Author: MOS Translation Group – GBW
Imagine you are staring at 20 different brands of toothpaste in a supermarket. Which brand will you pick? Imagine you just hear from a community organizer yelling through a loudspeaker about the benefits of taking the Covid-19 vaccine. Will you get a shot? Your decisions could be influenced by what you see and hear every day. People are constantly bombarded by messages from advertisers and politicians. In authoritarian countries, the states use propaganda to brainwash and manipulate people. Whether it’s a sales pitch or evil brainwashing, the underlying techniques to influence others are very similar.
This article will review six common tricks to persuade people. We will give examples in Western countries and in Communist China. You might want to use these tricks in your work and life, or it may help you make better decisions. Some of the techniques mentioned in this article are well documented in the best seller “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini. At the end of this article, we will also point out what differentiates a successful sales pitch from an evil brainwashing scheme.
The most simple technique to influence other people is to repeat your message. How many times is enough? The Rule of Seven says that a consumer needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action and buy. Now, recall the brand of toothpaste you buy, is it the one you see and hear the most frequently on TV and social media?
To brainwash people, more repetition is required. The famous Nazi propagandist Goebbels said, “Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth.” If you grew up in Communist China, you probably cannot even count how many times you see the message that “Only the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can save China.” This sentence shows up over and over again in the textbooks and in the red songs that praise the CCP.
Contrast is a technique to give people some perspective because many things such as quality and price are in relative terms. For example, a property agent usually shows the potential renters at least two properties. The first property is worn out and asking for market rent. The second one is good and reasonably priced. Such comparison will help the renter quickly zero in on the second property. Price discount is another way of anchoring. Many sellers will post a nominal price and a discount price or offer a higher price for non-members and a lower price for members. Optically, the contrast makes the desirable product even more desirable.
In Communist China, the state media is very negative about western democratic countries to make Chinese feel good about their own country. If you only read Communist China state media’s reports about the U.S., you will think that the U.S. is a corrupt country with rampant racism and gun violence, and the U.S. is jealous about rising China. In comparison, the state media paints a beautiful picture that Chinese people live in a harmonious society and the country can make any great achievement by dedicating the entire nation’s resources to a common goal.
People tend to listen to authorities, especially on issues that require special knowledge. For example, you often see doctors in pharmaceutical product advertisements. When it comes to drugs, people are more likely to listen to a doctor than a celebrity or a billionaire. In the movie “Catch Me if You Can,” Frank Abagnale successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a pilot, a doctor, and a prosecutor.
The CCP took advantage of this trick and fooled the world about the origin of the Covid-19. The CCP created Covid-19 through the “gain of function” experiments using the PLA exclusively-owned Zhoushan bat virus as the backbone. During the early stage of the Covid-19 outbreak, Dr. Peter Daszak and Dr. Anthony Fauci who were compromised by the CCP, knowingly told the world that the virus originated from animals and brushed off the “lab-origin” theory as a conspiracy. Because Fauci and Daszak represented authority in science, the world believed in them until recently, Fauci flipped in front of strong evidence of a lab origin. On the other hand, before the Covid-19 outbreak spread throughout the world, Dr. Li-Meng Yan from WHO’s reference lab in Hong Kong, who has first-hand knowledge of the situation, risked her life to tell the world the truth and she was suppressed by Fauci and the mainstream media. In the meantime, 3.7 million people died from the Covid-19 worldwide.
Americans have been taught in school to have independent thinking and question the authorities. Even in the US, it took so long to get the truth of the Covid-19 to the people because of the compromised scientists. In Communist China, the schools train students to focus on finding the only correct answer in exams. And the correct answer is whatever the teacher says. As a result, the Chinese students don’t care about facts, good or evil, they only focus on the “right” answer defined by the authority. Even today, most Chinese believe that the Covid-19 is a bioweapon from the U.S. because that’s what the CCP state media has been saying.
The reciprocation technique exploits people’s willingness to repay kindness from others. Giving people some small gifts will help your sales. According to a study, waiters who give two candies along with the bill to the diners are getting on average 14% more tips than those who simply stick a plain bill to the customer.
