Persuasion is a skill everyone wants but many don’t have. It’s some sort of “secret science” that people believe is only understood and mastered by a select few who are naturally gifted or have had extensive training and experience in the art of influencing others. However, the truth is that anyone can develop and improve their persuasion skills with practice, patience, and a willingness to learn and adapt their approach to different situations and audiences. Whether you are trying to sell a product, pitch the media, or persuade someone to see things from a certain perspective, effective persuasion requires a combination of communication, psychology, and emotional intelligence.
In this blog post, we’ll explore five key elements to become more persuasive with PR efforts.
Understand the Audience
One of the foundational aspects of persuasion is understanding the audience. This means not only knowing who they are but also their needs, values, and desires. By understanding the audience’s motivations, brands can tailor their messages to resonate with them.
Nike has a deep understanding of their target audience, consisting mostly of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Their “Just Do It” campaign taps into their audience’s motivation to excel and overcome challenges, positioning Nike as a brand that empowers individuals to achieve their goals with the help of their products. By having Nike products, users also take on the values of the brand; for example, people who buy Nike products believe they too will be high achievers just by having the products.
People won’t listen to just anyone. Being perceived as credible and trustworthy is crucial when working to persuade audiences. This can be achieved through expertise, reputation, or well-informed spokespeople. Thought leadership is a commonly used PR tactic to place a brand or specific individuals as experts.
Tesla’s credibility stems from Elon Musk’s reputation as a visionary entrepreneur, as well as the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. By highlighting their technical expertise and focusing on the benefits of electric vehicles, Tesla has built a persuasive case for consumers to make the switch from traditional gasoline-powered cars to electric vehicles.
Tesla is also a great example of how persuading people towards a brand using credibility allows the brand to get away with not even being that great. Tesla is ranked very low in Consumer Reports’ reliability and dependability rankings, yet people think of it as the go-to for EVs.
Appeal to Emotions
Emotions play a significant role in decision-making, and appealing to them can be a powerful persuasive tool. By tapping into your audience’s emotions, you can make your message more relatable and compelling.
Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” campaign used emotion to persuade its audience by showcasing the power of human connection, empathy, and understanding. The campaign evoked feelings of surprise, interest and connection among its audience. People reach for beer with a story, so Heineken gave them one. This feeling of togetherness promoted people to reach for a Heineken, resulting in an increase of 11% sales year-over-year.
Stories are an effective way to make a message more engaging and memorable. By weaving a narrative around the product or cause, brands can create an emotional, compelling connection with your audience and make them more likely to support you. Storytelling gives audiences the ability to imagine themselves with the brand & what that could look like. It is a centuries old tradition that has stood the test of time to share information and create connections within communities.
Apple is known for its marketing campaigns that highlight the human experience. One example is their “Shot on iPhone” campaign, which showcases the beauty of everyday moments captured by iPhone users. The campaign tells a story through their products, positioning the iPhone as a catalyst for creativity and self-expression.
Leverage Social Proof
People are influenced by the actions and opinions of others, that’s why social media marketing has turned into a $230 billion business. By showcasing the support or endorsement of experts, celebrities, or even everyday people, brands can make a message more persuasive.
Eyewear brand Warby Parker has effectively leveraged social proof through its Home Try-On program, where customers can try on glasses at home and share their experiences on social media. This user-generated content serves as social proof for potential buyers, who can see the satisfaction of others and feel more confident in their decision to purchase from Warby Parker.
Effective persuasion requires more than just a good argument – it’s about understanding communication, psychology, and emotional intelligence. Anyone can improve their persuasion skills with practice and a willingness to learn. Head to our website to learn what it takes to be persuasive and messaging tactics that can be used to get there.