THE ART OF PERSUASION [20%]
“Persuasion works by appealing to a limited set of deeply rooted human drives and needs, and
it does so in predictable ways. Persuasion, in other words, is governed by basic principles that
can be taught, learned, and applied.”
– Robert B. Cialdini
Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a classic reading assigned to
psychology and business school students across North America. In it, Cialdini identifies the six
fundamental persuasion principles which he calls “weapons of persuasion. It is an entertaining
and relevant read- and the principles will no doubt stay with you for years to come. You might
even start to notice how you’re influenced by the principles outlined in the book. The six
1. Reciprocation: The old give and take … and take
2. Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the mind
3. Social Proof: Truths are us
4. Liking: The friendly thief
5. Authority: Directed deference
6. Scarcity: The rule of the few
For starters, everyone needs to read the article entitled ” Harnessing the Power of Persuasion “,
the PDF will be provided in files. There is a video to help further understand, but the article
contains more details that are necessary to complete the assignment.
Then, within your original group of 4 to 6 members, you will pick ONE principle to analyse.
THE PERSUASION REPORT
1. Begin the report by pitching one of the tasks listed below. You can write out a story, create
an advertisement, or any other creative approaches. Your scenario can be make-believe as
long as it is society-acceptable and not wishful thinking. You are free to choose from the list
below (as samples) or design your own persuasion scenario. In any of these situations, your
goal is to sell that item or persuade someone into doing something or believing you, USING
YOUR ASSIGNED PRINCIPLE. Below are some ideas, but please be creative and propose
your own pitch:
Download Link: Powers of Persuasion Article
1. Sell: a product/service
2. Sell: a business concept
3. Sell: a plain item (example: paper, plastic bag, cup of water, etc.)
4. Persuade: Someone to donate $10 each
5. Persuade: Religion, faith, or spirituality
6. Persuade: Seeing is believing
7. Persuade: Free = Good Quality
8. Persuade: Product/service/brand re-positioning
9. Persuade: Someone to do you a favour
10. Other ideas are possible.
2. Describe the particular principle of persuasion discussed in your selected chapter. How does
it work? Why does it work?
3. Summarize and critically evaluate the strengths/weakensses of the evidence Cialdini
provides for the power and veracity of this principle at work. In particular, when you consider the
examples and proofs Cialdini presents, are you persuaded that this principle operates or can
operate in today’s consumer settings? Use concepts covered in this course (such as, but not
exclusively, motivation, values, social influence, perception) to justify your answer.
4. Provide and critically discuss one current or recent marketplace persuasion example (can be
for-profit or non-profit, but not an example from the book!) that uses this particular influence
principle. Your example can be an advertisement (TV, radio, print, online), a direct mail tactic, a
social marketing campaign, a viral marketing campaign, a guerilla marketing campaign, a sales
force strategy or an entire promotional strategy. Discuss how the principle is being used and the
extent to which it is likely to be successful, and why. Use your understanding of consumer
behaviour to justify and defend your position. Did these examples help with your opening pitch?
Step 1. Choose a creative pitch to showcase how your chosen tool works. It can be an
advertisement, a flyer, a written skit, etc. You can also include samples of how the ad would look
like. Some teams in the past have created a video, a powerpoint, etc. This pitch should be
embedded with the persuasion tool, but not explicitly written on it. It should be subtle.
Step 2. Refer to the assigned article reading, you will then do additional research. Your team
should be looking into the short book on “influence” by Ciadini. You can find this book in the
library. Read the chapter on your tool so you will have more information to discuss how this tool
works. You will need to do additional research for this section. The article itself will not be
enough. Then, you will provide a reflection on how your team integrated the persuasion
technique in the opening pitch.
Step 3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the tool. When does it work and when does it
not work? Implications? Relate to course topics.
Step 4. Provide an in-depth case study