Dave Drove a Ford

When I first started thinking about this post being based on chapter 3 material I couldn’t decide how I wanted to narrow down the ideas to a specific story or idea to write about, so I started browsing YouTube commercials that we watched in class to see if it would spark something for me. Next, I began browsing other commercials for brands that I like and I kept a close eye on how the companies used different elements to express the qualities of the companies that made me like them. One of my favorites was done by Chevrolet.

In my example Chevrolet shows a man and his dog driving out of the rubble of a building in a Chevy truck in what appears to be the end of time. They drive through the fiery debris of a city and meet other guys standing in front of their trucks in a semi-circle. The man gets out, walks up to their circle, and asks where his friend Dave is. One of the guys shakes his head, looks very serious, and says, “Dave didn’t drive the longest-lasting, most dependable truck on the road. Dave drove a Ford.” Obviously the company is focusing on the reliability of its product and implying that other brands such as Ford aren’t good enough to even really compare. It is seeking to create a brand personality that stands out.

As we discussed in class, and an online management study guide re-iterates, ” Brand personality is the way a brand speaks and behaves. It means assigning human personality traits/characteristics to a brand so as to achieve differentiation.” Our book gives a more in-depth explanation of this when it talks about attitudes as associative networks. It likens our attitudes, beliefs, and values to a spider’s web and says that persuaders try to create connections among these networks. In its commercial Chevrolet was trying to create a connection between its truck and satisfaction in something tough and long-lasting.

When companies can help or cause consumers to associate positive things with their products and services they create brand loyalty and thus increase the chances of the customer becoming a loyal customer. A company depends on its consumers to run, so loyal customers generally equate to prosperity for that company. It has  been said that “the consumer owns the brand.” If the company does not create brand loyalty it will not succeed, and it creates brand loyalty by creating a brand personality.

I have a Chevrolet truck that has been both very tough and reliable, so I had brand loyalty based on personal experience before I saw the commercial. Watching the commercial made me smile and re-enforced my belief that I have a great truck.

Why take it?

Persuasion affects everyone to a certain extent every day whether we realize it or not. When I stopped and thought about a time that I was consciously persuaded by something or someone I thought about the beginning of this semester.

I came to MSU as a guest student for a variety of reasons and I was only required to take this class. However, my boyfriend had told me several times in the months before that I should take the Basic Horsemanship class. I love horses, I work with horses on a regular basis, and I am always looking for ways to improve my horsemanship, so it seemed like a great idea at first. However, I knew I had to have 300 hrs in an internship this semester, I had to take this Persuasion Communication class, and I had to possibly look for a part-time job so it didn’t look like it was going to happen.

My boyfriend knew all of this and he presented his case very well by elaborating on how good the teacher was, how much he learned, and how much fun it was. He repeated multiple times that I would like it and that I should take it despite my busy schedule. I wasn’t completely sold on it by the end of the summer, but I was close. Furthermore, after my boyfriend and I broke up I knew that I would have to stay at MSU this semester to graduate in December and if I decide to stay in Murray longer I can’t take other riding classes without taking Basic Horsemanship first. I thought about all of those things a great deal and then decided to give it a shot.

After reading Chapter 3 in our book I saw how the Theory of Reasoned Action had taken effect. My boyfriend positively influenced my belief about the outcome, that is that I would learn new things and have fun, and the evaluation of the outcome, that he would be happy if I did it and others would see what a better rider I was. Those things in turn positively influenced my attitude about taking the class, which in turn influenced my behavioral intention.

I also read an article by AJ Kumar called “5 Techniques that Make You Powerful, Persuasive, & Influential.” Three of those techniques contributed significantly to my decision: The “Because” Technique, the Social Expectancy Effect, and the Half & Half Technique.

A second article I read that held some relevancy to my situation was “Influence and Persuasion Techniques Not Typically Shared.” It discussed Social Validation and Liking/Friendship as did our book and the previous article, but it also touched on scarcity, which in my case was a very big deal. One of the biggest reasons I decided to take the class was because I knew it wouldn’t be offered next semester and I couldn’t take other classes without it.

We have discussed in class the number of ways people are bombarded with thousands of persuasive messages everyday, and we have touched on several reasons they are effective. By reading the material I did and applying it to the above-mentioned situation I was able to take our class discussions and make them relevant to everyday life. It also further ingrained the persuasive techniques in my mind through simple repetition of material.

Why is Persuasion Important in Non-Profit Organizations?

As a future professional in the non-profit world I believe it is most beneficial to look at why persuasion is so critical to the success of non-profit organizations.

The most prevalent reason is that non-profit organizations rely almost completely on fundraising efforts and donations to prosper or many times to even survive. It is my job then, as a professional, to persuade others to give to my organization. In order to accomplish that goal I have to persuade them to buy into the vision and mission of the organization. I have to persuade them that it is important. Greg Bowden reiterates this when he says, “we seek to persuade. Not just to help people understand our mission but to convince them to make it their own.” He even takes it a step further and touches on persuausion tactics by pointing out that, “Persuasion relies on the individual becoming more invested in the mission. We must impress upon them our own sense of urgency and passion, but do so in such a way that makes their decision to become more involved seem their own.”

Our book defines persuasion as a process that involves one or more persons, also known as interpersonal relationships. Relationships are the foundation for nonprofit organizations because without them you cannot fundraise or ask for gifts effectively. A website I found discusses community organization fundraising as it pertains to nonprofit organizations. One of the points it emphasizes is the principle of authority. Simply put, they use people in positions of authority to persuade others and to try to build relationships. I believe that this principle has validity and can be a useful tool. By using a person in a position of power you are using their credibilty to build your own credibilty.

To sum up what I just said and reiterate what was discussed in class, persuasion is a pervasive tool that is constantly being used in every business and organization. When used correctly persuasion can help non-profit organizations build credibilty, build relationships, and increase donations and fundraising, which results in its sustainability.