Series on Persuasion: Foster understanding to deepen influence

One way of boosting sales is by letting the market know how much work has gone into making that product. This not only helps the customers to understand the procedure but also accept and applaud its efficiency. It tells a story and adds credibility to the organisation’s claims.


Apple for instance, created a video to tell its customers about how important their gratification and ease of using their product is. In the video, the vice president of different portfolios explain the idea behind the design and what makes it robust as well as unique.

The video, for their new MacBook, is about the quality of the product as well as its aesthetics, which are the traits that matter the most to the customers.

Categorized as Media

Series on Persuasion: Scarcity Principle

When things are scarce we want them. This principle is a tactic used by several marketing professionals. To bolster the demand of their product, this principle is used.


Ever saw something you were not entirely sure to buy and the webpage or salesperson said that it is running out of stock? Did you then, buy it? The website used this principle to push you to buy what you were looking at. Several popular e-commerce websites use this tactic to pursue the consumer to buy a product.

Categorized as Media

Series on Persuasion: The right pronoun

While talking to your teammate, your boss or a friend, it is always better to use ‘We/us/our’ to make an impact. The agenda, when seems to contribute to a greater good gets more people to agree to it. Not just the listener, the agenda then includes the speaker as well.


One fine example of this is Barack Obama. Read this transcript for more clarity- “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.”

“Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.”

In conflict resolution, managing change and crisis, this technique comes handy.

Categorized as Media

Series on Persuasion: Hot and Cold

What do people mean when they describe a person as ‘cold’? Whether at work or in our personal relationships, we like to feel comfortable and appreciated. We count these traits in if we want to trust someone as well. Take this experiment for an instance.


A Yale experiment took two groups of individuals. Each group was to conduct a quick interview with a potential job candidate and then determine if they would hire the individual based on their quick interaction. Both groups interviewed the same guy with the same set of questions in the exact same environment. Before the interview and meeting the candidate, the test groups were asked to hold a beverage. Group A was given a warm beverage; Group B was given a cold beverage. Across the board, the group primed with a warm beverage said they would hire the candidate, Group B, given the cold beverage, all said they would not hire the candidate!

The simple act of priming the target with a warm beverage totally changed the outcome of the interview, all unconsciously. Next time you are performing an on-site penetration test, have a warm drink handy and find an excuse to get your target to hold it for you. The idea is that the warm drink triggers thoughts of comfort, warmth, and friendliness. These triggers change people’s perception of events after the priming.

Categorized as Media

Series on Persuasion: Pygmalion at work

Verbal Persuasion is another source of self-efficacy. Essentially this involves convincing people that they have the ability to succeed at a particular task. The best way for a leader to use verbal persuasion is through the Pygmalion effect. The Pygmalion effect is a form of a self-fulfilling prophesy in which believing something to be true can make it true.



Rosenthal and Jacobson’s (1968) classic study is a good example of the Pygmalion effect. Teachers were told by their supervisor that one group of students had very high IQ scores (when in fact they had average to low IQ scores), and the same teacher was told that another group of students had low IQ scores (when in fact they had high IQ scores).


Consistent with the Pygmalion effect, the teachers spent more time with the students they thought were smart, gave them more challenging assignments, and expected more of them—all of which led to higher student self-efficacy and better student grades. A more recent experiment conducted by Harvard researchers in a ghetto community produced similar results (Rist, 2000). The Pygmalion effect also has been used in the workplace. Research has indicated that when managers are confident that their subordinates can successfully perform a task, the subordinates perform at a higher level. However, the power of the persuasion would be contingent on the leader’s credibility, previous relationship with the employees, and the leader’s influence in the organization (Eden, 2003).


Categorized as Media

Series on Persuasion Skills: Say it right

Set the tone right to create a win-win situation. Change the tone and set it to positive to persuade and convince the other person to agree to you.

A wonderful example of this in retail is in the case of Starbucks coffee. When you approach the counter to order a drink at Starbucks, the barista will ask you a carefully worded question, “What can I get started for you?” The use of the word started infers that this is the beginning of something and that there is an ending that is separate from the beginning. Starting something infers that the task must be finished which draws your attention back to the bar and onto the food items. Your brain wants to finish your order, started with a drink, with something to eat. A subtle way of cross selling at the point of sale.

Categorized as Media

Series on Customer Centricity: Ritz-Carlton Helps with Joshie’s Extended Vacation

Hospitality companies are famed for their high standards of service excellence towards their guests. In fact some of them have almost legendary reputation for service, but one has to wonder: Do they really live up to the hype? Read on to see how a well-known hotel chain ensured that even their smallest customer felt the warmth of their customer-centric initiatives.



The story of Joshie the giraffe certainly presents a compelling case for “yes!” In case you’ve never come across this fantastic tale, the story begins when customer Chris Hurn’s son left his favorite stuffed giraffe, “Joshie,” in their hotel room after a recent stay.


Mr. Hurn assured his distraught son that Joshie was just staying a few extra days on vacation. He then called the staff at the Ritz and relayed the story he had told his son. In an all-star effort to make everything right for their customer, the staff at the Ritz created a series of photographs that included all of the activities Joshie had been involved in during his “extended vacation.”


First things first: They knew Joshie couldn’t just be aimlessly wandering around the Ritz without a staff card … so they made him one! After that, Joshie headed over to the pool area to relax. Not one to sit around and do nothing, Joshie helped out in the loss prevention department.


Joshie then decided to melt away some stress with a spa day. To top it all off, the Ritz sent Hurn and his son a booklet filled with information about Joshie’s stay as well as a host of pictures showing what a good time he’d had. What a story!


Categorized as Media

Series on Customer Centricity: Airline’s Delays Flight

Being on time is a credo which all airlines like to live by. However, when it comes to being empathetic to their customer’s needs, the next story will demonstrate how a leading airline bent its rules to ensure that a distressed customer was able to be with his mother in her last moments.



When Kerry Drake got on his United Airline flight, the mother he was en route to see was facing her final hours. To add an extra layer of distress, Drake knew that if he missed his connecting flight he would likely not see her before she passed. After his first flight got delayed, Drake broke down into tears on the plane. The flight attendants soon noticed his state and quickly found out what was wrong. Within minutes, Drake’s dilemma was relayed to the captain, who radioed ahead to Drake’s next flight.


The flight’s crew responded by delaying the flight’s departure to make sure he got on board. “I was still like maybe 20 yards away when I heard the gate agent say, ‘Mr. Drake, we’ve been expecting you,’” he said. When Drake finally sat on the second flight, he realized how much went into getting him onto the plane. “I was overcome with emotion!”


The result of many staff members working together to go above-and-beyond the call of duty to help this customer was that Drake made it to the hospital in time to see his mother. “At one point she opened her eyes, and I think she recognized me,” said Drake, who spent the night at the hospital. “Around 4 a.m. she had a real moment of coherence, a last rally, although we didn’t know it at the time. It was the last time.” She died that very morning.


Drake wrote the staff a heartfelt thank you letter expressing his immense gratitude for a team who was willing to pull together and pull out all the stops to assist in any way they could. In the coverage of this story on CNN, consumer advocate Christopher Elliot said:“Airline employees are evaluated based on their ability to keep a schedule. Airlines compete with each other on who has the best on-time departure record. When the crew on this flight heard about this distraught passenger trying to make his connection, they must have said, ‘To hell with it’… and they made the right call.” We think so, too.


Categorized as Media