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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

The Hidden Persuaders - 80/20 Summary

Updated: Feb 21, 2022


Mental Models from the book:

'The Hidden Persuaders' can be summarised into 8 mental models:

1. Desire
  • People pay less for soap compared to a cream. Soap only makes you clean while the cream sells the hope of beauty. You are buying the promise. We do not buy vegetables, we buy the hope of health. We do not buy a car, we buy the promise of prestige.

  • "When irrational acts are committed knowingly they become a delicious luxury."

  • Hidden motivations are:

    1. Emotional Security

    2. Reassurance of Worth

    3. Ego Gratification

    4. Creative Outlets

    5. Sense of Power

    6. Roots

    7. Immortality

2. Ego
  • Create the image that people want to see of themselves and sell that.

3. Emotions: Guilt
  • When buying, there is often conflict between pleasure and guilt. When selling, provide moral permission for the person to have fun without guilt. Offer absolution:. "You deserve it" or "It's the right thing to do."

4. Resistance
  • There are two opposing forces 'desire' and 'resistance' when one is greater than the other, the purchasing decision is made. The longer the decision is being considered, the higher the tension becomes, and eventually, the purchase will be made.

  • A great marketer has the ability to express powerful, hidden reasonings indirectly because some reasoning is socially unacceptable. They can not be expressed openly. The buyer would reject them.

5. Sampling
  • Even when people know their likes and dislike you cannot trust them to be accurate. The answers they will tell you are those that think sound sensible, intelligent, and rational.

6, Second-Order Thinking
  • Do not trust people to act in a rational manner. Their behavior makes sense when you consider their deeper needs, goals, and motives.

7. Specialization
  • You want the customer to be loyal and loving towards your brand even when there is little difference between your products and your competition. To create this 'illogical loyalty' create differentiation in the mind of the buyer.

8. Status
  • Conspicuous Reserve - A common technique of people in a secure, high social position. The desire to show their status but to do so in a modest way. They show their superiority by highlighting their indifference to status. They buy old station wagons and deliberately downgrade.

  • Status symbols are important to people caught in a stratified company (or life).

  • Products that are too good or too high status may cause people to ask: "Am I good enough for this product?"


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