Skande: the secret to influence is authority

What is the driving force of influence in which we are all subjected? And what is the one that we apply to anyone who gives us his attention? Personal influence is difficult to measure or to connect with a mathematical formula. It is an act of trust and consideration which are granted on the basis of the authority on the subject, the reputation and the ability to persuade through skillful storytelling.

The spring of influence, in nature, is applied since birth. We devote most of our attention to our parents, because in our eyes they have the most prestige and self-assurance necessary to rely on their opinions. When we grow and compare ourselves to the world outside our family, we identify other people worthy of being listened to and followed. Professors, brothers, friends and girlfriends, condition our choices on the basis of proximity, skill of being heard, according to our expectations and in relation to the fact that they want the best for us. From the people who love us, we expect the right and free of any bias advice.

When adulthood strikes, things change and choices are often influenced by the relationship with others. Life is made up of daily choices, ranging from drinking a simple morning coffee to buying a book or a computer. We can take these sorts of decisions in full autonomy, with the help of a knowledgeable friend or through a review from YouTube. We become experts in certain subjects and techniques and this experience can enable us to influence our own choice and other’s choices, if we show the ability to appear authoritative and if we are able to convince our listeners. This is a game where there aren’t individuals transmitting and other receiving, but it indeed is a huge flow of information and collective suggestions.

Without bringing the most widespread theories on persuasion into it, for those who wish to examine in depth, Robert Cialdini one is one of the best. In a “Teoria e pratica della persuasione”
he identifies six major cognitive heuristics such as reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity. We can say, without any doubt, that the driving force of all, the main factor, lies in the amount of our reputation along with our prestige: the authority!

Reading the recent report of “2015 Trust Barometer ” edited by Edelman, the largest public relations agency in the world, it turns out that journalists and bloggers with expertise in certain areas have the ability to convince and convey confidence about a particular object or service. But if we shift the focus on the ability to influence someone in the purchase is better to focus on the final user. We are all subject to influence by our friends, family and strong ties. None of the renowned bloggers can obtain best results, because friends, family and strong ties may use a technique of communication in which our defenses are fully lowered and our confidence is at its highest.

Being successful at obtaining the goodwill of customers so that they speak of our products/services with enthusiasm will work much better in finalizing sales, compared to a blogger, a sportsman or famous personality on TV. The ability to influence a decision is given by the union of two elements: the information and the authority. Great communicators, with larges audiences, are unbeatable in their ability to give information, but they are poor in being authoritative. Friends, family and colleagues are natural carriers of this second component that is based on our perception and that brings an instinctive and intuitive ability between people called Love.

This post is also available in: Italian


Riccardo Scandellari is one of the leading Italian experts in the field of marketing and social media strategy development. He has been dealing with technologies and communication techniques since 1998. Journalist, teacher and author of "Fai di te stesso un brand" and "Net Branding". Founder of the agency 'NetPropaganda Srl'. Contact Riccardo for advice about improving your personal branding or online reputation at @skande

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