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Oct 12, 2012
Lots of people we know are great fans of behavioural psychology. After all it explains to us why people act in surprising, inconsistent and, occasionally, irrational ways.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to put into practice. So we’ve done a brief guide that shows Robert Cialdini’s six priniciples of influence put into practice.
Influence - Putting behaviourchange theory into practiceBlue State Digital London © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 1
How can we influence people?Blue State Digital has been fundraising, campaigning and engagingaudiences for our clients since 2004. We test everything - fromalternative calls to action to timing of messages, emotional vs. rationalarguments and much more.Our best practices, pragmatically derived, closely relate to the sixprinciples of persuasion that Professor Robert Cialdini outlined in hisclassic work, ‘Influence’. These principles are reciprocity, commitment,social proof, liking, scarcity and authority.But it’s often difficult to imagine what these mean in practice - so we’veput together some research that shows how our best practices work.I hope you enjoy it. © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 2
RECOGNISE YOURReciprocity SUPPORTERS FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONSAND ASK THEM TO TAKE ANOTHER ACTION See the full email here: http://www.bluestatedigital.com/studentsﬁrst-email © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 3
ReciprocityReciprocity means that we feel obliged to give to those that we havereceived from. This gift does not need to be material, although freesamples are a common application of this principle. It can be as simpleas praise, or as basic as information.When our supporters take action, we strengthen our bond by thankingthem – and build the relationship for the future. We then ask them toreciprocate by doing something more.Our recognition comes in many forms – anything from a thank you emailto a Facebook badge. But it always includes a further call to action, anappeal to their underlying understanding of reciprocity. © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 4
Commitment IDENTIFY YOUR COMMITTED SUPPORTERS AND TURN THEM INTO YOUR ADVOCATES See the full email here: http://www.bluestatedigital.com/RCM-email © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 5
CommitmentPeople like to honour their commitments.If people have taken an action for you in the past, they’re likely tosupport you again – but they may need to be reminded of their pledge.At BSD we work hard to convert our committed supporters intocampaign advocates. To do this, we acknowledge their support andremind them that it can’t stop with a single action, that we need theircommitment to carry through the entire campaign.Note that this means you don’t necessarily need to start with changingattitudes to change behaviours: you can do it the other way round. © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 6
Social Proof CAPITALISE ON SOCIAL ENDORSEMENT © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 7
Social ProofPeople draw guidance from those around them.When making decisions, they look to those who have already chosen. Inthe age of social media, where everybody’s preferences are broadcaston a public platform, an awareness of social proof is especiallyimportant. Your supporters are your potential sales force.A campaign must provide content that supporters can share viaFacebook, email or Twitter – and they must be encouraged to do so. © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 8
Liking “I put my hand over his and together we traced his name...Icould see from the emotion on hisface that this moment was a major life event - it was the first time he had ever signed his own name.” APPEAL TO YOUR SUPPORTERS’ EMOTIONS THROUGH RELATABLE SENDERS See the full email here: AND PERSONAL http://www.bluestatedigital.com/NAACP-email STORIES © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 9
LikingIt’s no surprise that people respond better to those they like. It’s easy tounderestimate how much this principle could benefit your campaign.A genuine emotional connection between a supporter and a campaignis beyond value, but to achieve this the campaign needs to speak with acompelling personality and human voice. In other words, it needs somelikeable people to tell their incredible stories.Your requests will be more successful if they’re coming from sendersyour supporters can relate to, people who will inspire them to takeaction, stories that remind them of the importance of your cause. Findthese personalities in your campaign and let them be your voice. © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 10
ScarcitySET DEADLINES HIGHLIGHT CRITICAL NEED FOR URGENTSee the full email here:http://www.bluestatedigital.com/caringforce-email ACTION © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 11
ScarcityAs soon as we know something is limited, our desire for it increases.In a campaign, this knowledge is key to providing incentives for action.An obvious example is the use of contests with limited prizes. Butscarcity has much broader uses than that. Scarcity can apply to time aswell as quantities. Set deadlines for your appeals and remind yoursupporters when they’re looming. Tell them there is an expiry date ontheir chance to take action: time is scarce, it’s now or never. © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 12
Authority SPEAK WITH CERTAINTY STATE THE FACTS USE TRUSTED, RECOGNISED, NAMES © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 13
AuthorityAn urgent warning and call to action, such as in the Partners In Healthemail, means more coming from a trusted and recognisable name suchas Paul Farmer than an average person on the street. Paul is an expert inhis field. If he says Haiti needs our help, we believe him.Of course, authoritative speech, personalities and visuals must all bebased in reality. A campaign must carefully cultivate its authoritativevoice over time, showcase it only when necessary, and be very carefulnever to give cause for it to be questioned.[Note for UK readers - Paul Farmer occupies roughly the same positionin US society as a combination of Robert Winston & Bob Geldof.] © 2012 Blue State Digital | Proprietary and Confidential 14