Branding as Persuasion

May 14, 2019

Over the last few years I’ve read up on persuasion. Why? Persuasion bubbles into so many areas of life. Communicating, selling, writing, presenting. There’s a huge overlap with design – and of course mass marketing, or ads.

How to Get anyone to do almost anything you want - Bruce Kasanoff

Yes, I know, I’m linking to a LinkedIn post with a click bait title. Have a read.

The system’ (why is everyone calling everything a system these days?) are reasonable things to think through before crafting an ask.

Reading through the steps, I was reminded of the Fogg Behavior Model & Dale Carnegies Magic Formula”.

It’s common sense. Your audience is more likely to do what you ask if there’s something in it for them.

But as I read, I realized your classic advertising campaign neatly follows these steps too.

Think of a product like laundry detergent.

  1. Ability: Ads target a certain segment of a market. An audience that has already been defined and assumes they have the ability to pay.

  2. Increasing perceived value: That’s pretty much what a brand does. Laundry detergent and beer are all the same.

  3. Increasing likelihood of value: Probability/Safety is a bit trickier but I think good ads to two things to seal the deal. A giant billboard or a tv ad is proof that the company is successful (can pay) and the fact that millions of other people are seeing the same thing does the same.

  4. Lowering perceived cost: Most advertising campaigns include a simple call to action, or if they don’t, it’s because the product is so ubiquitous you’ll have no problem stumbling across it next time you are in Target. Brand advertising doesn’t ask much of you. Usually just to remember the product over another.

  5. Lowering risk: By choosing a well advertising, famous and popular product obviously lowers the risk. You are not gambling when you try out a new flavor of Tide, rather than an unknown, un-advertising brand.

A brand is a conversation, an identity and also is a form of persuasion.