Persuasion Equations

THERE IS A SET of rules behind our ability to persuade people to act in certain ways, and marketers and advertisers regularly deploy these rules with the aim of persuading us to buy their products or use their services.

My college psych professor at the University of Michigan was Jim McConnell, author of the bestselling textbook Understanding Human Behavior. In it, he recounted that in 1940, a pioneer of social psychology named Solomon Asch pointed out a truism in marketing. If marketers want to persuade people to buy something that they aren’t already predisposed to buy, like a new car, they have two choices: either make improvements to the car itself to make it more useful or change the buyers’ perception of the car. ...

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