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Published April 19th 2017

How To Make People Say Yes

How often do you say yes? Would you like to make people say yes more? Learn how to make your customers, prospects, critics and fans, say yes more.

How often do you say yes?

For me, it’s far too often.

I’m a patsy, easily swayed by a good deal, known by my co-workers, as a lover of cheap Sushi on offer at the local pharmacy (it really isn’t as bad as it sounds).

But what makes me say yes? Because even I turn down some offers, why do I have preference over one thing and not another?

As marketers, this is more important than it sounds. In fact, it’s paramount to our jobs.

What makes us say yes?

‘Man is by nature a social animal’ (Aristotle). We are influenced, whether we like it or not, by the power of other people and groups.

Everybody we interact with has the power to influence in some way.

My co-worker’s new phone could encourage me to buy an Android, whereas my brother’s dodgy haircut reminds me to never sport a topknot.

However, some people (and some brands) have more influence than others, especially if they have some kind of social power.

What is social power and why is it important?

Social power is the capacity to alter the actions of others. Sounds simple right?

The crux is that there are six specific sources of social power. If a brand, person, marketing campaign etc. possesses one of these powers, the reader, customer or viewer is more likely to say yes. 

The six social powers:

1. Referent power

People or groups with qualities we admire, so we copy their behaviors. Example: Adidas pay Messi to wear its boots. Every child around the world who wants to play football like Messi, is more likely to purchase these boots.

2. Legitimate power 

True authority because of an official role a person occupies. Example: We’re more likely to buy a toothpaste if our dentist tells us to buy it.

3. Reward power 

The ability to give rewards to those who follow the behavior they advise. Example: Buy one, get another free.

4. Infomation power 

Someone who possesses valuable information can alter behaviors. Example: A YouTuber, who has used a product and posts a review.

5. Expert Power 

People who possess renowned knowledge in a specific area. Example: When Seth Godin gives marketing advice, we tend to listen.

6. Coercive power 

The ability to punish someone if they don’t follow an action. Example: You can lose your frequent flyers lounge card if you don’t use an airline for over a year.

How to use them

If you’re looking to convince someone with your marketing, you could use these as a litmus test for your work.

Ask yourself, does my work possess any of these powers? If it did, would it seem more compelling?

At Brandwatch we try to use social power in our marketing in a number of different ways. Some we think work, others we’re not so sure about.


  • Information power: we try to flip this one on its head. We give our customers ‘information power’ so they can influence behavior throughout their business. See Vizia 2 launch.


  • Coercive power: with some launches, we tell our audiences that they can’t live without some data. If they did, they’d inevitably make incorrect decisions. See APAC launch.


  • Referent power: we’re fortunate to work with some brilliantly innovative brands. We try to leverage that by using them in our marketing collateral. See Bimbo client video.


So, if you find yourself (like I often do) looking endlessly into yet another blog, one pager or product guide, wondering what to say to make your message just a little more impactful, try focusing your content around one of these powers.

Doing so might make people say yes.

Have you used these before? If so, let us know how it went in the comments.

Interested in seeing more of our marketing? Read about our latest experiment with Facebook Live. 

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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.