Recommended reading from the smart people at Arizona's State University's Consortium for Strategic Communication comes "Out of Their Heads and Into Their Conversation: Countering Extremist Ideology" (PDF, 214kb).
Ideology is often ignored or deemed irrelevant to strategic communication because it is an old, possibly leftist, idea that is associated with academic social critique. It is treated as something that lives in the heads of individuals, driving them to radical action. From this point of view the concept is not really practical because by the time someone has adopted an ideology, it is too late.
We advocate a different view of ideology, as a system of ideas about how things are or ought to be that circulates in social discourse. This is a more practical view because it treats ideology not as an idea stuck in someone's head, but as something that is subject to influence through strategic communication. To be effective in these efforts we must understand culture and narrative, and have a clear grasp of what ideology does.
Read the whole thing here.