Influence: Why do we always fall for it?


by | Apr 24, 2017 | Business Core

Why do we fall for it?

We’ve never heard or seen it. Then all of a sudden we can’t stop thinking about it. Why do we get influenced so easily? 

Reality vs Fiction – We’re human and we can’t tell the difference.

Would you believe me if I told you that, as humans, we can’t and won’t tell the difference whether something is true or fiction? Well, it’s not as easy as that – we can tell in some way. But when we watch a screen and are invested in the story we’re actually on the same frequency of the story and it’s journey. Our subconscious can’t tell the difference and we therefore feel emotions that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

We all might ask why this is the case. I believe that as humans we all want to feel apart of something. This is why we do what we do and this is why we spend the money on things that we don’t really need or we think we need. Really think about this for a second. Think about the last time you purchased something that you don’t buy on a weekly or monthly basis. It doesn’t matter if it cost a lot or if it was affordable. The main point is that you bought it and for some reason you felt like you needed it. You may claim that you decided for yourself you needed it but as a matter of fact you were told that you need it through some sort of influence.

Influence & Social Proof

This brings me to the next point. You may think you’re the author of your decision but you can’t be more wrong. Your emotional brain was influenced. This decision may have been triggered by a few different sources of influence. Most of the time the biggest source of influence was through someone you look up to or in your circles. Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, he explains that “Testimonials from satisfied customers show your target audience that people who are similar to them have enjoyed your product or service. They’ll be more likely to become customers themselves.”

So why do we fall for this? Well, I have a few reasons of my own:
We want to feel part of something.
We need to know that it will satisfy our emotional needs.
We’re scared of the unknown – social proof therefore tames that fear.
It educates and informs us to create change.

For most of the projects we’re blessed with we use influence and social proof as part of the storytelling. We just like to add a few extra dimensions to further enhance the emotional dimension.

The pain is real.

Conflict. We all hate it but we also love it. The reason we love it is because it take us closer to what we want. Without this conflict we’re merely in the desire phase. Day dreaming. Think about it, anything you have achieved or gained was because you had to go through a certain roadblock (conflict) to achieve the desire you had to begin with.

We tell stories with this simple formula: Desire, Conflict, Journey/Solution, Results.

You see without the conflict you can’t achieve the results. There is no reason to go through the journey to get the solution.

Once we’ve gone through the conflict we appreciate the result so much more and value it even more. Think about it, each time you had to really save up for something special, when you then get what you want after months or years of saving you value the product so much more. Value.

Value is perceived and is different for every person. This is why we use story to take the audience on a journey to truly justify the value. How? Well we take them on the emotional journey where their subconscious can’t tell the difference between reality and fiction. Once they have gone through the journey, they will acknowledge the true value.

We seek answers.

As humans we don’t go through the pain. We want others to try first then and only then we will —-check—- and start to justify why we need to attempt the journey. Let me tell you this, once you know others have gone through the same journey, and have achieved results, you will make the decision much quicker and easier and that decision will most likely be to accept and go ahead.
In a experiment Dr. Cialdini and his team conducted a social proof experiment to see whether the guests in a hotel room can be influenced. They used a few different messages in the bathroom to encourage guests to reuse towels. To everyone’s amazement the card that claimed other guests in their room reuse their towels were significantly higher than other cards to influence guests to reuse their towels.

This is why our clients approach us. They want us to help communicate their service or product offering through their customers and their stories. We always suggest creating testimonials from people similar to our audience – so use your audience and you will quickly notice how they will attract similar people to your business.

About the Author


Corné Lategan

Corné Lategan is the Co-Founder and a Executive Producer at Bizvideo. In his down time he enjoys hanging out with his wife & doggie, family, playing squash & golf and traveling the world. He's been in the industry since 2007 & obtained a Bachelor of Film & Television at Bond University.

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