In Communist China, the CCP regime usually doesn’t give out incentives to people unless they are selling something of poor quality. At the early stage of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in China, the CCP handed out free milk and eggs to entice the Chinese to take the vaccine despite many studies published abroad had shown the Chinese Covid-19 vaccines are ineffective and unsafe. The health risks from taking the vaccine definitely outweigh the benefit of free food. The reasonable action is not to take the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine.
People tend to like the things recommended by the people they like. Celebrities are widely used in advertising to sell products to their fans. The CCP applies the liking technique in a very sneaky way. You probably know that the CCP regime leases pandas to other countries, and this is known as panda diplomacy. Pandas are very cute. However, when people associate panda with the CCP, they tend to disbelieve the reports of the evil acts by the CCP regime, for example, releasing the Covid-19 and genocide in Xinjiang.
6. Social proof
You probably often hear or read such lines in advertising that so and so many people choose our products. When you search for some product online, do you sort the results by sales? This is the technique called social proof. Social proof makes sense in most cases. If the product is bought by many people, it must be good. The caveat is that the large number of buyers are real.
In Communist China, social proof is often an illusion. There is no free speech in China. The messages Chinese people receive from the state media and social media are completely programmed by the CCP. Back to the Covid-19 vaccine example, if you tell your Chinese family that the Chinese vaccines have a high risk of killing people, you often hear this reply, “more than half of the country have taken the vaccine, there is no report of death. Do you think those people are stupid?” Then you have to explain that the CCP is not telling the truth. You continue to say more than 100 people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine in Hong Kong, so it’s impossible that nobody has died from the Covid-19 vaccine in China.
The Nine-story Witch Pagoda of the CCP’s Disinformation Campaign
The CCP actually has a manual for its Cyber army. The manual describes nine schemes to manipulate people in China and outside China. Let’s review two techniques in this manual that are unique to the CCP.
The first trick is to discredit competing media or key opinion leaders with disinformation. Recently, there were rumors that a high-ranking Chinese official Dong Jingwei with information of the Covid-19 fled China and cooperated with the US. The news was initially promoted by many CCP-backed fake dissidents and later picked up by mainstream media such as Fox News and Epoch Times. After a few days, the CCP state media showed an image of Dong Jingwei attending official events. By releasing fake news of Dong’s defection and debunking it, the CCP has successfully discredited the western media that reported the fake news. The CCP’s real intention is to make people doubt the mainstream media’s reports on the truth of the Covid-19.
The second trick is to confuse readers. In early May, a teenage boy jumped off a building in No. 49 High School in Chengdu, China. According to the boy’s mother’s social media account, the school didn’t notify the parents until hours after the boy’s death and the school rushed to cremate the body without giving the parents a chance to see the boy. The school also denied the parents access to CCTV footage, which might show the cause of the death. Other parents heard the story and protested outside the school demanding the truth. Some parents were taken away by the police. In the meantime, the CCP media floated a few versions of the cause of the deaths, such as suicide after being bullied by peers and murder by a teacher. Later, the CCP “debunked” the theories by saying the boy killed himself because he had emotional problems after being rejected by a girl. Later, the boy’s parents went radio silent and people quickly forgot this incident. This is a standard maneuver by the CCP to confuse the Chinese long enough before they shift to the next trending news, so there’s no justice in China.
Differentiate Successful Sales Pitch from Brainwashing
You can see that the most common techniques of repetition, contrast, authority, reciprocation, liking, and social proof for sales and brainwashing are essentially the same. The difference is what is been sold to the people. When you sell a good product, it makes your customer happy, and it’s a successful sales pitch. However, if you sell a bad product by manipulating your customers, they will suffer and won’t come back to you. Like selling a harmful product, the CCP’s propaganda plants disinformation and Communism in Chinese people’s minds, which is brainwashing.
The solution to making good decisions under others’ influence is to question, identify truths and think with logic. The process of “distrust and verify” will help you find the information source that consistently telling the truth, and with some common sense, you can reach the right conclusion.
Proofreader: Irene | Posted by Irene
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