Perfecting the Art of Persuasion Through the Elaboration Likelihood Model

The elaboration likelihood model theory states that depending on how the active audience member processes messages or information, it can often lead to attitudes or behaviors being changed. Generally, this is done in two specific ways: The central route, which means the information is actively processed and the individual evaluated in a rational manner. And the peripheral route, where the receiver does not actively process the information, at least not in a cognitive sense, but instead relies on the style of the message, the credibility of the source, their moods, the environment and a bunch of other factors when processing the message.

Elaboration Likelihood Model
Demographics & Psychographics Examples.

Persuasion is referred as the action by which, convincing or causing someone to do something through reasoning or argument. The elaboration likelihood model explains how persuasion message works in changing the attitude of reader or viewer. It is very much important for corporations and advertisement agencies, in designing their market strategies and understanding the attitudes of peoples (which includes the demographics and psychographics of a target audience).

Understanding the elaboration likelihood model theory, whether it be through the central or peripheral route, means to fully understand the art of persuasion. Applying this model to content creation efforts, advertisements, digital media marketing, and other communications efforts, can help any brand craft persuasive appeals.

How would this theory influence my persuasive messaging efforts? Easy: By being direct and appealing to the target audience of a brand I would be representing. This means I would first need to understand my target audience’s values (including their hopes and dreams, dislikes, goals, etc.), in order to effectively persuade them to listen to my call to action. After I’ve identified that, I would account for the following elements listed by A List Apart:

  • Message: what’s being said, marketing efforts, content, and copy
  • Design: visual hierarchy, navigation, and layout
  • Delivery: load time, user experience, rewards, and bells and whistles
Mastering persuasion.

This layout seems simple once the target audience has been identified, but a great deal of research and understanding the created messages through the lowest levels of elaboration will most likely take place before perfecting the art of persuasion. I would aim to understand how viewers could interpret the messaging/content through both the central and peripheral routes, to ensure the brand I was representing was avoiding all pain points and targeting all members of the desired audience. Applying the ELM theory would also help viewers who currently live in the peripheral route, eventually move to the central route; Equating to a brand fully mastering the art of persuasion!

Graduate student at the University of Florida