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The Principle of Scarcity

The ELM model provides insights into how people today are open to persuasion in a world of info-besity.

We can surmise that many of our audiences perceive themselves to be drowning in a sea of data. In addition, the traditional sources of authority that helped them sift what is relevant and true are now in crisis: think of declining trust in government, corporates and even NGOs let alone the rise of fake news.

Audiences lack the time to filter information and they do not know who to trust to help them do it. So, we can conclude the central route to persuasion used by many organisations which would be to state the facts of their case is not going to have the sway such an approach perhaps had in the past.
By contrast we can see how the peripheral approach to persuasion is possibly more suited to today’s world. Catchy visuals, smart web design, the use of celebrities, hashtags and the viral video are more likely to have the cut-through we need.

This need not necessarily be about dumbing down debate but rather taking it one step further to get quickly to the heart of the matter in an engaging way. After all I have heard more than one journalist remark it is easier to write for The Times than the Sun.

Many writers suggest we return to the works of Aristotle who was writing in the 4th Century BC if we want to sharpen up our persuasive skills.