The PR BlogMedia & PsychologyPersuasion & InfluencePriming in PR: The Subtle Art of Pre-Suasion

Priming in PR: The Subtle Art of Pre-Suasion

Move your audience into an actionable state-of-mind.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Priming is a pro­act­ive approach to persuasion.

Priming subtly shapes the audi­ence’s per­cep­tions, atti­tudes, and expect­a­tions even before the main mes­sage is delivered by care­fully sequen­cing vari­ous PR actions, such as media releases, social media engage­ment, and pub­lic events. 

Effective prim­ing ensures that the audi­ence is more recept­ive to the core mes­sage and helps build a nar­rat­ive that res­on­ates deeply with the val­ues and beliefs of stake­hold­ers and pub­lics.

Here we go:

Persuasion Through Priming

Persuasion Approach: Priming

Priming is a use­ful approach to persuasion:

Priming (in per­sua­sion) = the pro­act­ive pro­cess of mov­ing an audi­ence into an action­able state of mind through mul­tiple PR activ­it­ies in a pre-planned sequence. 

This pro­act­ive approach is cru­cial in today’s inform­a­tion-sat­ur­ated envir­on­ment, where cap­tur­ing and retain­ing audi­ence atten­tion is increas­ingly challenging. 

Priming can enhance memory recall, facil­it­ate brand pro­cessing, and influ­ence product pref­er­ences through vari­ous media.”
Source: Current opin­ion in psy­cho­logy 1Wänke, M. (2016). Primes as hid­den per­suaders. Current opin­ion in psy­cho­logy, 12, 63 – 66. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​1​6​/​J​.​C​O​P​S​Y​C​.​2​0​1​6​.​0​5​.​004

Inspired by the Priming Wheel, there are many examples of poten­tial prim­ing activ­it­ies in PR.

Here are a few examples:

  • Curiosity trig­ger. Encourage the recip­i­ent to seek inform­a­tion more act­ively. For example, entice them with an inter­act­ive ele­ment like a click­able link to get started.
  • Emotional hook. Connect with the recip­i­ent on a per­son­al level. Share a story that they can emo­tion­ally relate to, fos­ter­ing a deep­er con­nec­tion with your message.
  • Social proof. Alleviate the recipient’s appre­hen­sions by present­ing evid­ence of suc­cess from oth­ers. Utilize testi­mo­ni­als as a reas­sur­ing demon­stra­tion of third-party endorsements.
  • Small ask. Gently nudge the recip­i­ent towards a low-effort com­mit­ment. For instance, request them to briefly describe a chal­lenge they’re facing in exchange for a reward.
  • Value demon­stra­tion. Showcase the bene­fits of your pro­pos­al. Use visu­al or descript­ive meth­ods to high­light the advant­ages, focus­ing more on the bene­fits than the solution.
  • Mutual bene­fits. Build trust by illus­trat­ing how the recip­i­ent’s suc­cess bene­fits you. Clarify the recip­roc­al nature of the bene­fits, rein­for­cing mutu­al interest.
  • Trust test. Gauge the recip­i­ent’s trust in you by ask­ing them to take a small, trust-based action. For example, encour­age them to share your mes­sage with their network.
  • Common enemy. Unite the recip­i­ent against a shared chal­lenge or adversary. Provide a tan­gible depic­tion of this ‘enemy’ to solid­i­fy a sense of joint pur­pose and struggle.
  • Negative rein­force­ment. Illustrate the neg­at­ive out­comes of not tak­ing action. Present a vivid pic­ture of the worst-case scen­ario to under­score the import­ance of compliance.
  • Big ask (“The Sale”). Make a com­pel­ling case for imme­di­ate action. Present your offer with a sense of urgency, like a count­down, to prompt an imme­di­ate decision.
  • Feedback loop. Reinforce the recip­i­ent’s con­fid­ence in their decision or pur­chase. Offer encour­age­ment and express solid­ar­ity, strength­en­ing their con­vic­tion in their choice.
  • Referral ask. Show appre­ci­ation for the recip­i­ent’s opin­ion and net­work. Invite them to refer col­leagues with­in their industry in exchange for a reward, demon­strat­ing respect for their influ­ence and judgment.

Priming social con­cepts can have mul­tiple effects across psy­cho­lo­gic­al sys­tems, but under­stand­ing how these effects occur and how they are dis­tilled into non­con­scious social actions is cru­cial for under­stand­ing non­con­scious beha­vi­or.”
Source: European Journal of Social Psychology 2Bargh, J. (2006). What have we been prim­ing all these years? On the devel­op­ment, mech­an­isms, and eco­logy of non­con­scious social beha­vi­or. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36 2, … Continue read­ing

Learn more: Priming in PR: The Subtle Art of Pre-Suasion

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

Priming as Pre-Suasion

Pre-Suasion - Robert Cialdini
Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini.
Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Pre-Suasion: Robert Cialdini on Priming

In his book “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade,” Cialdini shares that suc­cess­ful per­suaders change people’s “state of mind” before try­ing to change their “minds.”

The best per­suaders become the best through pre-sua­sion — the pro­cess of arran­ging for recip­i­ents to be recept­ive to a mes­sage before they encounter it.”
— Robert Cialdini (author of Pre-Suasion) 3Cialdini, R. (2017, April 20). Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Amazon​.co​.uk. https://​www​.amazon​.co​.uk/​P​r​e​-​S​u​a​s​i​o​n​-​R​e​v​o​l​u​t​i​o​n​a​r​y​-​W​a​y​-​I​n​f​l​u​e​n​c​e​-​P​e​r​s​u​a​d​e​/​d​p​/​1​8​4​7​9​4​1​4​35/

Learn more: Pre-Suasion: Robert Cialdini on Priming (to be published)

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.


Please sup­port my PR blog by shar­ing it with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: Persuasion

Since we can­not change real­ity, let us change the eyes which see real­ity.”
— Nikos Kazantzakis

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Doctor Spin’s PR School: Free Persuasion PR Course

Use this free Persuasion PR Course to elev­ate your pub­lic rela­tions game with power­ful insights. Drive impact and influ­ence like nev­er before.

Learn more: All Free PR Courses

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Wänke, M. (2016). Primes as hid­den per­suaders. Current opin­ion in psy­cho­logy, 12, 63 – 66. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​1​6​/​J​.​C​O​P​S​Y​C​.​2​0​1​6​.​0​5​.​004
2 Bargh, J. (2006). What have we been prim­ing all these years? On the devel­op­ment, mech­an­isms, and eco­logy of non­con­scious social beha­vi­or. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36 2, 147 – 168. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​0​2​/​E​J​S​P​.​336
3 Cialdini, R. (2017, April 20). Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Amazon​.co​.uk. https://​www​.amazon​.co​.uk/​P​r​e​-​S​u​a​s​i​o​n​-​R​e​v​o​l​u​t​i​o​n​a​r​y​-​W​a​y​-​I​n​f​l​u​e​n​c​e​-​P​e​r​s​u​a​d​e​/​d​p​/​1​8​4​7​9​4​1​4​35/
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

.

Subscribe to Spin Control—it’s 100% free!

Join 2,550+ fellow PR lovers and subscribe to Jerry’s free newsletter on communication and psychology.
What will you get?

> PR commentary on current events.
> Subscriber-only VIP content.
> My personal PR slides for .key and .ppt.
> Discounts on upcoming PR courses.
> Ebook on getting better PR ideas.
Subscribe to Spin Control today by clicking SUBMIT and get your first send-out instantly.


🔒 Your email address is safe with me.

Latest Posts
Similar Posts
Most Popular