Unity – Robert Cialdini’s New seventh Precept


six shortcuts becomes seven

Almost everybody in behavioral advertising and affect advertising was shocked when Dr. Robert Cialdini, the “godfather” of persuasion science and the creator of the celebrated Six Ideas of Affect, launched a seventh precept, Unity.

In truth, in 2014 I requested Cialdini if, thirty years after finishing his seminal e-book, Affect, he’d add on one other one or two. He declined, saying that whereas there have been many affect strategies, the essential ones largely match into his authentic six. (Try our 2014 dialog for some nice persuasion insights.)

Two years later, issues modified. Cialdini has launched a brand new, main e-book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Approach to Affect and Persuade. In it, he acknowledges that another affect approach rises to the extent of being a significant precept. He writes,

…now I consider that there’s a seventh common precept that I had missed – not as a result of some new cultural phenomenon or technological shift introduced it to my consideration however as a result of it was hiding beneath the floor of my information all alongside.

[That sound you hear is the chorus of groans from all the marketing gurus who are going to had to re-do their PowerPoint slides, evergreen web content, etc. Cialdini himself may have to redo his wildly popular Science of Persuasion animated video.]

What’s Unity, Robert Cialdini’s seventh Precept? pic.twitter.com/C47mJEd2Q1 Click on To Tweet

Unity: It’s All About Us

With Unity, Cialdini is referring to a shared id that each the influencer and influencee are a part of. The extra we understand individuals are a part of “us,” the extra probably we’re to be influenced by them. This matches with the whole theme of Pre-Suasion, which is to create a positive frame of mind simply earlier than the precise persuasion effort happens. Reminding somebody of a shared id makes you extra persuasive.

What’s Unity?
Unity is the bond shaped by a shared id. This id can come from being a part of a household or a close-knit group, but additionally may be based mostly on race, ethnicity, nationality, faith, political affiliation, and different elements. The important thing distinction is that members of those teams really feel “at one” with different members.

On this video, Cialdini explains Unity in his personal phrases:

Household Ties

Probably the most highly effective manifestation of unity is being in the identical household. Individuals go to nice lengths, even risking their lives, to assist genetically shut relations. Cialdini reveals how you should use family-driven unity, even if you end up attempting to affect individuals who aren’t your individual relations.

In considered one of his school lessons, Cialdini wished to match attitudes of scholars and their mother and father by having each fill out questionnaires. Scholar compliance was all the time very excessive – one ignores homework assignments at one’s personal peril! However, mother and father usually responded at a far decrease price, usually beneath 20%.

One small tweak to the task elevated the dad or mum response price to 97%. What was the easy intervention? Cialdini stated he would give the scholars an additional level on one take a look at if their mother and father accomplished the survey.

One level on one take a look at in a semester-long course is an inconsequential profit. It will be unlikely to have any affect in any respect on the scholar’s last grade. However, by invoking the idea of serving to a member of the family, Cialdini elevated the response price fivefold, from poor to almost excellent.

unity effect

Sadly, most of our persuasion efforts don’t contain a bunch of scholars prepared and prepared to comply with our course. However, think about a state of affairs the place you had been providing a free merchandise to encourage inserting an order. What if as a substitute of providing the free merchandise to the client, you supplied to provide a present to their dad or mum, baby, or partner? That may really be more practical than providing the free merchandise to the client, though the client doesn’t profit instantly.

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Utilizing Household Language

Cialdini describes a good simpler strategy to leverage familial unity. Through the use of family-related language, you’ll be able to invoke the impact in a strong manner. He cites the instance of Warren Buffett, who along with being a grasp of investing (maybe THE grasp) can also be a grasp of communication.

An enormous concern of buyers has all the time been what occurs to Buffett’s agency, Berkshire Hathaway, when he he’s not in cost. In a very essential letter to shareholders relating to succession plans, Buffett wrote, “I’ll let you know what I’d say to my household right now in the event that they requested me about Berkshire’s future.”

With that language, Cialdini says, Buffett was extremely convincing as a result of he stated he was advising readers in the identical manner he would advise a member of the family. Coupled with Buffett’s perceived trustworthiness, the content material of the letter was extremely convincing. The funding group reacted in a really optimistic manner, praising it as Buffett’s greatest shareholder letter ever. Merely laying out the succession plan in factual language would have been much less efficient.


