The Psychology of Influence

By Posted in - Public Relations on April 17th, 2012 0 Comments

This afternoon I had the chance to attend a monthly luncheon hosted by the Upstate region of SCPRSA. The speaker, Paul Herbert of Incentive Intelligence, spoke on the psychology of influence.

It”s not a topic that we think about directly, but persuasion can be a powerful tactic in professional communications. Here are a few principles that Paul shared:

  • Commitment and Consistency – Ask people to do something, and they will feel obligated to accept. Example: asking a potential customer to sample your product.
  • Incentive – If your audience does something, they will receive a reward in return. Example: if a customer refers a friend to your business, they will receive online casino a discount off of their next purchase.
  • Reciprocity – Telling your audience that you have already done something beneficial, so they should do something in return. Example: your company donated to a charitable organization, and you ask your customers to donate a portion of their purchase as well.
  • Social Proof and Consensus – Showing that people similar to those in your audience did something. Example: 75% of hotel guests reused their towels, so you should too.
  • Behavioral Economics – People want benefits now – especially if they”re free. Example: offer an immediate discount or incentive to your customers when they purchase from you.
  • Decoy Effect – Provide a point of comparison to drive people where you want them to buy. Example: offering good/better/best options for a series of similar products or services.

Last, and most importantly, get your message down to one story or individual to connect with your audience. They will relate on a personal level if they see and hear about one person, rather than the masses.

Do you think persuasion is an effective tool in public relations  and marketing communications? How do you use these techniques in your activities? I would love to continue the conversation.

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