Trust Me, I'm a Doctor of Philosophy

This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement Persuasiveness>


Trust us, we look like scientists.
(Clinique cosmetic consultants)
You see the guy you just cut off in your rearview mirror, gesturing for you to pull over. You don’t. He puts a flashing light on his dashboard. Now you pull over, because Authority is persuasive.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board
tells you what content is appropriate.
Authority is the sense that the source of the proposition has some power over you, perhaps as a result of official mandate (police, for example), expertise in the subject at hand ( “9 out of 10 dentists recommend toothpaste n”), or possibly just an overbearing attitude (“just do it”).

Epson invokes the PC Magazine Editor's Choice
stamp of approval
Examples of appeal to authority on the web include the use of stamps of approval such as PCMag’s Editor’s Choice, or content ratings like the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). These certifications signal the approval of authority, increasing the chance people will be persuaded to say yes to your proposition.

Bottom line

  • Show the basis of your authority, including expertise and recognised accomplishments.
  • Where possible, show stamps of approval or certifications from recognized impartial authorities.

Did I mention I'm a doctor (of Philosophy)?  Please leave your questions in the comments field below. Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.


  1. Interestingly the 'need' for authority or validation of some kind stating that's a good product arises from the spread of poor quality products that look alike.

    The less we have quality, meaningful and useful products/services the more we cry for authority to rescue/protect us (to some extent).

    There seems to be something wrong with the way societies make money... for the sake of making money to survive.
    Isn't there another dozens of ways?
    How could those ways become a possibility?


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