Persuasion Trumps Preference.


Last week I wrote about the three levels of brand strategy: Promise, Proof and Persuasion. Promise is easy, everybody understands a consumer promise. Proof is also quite understandable — it refers to any evidence that the promise is true. Tangible reasons to believe. Lastly, there is Persuasion. Persuasion by some reasoning could double as proof because it takes proof to persuade people, but does all proof persuade? Persuasion of a brand’s value is a good thing, however getting a consumer to buy may be quite another.

Not to introduce another P into the rubric, but there is a thing called preference. Many qualitative research studies gauge consumer preference. The thinking being that if one prefers a product, they will buy that product. And it is directionally so. But the real indicator of marketing and brand strength is purchase. Sales. Cha ching. (That’s the sound of a cash register opening for you young ‘uns.) Persuasion trumps preference. It brings a consumers closer to a sale. Persuasion is the goal of the marketer. 

My rigor of brand planning identifies the promise and the proofs, typically arrayed into 3 proof planks. My newly revised rigor will now highlight persuasions as well. Persuasions that take a consumer beyond preference to a committed purchase. But these persuasions also act as something else. A launching pad for creative teams. Persuasions can and should be the domain of creative people. They invigorate consumers. Remember the classic crazy glue ad with worker whose helmet is stuck to the wooden beam, suspending him above the ground? Persuasion.