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What You May Know :
How companies and organisations use some so-called-expert to influence you !
Trust me, I’m a doctor.
All of us have seen TV advertisements of different toothpastes? Have you ever thought why in most of these advertisements you see a doctors /dentist?
And mind it, they are not doctors. They are all actors dressed like doctors as doctors are not allowed to promote any product.
Companies use these lookalikes to give you an impression that their brand has been recommended by doctors.
This is because the companies want to take advantage of our behavioural black-hole of following the people who look like they know what they’re doing.
This holds especially true in fields where we aren’t experts.
One example is bank -managers in India, their job is to manage the bank but in Indian banking industry , each of bank manager has been turned into a salesman of investment and insurance products. These bank managers are not expert in financial planning but most of the people just trust their advise because they happen to be sitting in the bank.
Why it happens?
We’re taught from a young age to listen to those in charge.
And it is easier to trust an authority figure in the field than it is to do your own research on any given topic.
How marketers (and you can) use this black hole?
Look at the above pictures closely.
These are world’s famous politicians with world renowned religious leaders. What are they doing with each other?
Well, there’s a chance that they’re trying to use the principle of authority to influence their supporters as well as non-supporters.
If President Obama respects the Pope , I should also respect him or vice versa.
Same is true with the rest of two pictures- religious leader is sending a signal that people-in- power also value their opinion and people-in-power are sending a message that even the people who’re considered holy also support them. This helps both sides- masses fall for it. They feel enamoured about their leader as he/she is being endorsed by another powerful leader from another domain.
You can see this in a lot of online marketing with headlines and blog posts that include phrases like “scientists say”, “experts say”, “research shows”, or “scientifically proven”.
That’s why many companies try to attract talent by getting a certificate from organisations like “Great Places to Work “, few tend to show themselves as well-respected companies by sponsoring certain events and getting some awards.
At individual level, you can give off the air of authority if you pay attention of these factors:
- Titles – Positions of power/experience
- Clothes – Superficial cues that signal authority
- Name–taking – Few people carry
- Members of renowned Organisation – Few people tend to put a badge of some local organisation e.g. Rotary Club, local political parties
How to resist:
Calm down, give it a pause, people in position of power or people who are popular can be domain experts but they can’t be right about everything.
You can learn about all these traps by clicking on the following links :
-Trap 5- based on the principle of authority (you’re here)