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The influence of language in business

When we think of influential words we default to power words, words that make us sound like the experts but what if that is not the language that matters?

Behavioural Insights language and communication

Have you used these words in your copy:

industry expertise, distinguished, experts, in-depth knowledge, seasoned professional, comprehensive knowledge... you get the direction.


The funny thing about people is they want a safe solution, they want a solution that they can trust, in fact, we would rather have a solid average solution that we are certain about than risk the ideal solution.


Social Influence:

The idea of social influence is that credibility has been provided by others, not the business. You may see this in testimonials shared, star ratings or comments from other users (ie: top choice of small business owners).


People like you:

'Choosy moms choose Jif.' So if you are a mom trying to figure out what peanut butter to use, you can be an ok mom, or a choosy mom and choose Jif. We want to reflect as a persona, and therefore if that persona we identify with has a choice, we will choose like them.

This might also look like 'the average truck owner gets 4 oil changes a year' or 'most people get an oil change with their tire rotation' . We trust most people over our own decision making and we figure the average truck driver must be right so we feel confident following them.


Trusting authority:

We don't know why only 9/10 dentists choose Crest, but we figure dentists must know better than us so we will gladly go along with those 9 and just figure the 10th has no idea what they are doing.


Gimmicks that work:

Remember BlockBuster and the 'staff picks' or Chapters Indigo and their 'staff picks' well we trusted them even if we didn't know the staff because they provided us bit of authority and word of mouth so we felt we could trust their selection.

We also tend to trust when we see 'best seller' on something, because we figure all of the people buying it before us must love it, even if it's a 'best seller' but has no rating.


How are you communicating in your business, are you speaking from your standpoint or many others? Some of these ideas may help influence your customers decisions.



Julie Boake

Awedity Creative





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