Friday, June 16, 2017

A Merging State of Mind

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

― John Donne

In Pre-Suasion, psychologist Robert Cialdini describes a seventh principle of persuasion: unity.

When customers come and act together, Cialdini says, they become more likely to buy.

"Co-creating" exemplifies the principle in action.

When a new fast-food restaurant asked prospects to assess its business plan, those asked for "advice," rather than "opinions,” or “expectations,” were more likely to eat at the new restaurant.

The use of the word "advice," in effect, invited prospects to co-create the restaurant. That triggered a gratifying sense of tribal togetherness.

"Companies struggle to get consumers to feel bonded with and therefore loyal to their brands," Cialdini says. "It’s a battle they’ve been winning by inviting current and prospective customers to co-create with them novel or updated products and services, most often by providing the company with information as to desirable features.

"However, within such marketing partnerships, consumer input must be framed as advice to the company, not as opinions about or expectations for the company.

"The differential phrasing might seem minor, but it is critical to achieving the company’s unitization goal. Providing advice puts a person in a merging state of mind, which stimulates a linking of one’s own identity with another party’s. Providing an opinion or expectation, on the other hand, puts a person in an introspective state of mind, which involves focusing on oneself. These only slightly different forms of consumer feedback—and the nonetheless vitally different merging-versus-separating mind-sets they produce—can have a significant impact on consumer engagement with a brand.”

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