If You Want to Persuade, Frame Things as Experience

Think about a purchase that has improved your life in a significant way. For me, it’s my Boston Terrier pup Octavian. The experiences I’ve had with him have been truly life-changing. 

Most things that you will spend money on in your life will have both sides: a material side (you own a Tesla) and an experiential side that they facilitate (you love the feeling of listening to music in your Tesla on a road trip). 

Best selling author Daniel Pink talks about this in his Masterclass:

“When social scientists have looked at what people remember and what they value, they tend to remember and value experiences more than goods and services. So they derive satisfaction, not from say the television itself that they just purchased but from the experience of sitting around with your family wathcing a musical. Or having a regular Sunday night movie night. The experience is more valuable. 

Daniel Pink in his persuasion Masterclass

This has important implications for sales and marketing, and for deriving life satisfaction from your own purchases and decisions.

Recreationally, I do experimental painting. That just means that I’m not an artist, I don’t think of myself as one, but I do enjoy splashing bright colors on canvases to see what weird shapes come out. Because I enjoy the actual process of creating these, every time I finish one and hang it on my wall, it’s a reminder of the enjoyable experience I had while making it. The satisfaction doesn’t come from the thing itself but from the association with past enjoyment.

There is also the surprise element to experience that is important. Exposure to randomness makes things more memorable. The fact that I don’t know how a painting is going to turn out makes it more fun. The fact that I don’t know what goofy thing my dog is going to do at any given moment makes me enjoy his company more.

When trying to persuade someone of something, it’s the experience that you must speak to — the actual product is secondary. This is why good copywriters will talk about the negative experience of suffering through some problem, only at the end revealing that their product solves the problem. That’s framing as experience. 

Daniel Pink would agree:

“Take what you are selling, whether it is an idea, or a product, and put it in terms of an experience.” 

Daniel Pink in his Masterclass on Persuasion

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