If you’ve worked in marketing, sales, conversion optimization – any role that has to do with strategic communications/persuasion – you’re likely familiar with the work of Dr. Robert Cialdini.
Since his last book, Influence, came out 30 some years ago, his work has done nothing but influence new generations of those of us in the strategic/persuasive communications space.
Even if you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably heard of his 6 persuasion principles.
However, with Cialdini’s new book, Pre-Suasion, comes one new persuasion principle.
But First, A Quick Brush Up On His Previous 6 Principles
Just to set the context, here’s a brief overview of the previous 6 principles. If you already know them, skip this section. If you want to do a deep dive, we wrote a post on the famous 6 a while ago (read it).
Reciprocity. The idea of reciprocity says that people by nature feel obliged to provide either discounts or concessions to others if they’ve received favors from those others. Psychology explains this by stressing that we humans simply hate to feel indebted to other people.
Commitment (and Consistency). This principles explains that humans have a deep need to be seen as consistent. Once we have publicly committed to something or someone, we are much more likely to go through and deliver on that commitment…hence consistency.
Social Proof. This is when people do what they observe other people doing (when uncertain, there is safety in numbers)
Authority. We trust authority figures and they are inherently more persuasive because of this (authority can be based on many factors – wealth, uniforms, status, etc.)
Liking. The more you like someone, the more likely it is you’ll be persuaded by them.
Scarcity. When you believe something is in short supply, you want it more.
Again, you can go brush up on the previous six principles if you aren’t familiar; there are many resources available on them (including the original book, of course).
However, Cialdini announced in his new book that he is cementing a 7th principle into this arsenal, one that has hidden beneath the data the entire time:
What is Cialdini’s Unity Principle?
The Unity Principle is the shared identity that the influencer shares with the influencee.
According to Cialdini, the Unity principle moves beyond surface level similarities (which can still be influential, but under the Liking principle).
Instead, he says, “It’s about shared identities.”