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The Great Persuaders

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Amy Rohn

"A messy desk is the sign of a brilliant mind."

As we gear up for Brandworks University (May 24 –26), we’ve been talking a lot about persuasion here at LSB. We’ve been discussing principles of persuasion and are all looking forward to Dr. Cialdini’s presentation as if he were some rock-star celebrity coming to visit us. (Yeah, we’re all a bit dorky about this stuff here at LSB.)

But an interesting thing happened in a meeting earlier this week. Several of us were talking about persuasion and the conversation turned from persuasion to persuaders. While there is plenty of research on persuasion techniques, and we’ll be learning more about that at Brandworks, there is less out there on who the great persuaders are. Who are the standouts when it comes to persuasion, whether by design or intuition?

Specifically, we asked the question, “Who are history’s great persuaders?” and “Who are the great persuaders of today and what do they have in common?” We talked about historical figures and fictional characters.

The conversation ran the gamut from the expected (President Barak Obama, former President Ronald Regan) to the provocative (the serpent in the Garden of Eden, Hitler) and interesting (P.T. Barnum, Tom Sawyer) but at no point in our conversation did anybody mention a marketer.

Shouldn’t marketers, after all, be the pinnacle of great persuaders? Isn’t that what we are all about?

And while many marketers may not be household names, nobody even mentioned a campaign or offer, “How about the team that came up with (INSERT YOUR FAVORITE SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN HERE)?”

So we put the question out to you, loyal reader, who are the great persuaders in your mind? Any marketers among them?

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