6 Principles of Persuasion Explained With Propaganda Posters by Invaluable [Sales]

Editor's Note: This article first appeared on Invaluable and was curated by Closer Spot. Please subscribe to get actionable news and advice delivered to your inbox each week.

The ability to influence large groups of people is a powerful skill. Today, media has become one of the preeminent tools of influence, where public figures, authors, actors, musicians and politicians alike can communicate directly with large groups of people. Following the royal wedding in April of 2011, the fashion choices of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, created a phenomenon deemed the “Kate Effect” in which anything she wore flew off retail shelves. In 2015 alone the Duchess’ fashion brought more than $205 million to the British economy, and her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, is predicted to bring $677 million, an example of the power of influence, and media’s role in its proliferation.

Before the rise of the social media influencer, however, advertising and propaganda posters were some of the most powerful persuasion tools available. Propaganda posters have been used for decades to inspire, educate, and galvanize the public. Whether you are selling a product, a war, or an idea, advertising can be a powerful tool to inform and persuade your audience. Propaganda posters from the 19th and 20th centuries addressed topics ranging from patriotism to healthcare to feminism.

In 1984, persuasion expert Dr. Robert Cialdini first developed “The 6 Principles of Persuasion,” which has become a recognized framework for understanding the science behind persuasion and manipulation. In his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” Dr. Cialdini discusses this framework and the science behind persuasion across a variety of media. These tactics include reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus.

In this piece, we’ll examine six vintage propaganda posters and identify the principles of persuasion used in each to convey its message – from the call-to-action to the imagery selected by the artist.