Most CMOs agree language is the most valuable marketing tool.

Hotel Cartoon

A friend of mine was concerned. His teenage son had started smoking, because some of his friends did.

‘If all your friends jumped off the roof of a barn, would you?’ asked the Dad.

‘Yes,’ replied his son.

Obviously, this annoyed his dad.

But behavioural economics suggests his son was probably right.

The behaviour of other people persuades us to do odd things.

It’s a well-known cognitive bias, called ‘Social Proof.’

It’s useful for marketers.

In fact, an experiment by Robert Cialdini found that social proof was up to 40% more persuasive than stating environmental benefits.

He persuaded a hotel to test the effectiveness of different messages in people’s rooms, asking them to reuse their towels.

  • The first message talked about the environmental benefits. 35% of people reused their towel.
  • The second message just said that most people reuse their towels. This led 44% of people to do it.
  • A third message was more effective still, persuading 49% of people to reuse their towel. All it said was that most people in that room reused their towel. Cialdini argued this was more effective because it felt more relevant to the reader.

Obviously, the hotel saved a lot of money over time, because they didn’t have to do as much laundry.

All they had to do was change the language they used.

It’s why, when we analyse a brand’s language, we look at every touchpoint. You never know where you might make an extra 40% difference.

If you’d like us to have a look at your brand’s language, get in touch.