Authority simply determines people to react, not to think. When somebody who owes an important hierarchical position or a certain degree(Dr., Prof. etc.), he is more likely to convince others to obey.
When one’s job is to do something, he/she will do that thing( if he/she does not owe a business). Sometimes, people just blindly listen to what an authority has to say; they’re not thinking anymore because they believe that the authority is simply right, by default. This fact was proven by professor Cialdini’s research in order to publish his book : “Influence. The psychology of Persuasion”.
Take the example of a doctor. Everybody listens to the doctor; very few are actually doubting his opinion. The idea of “using an expert to influence others to comply” is used mainly in advertising, when brands use the image of appreciated and rewarded professionals to talk in front of their audience. The authority of the experts’ degree convince people to trust the brand and buy its products.
The same principle applies in e-marketing, where online stores can use it in order to grow their conversion rates.
Shopkitson is an online store that reunites multiple brands on the website. Each brand has its identity but all of them have something in common: they represent the style of L.A., the celebrities’ style. In order to increase their sales, Shopkitson is using the principle of authority, to convince prospects that celebrities are the experts, the ones who are setting-up the trends.
For example, Supra, an urban brand with a targeted demographic of teenagers, chose to displayed on Shopkitson website a photo of Justin Bieber wearing a Supra hat .
Another example is Brian Lichtenberg HOMIES. Many celebrities are wearing it and this means a lot for an addicted fashionista living in the United States, who’s favorite singers are Rihannna and Beyonce.
Another example of an online store that is using this tactic is Boutiquetoyou.com who is displaying on the Home Page pictures of celebrities wearing their products on the streets.
The fact that the snapshots are not edited or the results of a photo-shooting, gives the targeted audience the incentive to buy it. So, the result is just a reaction, not a process of thinking. When they see it, they love it, they press the button and they buy it. Just think about: a simple photo of the bag would influence one visitor to do all of that?
Have you convinced yourself that authority is truly a weapon of influence?