14 Jun 2024

In conversation with: Dr Robert Cialdini and Nick Barron

For five years, MHP Group has been working with the behavioural scientists at Influence At Work to explore how their insights can help us deliver better outcomes for our clients. Our work together has ranged from analysing trust, to optimising communication to drive sales, advocacy and engagement.

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The President of Influence At Work is Dr Bob Cialdini, the author of seminal books including “Influence”, “Pre-Suasion” and “Yes!”. In London to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Influence, which has sold more than five million copies, Dr Cialdini joined us to talk to our clients about the power of persuasion and how short-term thinking often prevents businesses from harnessing its potential.

During his interview with The Telegraph’s Business Editor, Chris Williams, he explained why he has added a seventh principle to his famous Influence model. Like MHP, Dr Cialdini is interested in how The Networked Age has changed society. One of the ironies of a digitally networked world is that more and more of the time we spend interacting with the world is as an atomised individual – from shopping, to streaming, to following the news, we do it alone. But our fundamental need to belong has not diminished, which means that Unity has become a more powerful force for brands and communicators.

Unity is the shared identity that the influencer shares with their audience. Saying “we are one” is a powerful way to connect, persuade and spur people to action.

There are many ways to create shared identity, from Mischief’s Passion Powered Comms (Dr Cialdini revealed that a shared love of the Green Bay Packers has turned him into a Lil Wayne fan), to values-based corporate storytelling.

But as our Deputy CEO Nick Barron explores with him in this interview, the growing power of Unity carries presents some unique challenges, because groups can be quick to punish outsiders, expel the inauthentic, and polarise debates. In a world that craves Unity, it’s no wonder that the BBC show ‘Traitors’ has become such a global phenomenon.

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