The Principles of Ethical InfluenceJuly 5, 2010 — Larry DeVincenzi
Recently a good friend and client loaned me a terrific book written by Robert Cialdini called “Influence: Science and Practice”. Both she and her boss had reviewed this rather short read, and knew I would find it packed with information I’d appreciate. I did – so much so that I believe every marketer or advertiser should take the time to read it.
Cialdini believes that over five decades of research by behavioral scientists shows that persuasion is governed by six fundamental principles that can be taught, learned, and ultimately applied.
Here they are the six principles briefly for your consideration:
1. Liking: People like those who like them, whereby two compelling factors reliably increase liking: similarity and praise.
2. Reciprocity: People repay in kind, whereby the application is “give what you want to receive.”
3. Social Proof: People follow the lead of similar others. “Stated simply, influence is often best exerted horizontally rather than vertically.”
4. Consistency: People align with their commitments. The author’s research “has demonstrated that most people, one they take a stand or go on record in favor of a position, prefer to stick to it.”
5. Authority: People defer to experts. “The task for managers who want to establish their claims to expertise is somewhat more difficult. … A little sublety is called for.”
6. Scarcity: People want more of what they can have less of. “Study after study shows that items and opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available. That’s a tremendously useful piece of information for managers.”
While these 6 principles of persuasion are hardly new and have been a fundamentally sound understanding within the psychology field for around 10-20 years, Cialdini has made them very easy to understand and remember.
This brief blog post hardly scratches the surface of the book’s content and insight. I’d recommend you pick up a copy of your own, and delve into this great work.