Welcome to the latest installation of our weekly blog series – Psychological Hacks for Marketers. Each week we will introduce a new shortcut that the consumer’s brand takes and how the crafty marketer can take advantage. Last week’s topic was Reciprocity.

This week we are discussing:


The authority principle is a simple one to explain. People are more likely to trust you if it is immediately apparent to them that you have some authority in the area you are talking about, some credibility.

People trust experts. They don’t trust marketers. They don’t trust companies.

So marketers and companies would be wise to use authority to provide basis for their claims. Using authority can help convince customers that they can trust you.

Here are a few ways companies are using authority in their marketing:

  • Use of a celebrity spokesperson adds credibility, especially when there is some alignment between what the brand offers and the celebrity. For example, fashion brands use stars from Hollywood and social media influencers to showcase their products to consumers. If they wear it, that means its cool.
  • Similar to the concept above, the use of industry experts who speak on behalf of your company can also help add credibility to your claims. For example, most ads for medicines or nutritional products feature doctors.
  • Some companies simply choose to make up an authority. Flo, from Progressive, is an example of a fictional character who is used for this purpose. She represents the brand, but to many she is simply a real person who knows the deal and likes to help us out.
  • Word of mouth, reviews and ratings are also a form of authority marketing. It’s been reported time and again, that consumers trust other consumers’ recommendations. And so when you invest in word of mouth marketing, you are making your existing customers the authority.

Smart companies will recognize that in order to earn prospective customers’ trusts, they should employ some form of authority marketing.

Stay tuned next week for another installment of the Psychology Hacks series. Have a suggestion? Let us know.