TERRORIST GROUP BRANDS: UNDERSTANDING TERRORIST GROUP STRATEGIES THROUGH MEASURING BRAND AWARENESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Altarawneh, Murad Z.
Warren, Timothy C.
Everton, Sean F.
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Terrorist groups such as the Islamic State adopted commercial marketing principles and effectively communicated with the targeted audience through social media to enhance operational achievements on the ground. This thesis investigates the role of effective brand awareness management in achieving terrorist group aims. The researcher seeks to quantify the Islamic State’s brand awareness among the populations in Syria and Iraq by measuring references to the terrorist group among these populations in the content appearing on the social media platform Twitter, during the period of August 1, 2013, through July 31, 2014. This thesis contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms utilized by armed actors by providing an analysis of the conditions of success of Islamic State propaganda within the areas under its control. Such knowledge can help direct more attention to targeting communication links with targeted populations. The results show that Islamic State brand awareness was higher in areas with more developed communication infrastructure, lower population density, and higher levels of historical violence. The results of this thesis further confirm the hypothesis that terrorist groups can increase the population’s awareness of their brand through violence as a medium of communication with targeted populations.
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