The following points highlight the seven laws to be adopted for successful and effective propaganda according to Kretch and Crutchfield.
(1) “A suggestion that seems to meet an existing need will be more readily accepted than one that does not meet a need.” Thus, the propaganda must be related to the need and motive of the public, who are going to be influenced by the propaganda. When the needs are satisfied new needs and motives are to be generated by the propagandist by creating imbalances and tension through direct or indirect suggestion.
When people are in the need of a democratic government, propaganda for the same will influence the public readily. Similarly, when people are highly in the need of change of present government any propaganda made in this direction will readily stir them.
(2) A suggestion concerning an ambiguous situation will be more readily accepted than one concerning a clearly structured situation. Whenever there is ambiguity or doubt suggestions work more effectively as there is no scope for clear perception. The suggestions found in clear and distinct circumstances are not very successful in influencing the person.
By creating confusing circumstances through speech or lecture, a successful propagandist cum orator creates first confusing situation and then taps the audience through various suggestions for acceptance. Through readymade ideas and recommendations a good propagandist tries to take advantage of the confusing situation. The propagandist always fishes in the troubled water in the shape of clarifying ambiguous situations.
(3) A suggestion that fits in with other systems of beliefs and frames of reference will be more readily accepted than one that does not.
To make propaganda effective suggestions should be made to go with the prevailing beliefs, customs, ideas and attitudes of the audience, so that it can be accepted by them readily without any hesitation or grudge.
A radical reformer in a society is a propagandist whose view is not accepted initially as he revolts against the existing norms, traditions, beliefs and customs. Propaganda for widow marriage or inter caste, inter religion marriage in very conservative Brahmin societies may serve as example.
The view of communism in a religious and God fearing society is not accepted readily. In such a situation for effective propaganda, the propagandist may convince people by saying that communism never denies religions, but religion can be more purely fostered in a communist society.
Thus, the approach of the propagandist should be such that it will not clash with the other existing systems, beliefs, values and frame of reference.
Initially, the attitudes, beliefs and sentiments of people should not be hammered. Gradually, tactfully and intelligently in an indirect manner through various glittering generalisations and technical ways the attention of the audience can be drawn in a favourable direction.
(4) “A suggestion that can readily induce new attributes in the perception of a familiar object will be more readily accepted than one that does not have that advantage.” The beliefs and attitudes of the person is to be transformed or modified in a desired direction so as to fit one’s propaganda and readily acceptable by the audience.
Any effort made to attack the attitude or uproot it completely will be highly harmful and may have adverse effects. During war time or emergency, more persons are required to join army. People are not usually in favour of joining army particularly at the time of war because of risk to life.
But instead of forcing people to join army, efforts should be made to change their negative attitude to such jobs by producing emotional feeling like patriotism, nationalism etc.
Further they may be encouraged by highlighting the various benefits like the pay, perks and other materials benefits and comforts that one gets from such jobs. It has been told that the propagandist can push people around by all these appealing touches.
A perceptual change in the object of propaganda may be induced through accentuating certain aspects of the original perception and minimising others by presenting the object in a different context and by modifying the environment of the person.
(5) A suggestion that can be phrased so as to be congruent with the need of the people to identify with or be in harmony with other people will be more readily accepted than one that does not draw upon such social support.
In other words, suggestions with social support are more readily acceptable than those which are not. This closely resembles the ‘Band Wagon’ technique of propaganda. The propagandist phrases his arguments in such a manner so as to appeal ‘most people and best people’.
(6) A suggestion that makes effective use of the principles of stimulus presentation will be more readily accepted than one that neglects these considerations. A successful propagandist should make his propaganda attractive and eye catching and all the facts of the propaganda should be prominently displayed.
The objective conditions of attention are utilized here. A figure of hand as big as the size of a 20′ x 40′ which is the symbol of Indian National Congress party is displayed on the main road at the time of election. The posters must be colourful, big and nicely drawn and should also be placed in prominent eye catching places.
The language, choice of words, pronunciations, the mode of slogans and speeches of other visual presentations and external determinants should be such so as to impress the audience.
(7) Propaganda can be fought most effectively with counter propaganda. The effectiveness of counter propaganda will depend upon as to how the propagandist meets the existing needs of the people. “The best kind of counter propaganda, therefore, in a social and economic system is that which satisfies the needs of most of the people most of the time.”
Even if a slogan is very cleverly designed, it will not be effective if it does not appeal to the particular need and demand of the hearer. Sherif views that the slogans must stand out on short cut characterization of the direction of the time and situation.
A good propagandist will watch his timing very carefully. He will take the advantage of every critical social situation, when man needs to have a clear idea about a specific issue.
A good propagandist should also first try to discover the beliefs, ideas and attitudes of his audience and then he should try to plan his suggestions in such a way so as to fit with the existing frame of reference. This is sometimes called “long range propaganda”.