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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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“Embarrassment is a villain to be crushed,” stated Robert Cialdini in his novel Influences.  Cialdini is a well renowned author known for his observations of real-life situations of persuasion. In the quote I stated above, Cialdini believes that there is power in influencing and when you are trying to influence a person all self-doubt needs to be let go.  Based off his discoveries, Cialdini found that influences in the persuasion and marketing world are based upon six key principles. With the mix of reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity, each part is needed to be successful in influencing and persuasion. In his top selling novel, The Psychology Influence of Persuasion Cialdini describes the aspects that move people to change their behavior.

When Cialdini speaks of Reciprocation, he knows that each viewer of his novel can relate to this aspect of influencing. Reciprocation can be associated with social obligations and having one being rejected then retreating. When you study what it means to have a social obligation, you can break down the concept as Cialdini does in his book. To be obligated is to have a commitment or be bound to something; Most of the time an obligation is seen as being in debt. To owe a social obligation, you have a debt to the society. Inherently, humans have a distaste to being indebted to someone. Expressed by Cialdini, worldwide, when one is indebted to the other even in the smallest factors leads to a larger response to be reciprocated. The Reject and Retreat side of reciprocation is quite an important part in negotiations as well as influencing. One side demands a high price, assuming that they will be rejected, and automatically have a smaller one prepared; Start big and end in the middle.

One of the most attracting and most desirable attributes within in a person is have consistency. There is a desire for everyone to be consistent to past, present, and future commitments that we have made not only to ourselves but to individuals surrounding us. It is in human nature that “Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment” (Cialdini, 2009, p 51). Cialdini has the confidence in Influences that people know it is ethically right to stick with a commitment once it has been, it is the fact that whether or not one will follow through with the commitment is where one goes wrong. When a goal is written down, we are more like to stick to them because of the pressure we feel from ourselves and the people around us to fulfill. We as human beings want to live up to how we present ourselves to the public. Our identity or reputation is one of the most valuable aspects we hold dear to ourselves.

Related to being committed to one's reputation, the aspect of Social Proof describes how people gain influence from the actions of others. In Chapter 4 as Cialdini states that “we determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct.” The more people who are involved in a particular activity will result in the desire of yourself to join in on this action because it is obviously liked by the society. There is nothing more than one hates than to stand out in society like a sore thumb. To determine our social proof, we are constantly questioning and checking in assurance that our current actions are correct. Appropriate action is sure to be taken by an individual when they are in doubt of the actions they are taking at the particular time and place they are at. A prime example with social proof is within religion. As Cialdini states “if they could persuade the skeptics, and if, by so doing, they could win new converts, their threatened but treasured beliefs would become truer.” Through peers, experts, celebrities, etc. we lay all of our trust on the popularity by people through social proofing.

Throughout Influences, there is obviously a common theme that Cialdini was trying to get across to each of his readers. To influence one involves every aspect of society especially one that is near and dear to me which is liking. I can relate to this principle because I always seem to give into the requests of others just to comply with the likelihood that they will enjoy my company, personality, and who I am as a person. From the closet friends to absolute complete strangers, the human mind is geared toward liking the ones who fit their every need.

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