You are able to do the identical factor. For instance, you would possibly say, “Right here’s what I’d advise my youngsters to do…” Naturally, you may use phrases like “sister,” “mother and father,” and so on. relying on the age and state of affairs of your affect targets.

Different Unity-Based mostly Techniques

Cialdini offers examples of different methods to make use of unity. One of the crucial exceptional comes from wartime Japan. In 1941, the Japanese didn’t comply with the lead of their Nazi allies in brutalizing Jews. This was due, a minimum of partially, to a Jewish scholar making a single persuasive assertion to Japanese leaders debating the difficulty: “We’re Asian. Such as you.” This shifted the mindset of the leaders, they usually rejected the stress to undertake Nazi ways towards Jews.

“Co-creation” additionally builds unity. People who find themselves concerned within the creation of one thing really feel higher about it. Their self, to some extent, is merging with their creation. (Bear in mind the IKEA impact?) Generally, even easy language tweaks make a distinction.

couple assembling furniture to illustrate co-creation

Cialdini describes the market analysis for a brand new fast-casual restaurant idea, Splash!. Customers had been proven an outline of the idea, and requested for suggestions. However, the precise language diversified – a survey taker may be requested for “recommendation,” “opinions,” or “expectations.”

The ultimate query of the survey was how probably the patron could be to go to a Splash! location. These requested for “recommendation” had been considerably extra more likely to reply positively. Asking for recommendation put the survey-takers in a “togetherness” state of mind. They had been serving to create the brand new idea, not simply commenting on it.

Shared ethnicity, location, and different elements may be emphasised to construct unity. With somewhat creativity, you will discover an element that may unite you together with your buyer.

Unity vs. Liking

A typical query I’m requested is how Unity differs from Cialdini’s long-established Liking precept.

These ideas are related. Each contain having one thing in widespread with one other individual, and that commonality makes you (or the opposite individual) extra persuasive. Certainly, earlier than Cialdini launched Unity, these familial or group id bonds would have fallen underneath Liking.

Liking & Shared Attribute on a continuum with Unity / Shared Identity

The distinction is a matter of diploma. Liking is predicated on a shared attribute, Unity on a shared id. Arguably, this can be a continuum. Familial id is normally extra highly effective than, say, political affiliation. In flip, one’s political id may be extra highly effective than, say, having the identical favourite sports activities group.

Even then, particular person variations could make the distinction. For a soccer fan who paints his home with the group colours and goes to video games in a themed costume, being a fan of that group is a part of his id. For an additional fan of the identical group that watches video games often on tv, that fanship could be merely an attribute.

This distinction isn’t essentially an issue. Persuasive appeals based mostly on a shared attribute can work whether or not they invoke Liking, Unity, or one thing in between. The nearer to Unity, although, the stronger they are going to be. People favor members of their tribe.


Robert Cialdini & Roger Dooley
Unity? Two members of the black-wearing persuader tribe.

Pre-Suasion has much more to supply entrepreneurs than a brand new Precept No. 7. In truth, unity makes its look close to the tip of the e-book. Cialdini focuses on analysis exhibiting the significance of timing within the persuasion course of, an element largely ignored in earlier writing.

Timing is every part, says Robert Cialdini in e-book Pre-Suasion pic.twitter.com/C47mJEd2Q1 Click on To Tweet

The e-book runs over 400 pages, with virtually 100 pages of references and 70 pages of “notes.” The latter are what Cialdini describes as “shade commentary” on the textual content. The notes embrace private observations, enjoyable details, and plenty of extra references for individuals who need to dig deeper.

Pre-Suasion is an absolute must-read for anybody in advertising and gross sales. Anybody who offers with folks will acquire new insights into what makes others tick and find out how to affect them.

For extra about unity and the opposite essential new ideas in Pre-Suasion, take a look at my Brainfluence Podcast that includes Robert Cialdini. You’ll spend a persuasion-packed 40 minutes with the scientist who created the sphere. And, in case you don’t have time to hear, simply seize the properly formatted PDF transcript to learn later.

Wish to get the total Pre-Suasion story? Decide the format of your alternative from our associates at Amazon:



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