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Daniella Sakhai

ISIS, Inc.: A Roadmap Investigating Propaganda and Brand Strategy 


ISIS, Inc. A Roadmap Investigating Propaganda and Brand Strategy is an examination of the visual techniques that ISIS employs both to instill fear in an international audience and to entice new warriors to join its efforts. By analyzing the seductive appeal of their promotional videos, and their astounding social media expertise, I explore how ISIS has gained considerable market share within the religious marketplace. My findings indicate that ISIS has established a monopoly within the market for loyalties through a highly structured communication strategy. It has developed a brand identity that rests on an appeal to strength over weakness — a well-articulated narrative of Jihadi-Salafism. It extends an invitation to the masses, and is based on strong brand recognition through the symbolism and iconography used throughout its visual productions. The exploitation of both Twitter and YouTube highlights how the group administers inherently decentralized social media platforms in order to disseminate its focused message to international communities. In essence, ISIS has carefully, and lucratively, engaged in a process of enticing individuals inclined towards violence, of intimidating victims into compliance, of dulling any empathy on the part of its audiences for its victims, and projecting this activity to the larger world. This project journeys through this unexplored territory in search of understanding the ISIS phenomenon. 


Sector B: Art and Culture of Seeing

Advisers: Renata Holod (ARTH) | Rahul Mukherjee (CINE) | Emad Khazraee (COMM)