initiated this book to create the necessairy awareness, hoping to
               inspire campaigners to find their strongest points. By inviting fellow specialists in the field to contribute chapters
               that detail a part of the bigger picture, I intend to compose a practical guide, written by involved activists, for

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