The U.S. military should improve its public image in Iraq and Afghanistan by using consumer-marketing strategies and focusing on the needs of civilians, according to a study for the Pentagon by the Rand Corp.
The Bush administration is seeking ways to bolster support for the war in Iraq and calm sectarian violence. The Rand report suggested the military use commercial practices such as branding and monitoring customer satisfaction to shape perceptions and win local support.
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“Brands such as Starbucks and Apple have captured the hearts and minds of consumers and have reaped financial windfalls in return,” the study said, suggesting the military replace its “force of might” brand identity with one that emphasizes a promise to help local people.