Marketing to Prevent Radical and Violent Behaviour: Two HEC Montréal Experts Call for Action

Thursday January 12, 2023


Montréal – Two researchers from HEC Montréal emphasize the importance of using marketing to tackle global issues related to radicalization. Terrorism, conspiracy theories, violent behavior, disinformation, discrimination, racism, lack of confidence in institutions, brand activism: such examples of radicalization and violence make headlines every day around the world.

In a recent special issue of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing by the American Marketing Association, Marie Louise Radanielina-Hita (Lecturer and Researcher, HEC Montréal) and Yany Grégoire (Professor, Department of Marketing, HEC Montréal) have posed the following questions: how can marketing help policy makers and society – in Quebec and elsewhere – prevent acts of violence, which are motivated by radicalization, especially online radicalization?

This special issue entitled Marketing to Prevent Radicalization: Developing Insights for Policies has been co-edited by both these experts, with research articles and commentaries from dozens of other academics from Canada and elsewhere.


An appeal to policy makers and marketers

Marie Louise Radanielina-Hita and Yany Grégoire claim that marketing has an important role to play in understanding, preventing, and decreasing the occurrences of violent events motivated by radicalization. Their editorial acts as a form of research manifesto for getting many marketers on board.

These experts from HEC Montréal have identified the following easily actionable leads for policy makers and marketers: fact checking, teaching critical thinking skills about media content, developing counter-messaging, tackling digital enclaves, restoring confidence in democratic norms, understanding the motivation to join online echo chambers, and realizing that extremist groups use sophisticated marketing tools or an established brand to radicalize individuals.


Marketing counterstrategies at your fingertips

“Fringe groups are very skilled in communication and persuasion, which means that they don’t appear to be on the fringes. Given the significance of this new reality, we wanted marketing science to be included in conversations about radicalization issues, something that has been rarely the case earlier. Our discipline excels in social media, communication, persuasion, activism, and services to help consumers.”

Yany Grégoire, Professor, Department of Marketing, HEC Montréal


Polarization in public opinion

We are witnessing an increasing polarization in public opinion across a wide range of religious and sociopolitical issues in Quebec, Canada, the United States and elsewhere in the world. A recent survey reports that one in five Americans believes that political violence may be necessary for some issues (Wintemute et al. 2022).

More information on the special issue



Émilie Novales, APR
Senior Media Relations Advisor, HEC Montréal
438 520-3236

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