Persuasion Techniques: The Law of Association
Persuasion Techniques 101
There is a famous tax advisory and audit company called Deloitte; I am sure you will have heard of them. Deloitte is one of the big boys on the accounting scene, along with the likes of PWC and KPMG. Well, the other day a friend dropped me at Larnaca International Airport, as I was flying to London for the weekend.
On the approach to the drop off zone, we drove past a fifty-foot wide billboard. There was nothing on this giant advertising board other than a beautiful woman with striking red lipstick on. In the corner of the image was the Deloitte logo. My friend thought it was ridiculous; he thought they were just throwing away their money on such an ad.
“How is that going to get them any more customers for their auditing service’, he mocked as we pulled up at the departures area.
Of course, he is right to a certain extent. Nobody will look at that billboard and think ‘oh that reminds me, I need to find a good tax advisor.’ However, that is not the objective of the advertisement. When you have a particularly substantial marketing budget, as Deloitte obviously do.
You can start to play about with more subtle and more subconscious forms of promotion. The attractive woman is being used purely to apply the law of association. Deloitte is attempting to psychologically connect their brand to all the positive aspects of the beautiful model.
They are playing the long game with you.
Perhaps at some point in the future, you will be in the position to choose an auditing service for your company. When it comes down to choosing you may just find you have a healthy gut feeling that Deloitte is the better choice for your business.
The law of association is compelling, and it is being used on you every moment of every day. Ever wondered why the companies sponsoring your favorite sports team are willing to spend such crazy sums of money to have their logo on the team shirt?
I first used this technique about fifteen years ago when I was running a UK based radio station in a small town called Wigan. This north-west working class conurbation is most famous for its rugby league team. The Wigan Warriors are famous the world over, mainly because they completely dominated the game for several decades. They were the Manchester United of the rugby league world and their reputation spread around the world as such.
When I arrived at the radio station is was performing poorly in the ratings. You always worry when you take on a challenge like this. I knew of the controller I was replacing. He had a good reputation and knew his stuff. So I was a little worried that if he couldn’t fix the radio station then perhaps I wouldn’t be able to either. I was anxious that the problems would be so deep-rooted that it would be like turning the Titanic.
However, I need not have been so concerned. Within a few days of being in my new position, it became clear to me that Wish FM was failing to profit from the town’s most prominent asset. The previous manager had dumped the Rugby League coverage from the station. I believe mainly because he didn’t understand the game and felt exposed when trying to talk about it with his staff. He had taken the radio down a softer, more lifestyle and celebrity gossip path.
This was all a colossal mistake.
This is Wigan, a hard working class rugby town. Not an upmarket district of a major city. I brought the Rugby commentary back and even launched a regular show hosted by famous retired rugby league stars. But the masterstroke came out of a cheeky request that I never expected to work out.
I was having a meeting with the rugby club to try and mend the relationship. The club had felt rejected by the decisions of the former boss and were a little frosty toward me when I first approached them.
I didn’t have much marketing money, but I had enough to buy one pitchside marketing board at the stadium. I told the club I would be promoting them heavily from now on and would they return the favor by doing one little thing for me. I knew what I was about to ask for was extremely valuable, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. And I was about to ask for it for free.
‘We will certainly try, what is it we can do for you?”, asked Simon, the marketing manager for the club.
“Whenever Wigan score will you play the radio station jingle over the PA system,” I said, holding my breath and waiting for them to laugh me out of the stadium.
“Sure, pop them on a CD, and we will arrange that,” Simon said with a smile.
I just struck gold and all because nobody appreciated precisely what I was doing. If you don’t know much about Rugby League, let me explain. This is not soccer where there may be 2 or 3 scoring opportunities per match. Sometimes Wigan Warriors were scoring 70 points a game. What this meant was with every try scored and every conversion kicked, right at the moment of pure ecstasy for the fans they would hear the name of my radio station.
I had no way of measuring how much impact that specific use of the law of association had on the performance of the radio station. However, I can tell you that within twelve months Wish FM became the number one radio station in town for the first time in its ten year history.
The audience figures reached a pinnacle that it had never been to before or since.
We did so much damage to the other radio station in town that they eventually had no other choice but to come after me with a big paycheck and poach me over to their side.
Finally, for this powerfully effective law, I will demonstrate how it works even when there is not a shred of logic to back it up. It’s 2018 as I write this book and the whole world has just finished going crazy about making money out of investing in Cryptocurrencies. The newspapers have been full of stories of how everyday folk has been turned into overnight Bitcoin millionaires. The public just can’t get enough of anything even vaguely connected to blockchain technology. Some businesses are seeing this as an opportunity to exploit.
The Long Island Iced Tea Company is precisely what it sounds like: a business that offers consumers bottled iced tea and lemonade. But today the business publicized a notable change of tactic that would start with altering its name to “Long Blockchain Corporation.”
The company was “shifting its main business purpose to the analysis of and financial investment in opportunities that leverage the advantages of blockchain technology,” the business said in a Thursday morning news release. “Emerging blockchain technologies are developing an essential paradigm shift across the global marketplace,” the company said.
The stock exchange loved the announcement. Trading opened Thursday morning more than 200 percent higher than Wednesday night’s closing rate.
The business isn’t getting out of the iced tea business. “The Company will continue to manage Long Island Brand Beverages, LLC as a wholly-owned branch,” the organization writes in its bulletin.
The new blockchain efforts are only in their “initial phases,” the press release states, and will most likely entail investing or forming collaborations with other companies. One prospective partner is providing “blockchain infrastructure for the financial services industry.” One more is building a “new smart contract platform for developing decentralized applications.”
The former Long Island Iced Tea Company is following the lead of other business that has seen their market value skyrocket after publicizing blockchain-related moves. One small fiscal innovation company experienced its value take off after it announced a blockchain-related acquisition. In October, a biotech organization saw its price take off after it renamed itself “Riot Blockchain.”
We Have Seen This Before
The move is reminiscent of the late 1990s when business could see their stock prices soar if they incorporated “. com” to their names.
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