Understanding Social Persuasion and Why Your Brand Needs It

Andy Fritchley / February 15, 2019

By: Andy Fritchley

Let’s say you’re on a vacation in a city you’ve never visited before. It’s time to find something to eat. As you explore the city for good options, you notice two restaurants located next to each.

The first place looks promising. Many tables are available, as only a few patrons are seated at clean, wooden tables. A menu posted outside has plenty of delicious sounding options. You observe a pleasant server waiting on a table.

The second place also has clean, wooden tables, but most are occupied by patrons. There are noticeably more servers bustling from table to table, laughing and engaging with guests. A lively hostess brings you a menu and points out some of the special dishes they serve. The options sound delicious.

Which one do you choose?

Certainly both restaurants have their upsides. If you’re looking for a quiet meal, the first restaurant seems like a lock. However, the second place has spirit and excitement. It exhibits a most important attribute — social persuasion.

When we’re evaluating choices, we try to make intelligent decisions about quality, value and popularity of our choice. If it looks like a quality choice, has seemingly good value and others have also selected, it must be a solid choice.

Restaurant number two has life and energy. It has good vibes. And the fact that most tables are occupied is the proof that it must be a great choice. The social persuasion of a full restaurant or a crowded store in the mall are often enough to draw others — even if they have to wait for a table or a sales associate.

This same social persuasion also occurs online, as in the case of reviews. The more complimentary reviews you read, the most this persuades our choice. Of course, social persuasion can work in reverse. The more negative reviews you read, the more likely you’ll book elsewhere. We call this social dissuasion.

What does this mean for your brand?

It means you must be diligent in delivering a quality brand experience in person and online. Both pieces work hand-in-hand. Deliver a crummy experience and you’ll hear about it online. And that crummy review will socially dissuade others away from your brand.

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner once said this about delivering a memorable brand experience:
“A brand is a living entity — and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.”

Deliver a small gesture, then deliver another and another. These gestures, cumulatively over time as Eisner suggests, will enrich your brand and your social persuasion.


Having tinkered with software and technology his entire life, it was only fitting for Andy Fritchley to wind up in a digital playground -- Kelsey -- a brand marketing and strategy firm. Through the Brand Establishment, Andy is one of a handful of Certified Brand Strategists in the nation, helping clients with brand development, interactive projects, social media strategies and killer creative work. You can find Andy on and Twitter.

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