When asked what I do for work, I’ve sometimes answered, “I’m a corporate propagandist,” and followed up with examples of the services I offer. The reference to propaganda was meant as shorthand for persuasive communications, which is one definition of the word.
Shortly after January 20th, I stopped using “propagandist” in my self-description. While the word can refer to any communications effort, the new administration is reminding us of a more familiar and sinister definition of propaganda: the deliberate spreading of false or misleading information. That's not what I do.
My clients - individuals, corporations, and non-profits - hire me to help them tell their stories more effectively. They pay me to spin their messages as persuasively as I can. But they don’t ask me to spread falsehoods, rumors, or misinformation.
I will never again use “propagandist” to describe what I do. Because I’m proud to work for and with people who value truth above any business goal.