1.5 Minutes on Influence: Unleash the Power of Identity Framing and Selling Just About Anything,

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,



Where I live in Amsterdam, the whole city is full of announcements urging everyone to vote in the European elections in June. Encouraging people to vote is a desired behaviour that has been deeply studied in behavioural psychology. This research has led to a fascinating insight that I want to share with you today, as it can be valuable beyond just voting, helping you in leadership, sales, or getting people to engage in other positive behaviours.

It’s all about the power of identity framing to shape desired behaviours, perceptions and preferences.

In my book “The Art of Designing Behaviour,” I describe a fascinating example involving American voters and the power of identity framing to influence behaviour. Researchers aimed to increase voter turnout among individuals with a low to moderate likelihood of voting. They sent out “get-out-the-vote” letters. Instead of mentioning an action (“Go out and vote”), the letters emphasized the recipient’s identity, with a message that read: “You are a voter.”

This had a significant impact on voter turnout. The intervention using the message “you are a voter” increased voter turnout by approximately 15% among those who received the message compared to those who did not.

Important to know is that we humans crave consistency in our identities.

What we are feels more permanent than what we do. Just compare these: Do you love bread or are you a bread lover? Do you innovate or are you an innovator?

Using identity framing can help acknowledge and reinforce someone’s past behaviour which in turn can encourage them to act consistently with that identity in the future.

This means that the way we label people can impact their behaviour.

But there’s more.

Identity framing also influences the preference of others and how we see ourselves. In a study, participants judged people based on statements like “Susan eats a lot of chocolate” (using action verbs) versus “Susan is a chocolate-eater” (describing their identity using nouns).

When someone was described with identity framing, participants saw them as stronger, more stable, and more resilient.

A positive secondary effect of using identity framing is that it activates social proof and a sense of belonging. If you vote, you might be on your own. If you are a voter, it feels like you belong to a group of like-minded people. Behavioural research has proven time and again that people prefer to follow the actions of others.

How can you use this yourself?

When you use words, remember not just to mention desired actions but also to use identities by employing nouns. Not “Go out and vote,” but “Be a voter.” If you want to sell a course, don’t sell “A course on leadership” but “A course for leaders”.

By the way, if you ever have to give someone feedback, identity framing can also help you convey tough messages. Instead of saying, “I have to let people go (action) to provide a stable workplace,” say, “It is my role as a leader (identity) to ensure everyone is ensured a stable workplace, and sometimes that means having to let people go.” Feel the difference?

Using identity framing thoughtfully can significantly influence behaviour, perceptions and preferences.

Are you a forward-thinker?

We have translated the most groundbreaking insights from the psychology of influence into practical methods and tools. We teach these in our two-day Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course. You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for teams. But it is especially suited for forward-thinkers.

Want to read my book in Dutch? It is called ‘De Kunst van Gedrag Ontwerpen’ and can be ordered here.


How to Sell a Copy Machine (or Anything Else)

Have you ever seen the series “Better Call Saul”? Sometimes it has brilliant nuggets of wisdom. Like this scene in which Saul tries to sell a copy machine. It is a true masterclass in pitching. Here’s why 👇

  1. He’s not selling the copy machine; instead, he’s pitching the Job-to-be-Done: the way a high-performance copy machine is critical to the success of the company.
  2. He’s selling the pain by painting a vivid picture of what it means to own a copy machine that doesn’t work.
  3. He’s introducing a sense of urgency: You will lose out on an opportunity if you don’t hire me on the spot.

This is a masterclass in pitching. Enjoy this 3.26-minute scene:


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Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.