Today we move on to the principle of “Authority,” from Robert Cialdini’s best-selling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

The Authority principle states that people will follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts. Here’s an example that the author shared to give you an idea of this principle in action.

Several years ago, there was a TV commercial featuring actor Robert Young counseling people against the dangers of caffeine and recommending caffeine-free Sanka Brand coffee. The commercial was extremely successful, selling so much coffee that it was played for years in several versions. But why was this commercial so effective? Why on earth would we take Robert Young’s word for the health consequences of decaffeinated coffee?  Because-as the advertising agency that hired him knew perfectly well- he is associated in the minds of the American public with Marcus Welby, M.D., the role he played in an earlier long-running television series.

When you step back and think about it objectively, it makes no sense that so many people would be swayed by the comments of a man we know to be just an actor.  But it worked.  Wonderfully, I might add.

Therefore, it doesn’t always have to be an actual status of authority, even the appearance of authority can be highly persuasive, as was the case mentioned above.  Very interesting, indeed.

How Can This Apply To Photography?

There are several ways that you can use the principle of Authority in your photography business.  Let’s talk about two briefly.

1. Getting Your Work Published. Having your work published or featured can be a great way to increase your authority and credibility to clients, both current and prospective.  With so many outlets searching for great photography, this isn’t nearly as tough as it used to be back when you were trying to get your work printed in a magazine publication.  Then, after it has been published, be sure to make mention of that fact in your marketing.  It doesn’t have to be arrogant or anything like that but don’t discount the power of authority that getting your work published can create.

2. Focus Your Photography On A Narrow Niche.  When you specialize in a narrowly targeted section of the market, you are perceived as more of an expert.  Don’t think so?  Answer this question: who gets paid more – the pediatric brain surgeon or the general family practitioner?  The pediatric brain surgeon, of course, because he’s a specialist and caters his work to a very select group of people.  Remember the saying: “There’s riches in niches!” For more information on selecting a narrow target market, watch this 11-min. video.

Can you come up with other ways to apply the power of Authority to your photography business?  Let’s hear them.  Email me or leave a comment below.