CopyBlogger describes six principles of persuasion. I'm addressing each one here at Selling Compassion with practical ideas for activism. This is the fourth of the series. Part 1 was: The Power of Reciprocation, part 2 was: Commitment and Consistency, part 3 was: Attracting Allies, and part 4 was: Popularity.

Today: Authority

Authority — In this age of specialization, we are more prone to respond to authority than ever before. Regardless of an independent spirit, we look to experts or those we perceive to be experts to give us the answers and show us the way. Even the mere symbols of authority, such as titles and specialized clothing, are enough to trigger a response. Example: Note how seeing someone with a white smock and stethoscope instantly suggests “doctor” and makes anything that person says about medicine seem more authoritative.

Application: Provide signs and symbols of expertise. Establish your expertise by providing solid information. Show your credentials. Create trustworthiness by admitting flaws or shortcomings and demonstrating lack of bias. Show similarities between you and your prospect or customer. Cite awards, reviews, speaking engagements, and books you’ve authored.
Here are some basic things you can do (in your own animal advocacy) to increase your authority:
  • Use proper grammar and spelling.
  • Cite your sources.
  • Don't use the passive voice.
  • Educate yourself: knowledge is power.
Regarding vegan advocacy, Matt Ball makes this claim:
"it is imperative that we present information the public won’t regard as ludicrous and from sources that they won’t dismiss as partisan."
In fact, some organizations recommend using the animal exploiters' information against them. When we use their own photos and articles, the public can't claim it's biased or isolated.

Exposing Institutionalized Cruelty from Let Live Foundation on Vimeo.

For example, this video below comes from the pig farming industry and can't be called pro-vegan whatsoever, yet the video clearly demonstrates the inherent cruelty in the industry:

  • Mother pigs (sows) don’t have enough room to turn around
  • Pigs (hogs) are confined indoors without access to sunshine, grass, or mud
  • Ear tags: a form of mutilation
  • Runt piglets are separated from their mothers
Another way to use authority to "sell compassion" is to promote the works of authoritative figures within the animal rights movement, such as:

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Please keep it civil. No anti-animal (including humans) discussion.