See For Yourself! 12 Examples of Credibility in Marketing

Samuel Hum
Samuel Hum
December 29, 2014
2 min read
See For Yourself! 12 Examples of Credibility in Marketing

In this article

Earlier, we did a post about Dr. Robert Cialdini's Authority principle which demonstrated the various ways you could use authority to shore up your brand.

But what happens when you don't have any such authority?

The Made to Stick principle we're covering today is Credibility.

While similar to Cialdini's Authority, Credibility (as described in Made To Stick) deals with situations where you do not have an authority to endorse your brand.

Dan and Chip Heath cite five ways to boost your credibility:

  1. Use an Anti-authority - Use "living proof" to show that your product works.
  2. Provide extensive details - More details about your product = more internal credibility.
  3. Utilize Statistics - Surface data that illustrates the point you're making.
  4. Pass The Sinatra Test - Look for one proof that'll convince all your customers that you're great.
  5. Present Testable Credentials - Allow customers to test your product/idea for themselves.

Let's get right to them.

A. Anti-Authority

The best way to be credible is to show that your product really works. What better way than to showcase real-life results?

1. Fit2Fat2Fit - The founder's own success story

Many who sell fitness programs are athletic, fit people who have never been overweight. They might not know the struggles that come along with the extra baggage.

But Drew Manning knows.

He spent 6 months gaining over 70 lbs, and then another 6 months shedding it off:

His transformation is really impressive, and gives his potential customers a huge boost in confidence.

If it has worked for him, surely it'll work on the rest of us, too?

2. Blendtec's "Will It Blend?" - A test of raw blending power

Blenders are all about their blades' sharpness and their motor's strength.

Blendtec took a novel marketing approach in 2007 with their "Will it Blend?" series.

In each video, Blendtec founder Tom Dickson would test his blenders against anything from cellphones to wooden garden rakes.

Sure, we can't think of any reason why anyone would want to blend a garden rake.

But neither can we think of any edible ingredient that's harder than wood.

3. Samsung Canada's customized Galaxy SIII

Samung Canada dragon GSIII Credibility ReferralCandy

In 2012, Shane Bennett sent a message to Samsung, requesting for a free Samsung Galaxy S III. To sweeten the request, he attached a drawing of a fire-breathing dragon.

He received a gentle rejection, and a drawing of a kangaroo riding a unicycle:

Kangaroo unicycle Facebook drawing
Not something you see every day.

Shane was so amused, he posted it on Reddit, where went viral.

Samsung eventually sent him a Galaxy S III, complete with a custom paint-job of his dragon drawing.

B. Details

When someone is telling us about a product, and provides a lot of details about it, we think he knows what he's talking about.

The fact that he knows so much about it should suggest that he's an expert on it, right?

Providing a lot of details about your product not only showcases how robust it is, but comes across as more credible too.

4. The Dash has an accelerometer and an ambient mic

Dash features Credibility ReferralCandy
They make it look really beautiful, too.

This picture of the Dash wireless earphones show all of its components, from an ambient mic to an accelerometer.

We might not know what a CSR or a transducer is, but it doesn't really matter.

It just shows how much potential is packed into those 2 small bits of technology.

5.  Jawbone's UP24 activity tracker

Jawbone UP24 Credibility ReferralCandy

Similarly, the Jawbone UP24  fitness tracker presents a huge list of all functionalities:

Jawbone Credibility ReferralCandy
32mAu Lithium-ion polymer battery

The long list of details assures you that the team has put a lot of intricate work into making sure that the Jawbone works wonderfully.

6. Pebble is water-resistant up to 50 meters

Pebble features Credibility ReferralCandy
For secret agents, clearly.

As we can see, this manner of presenting your product is more beneficial to tech products. (What would you be doing with a smartwatch 50 meters underwater?)

Pebble tech specs Credibility ReferralCandy
Specs! Specs! Specs!

A reason for this might be that tech functionalities are not immediately obvious on sight.

Additionally, tech products are often compared in terms of how much they can do. Listing out all your functions helps consumers decide which one suits them the best.

C. Statistics

When presenting statistics, it is important to use them to illustrate a point. Use them to show how effective your product is, or how popular it is among your target customer base.

7. "4 out of 5 dentists recommend ... "

Trident 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Credibility ReferralCandy
This is now a piece of pop culture.

This is perhaps one of the most memorable marketing phrases of all time.

It originated in an ad for Trident sugarless gum, claiming that "4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum".

This paints a very convincing picture of how effective the gum is, especially when recommended by healthcare professionals.

8. "Kills 99.9% of germs"

Another common advertising statistic, this line is often shown on washing products, especially hand soaps:

Lifebuoy Hand sanitizer Credibility ReferralCandy
Lifebuoy hand sanitizer


Dettol anti-bacterial hand soap
Dettol anti-bacterial hand soap

P.S. We had a really hard time looking for other examples. If you know of any, let us know in the comments and we'll add them to this list!

D. The Sinatra Test

In Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York", there is a line that goes "if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere."

The Sinatra test refers to an example that can easily convince others of your brand's credibility. A good example would be a big and popular client/customer.

This method works in the same way as Social Proof.

9. Asana

Asana Credibility ReferralCandy

"Hey, Dropbox and Airbnb use our services. Maybe you should too?"

10. Intercom

Intercom Credibility ReferralCandy

Intercom has clients like Moz, Shopify and Buffer. If it's good enough for those guys, how could it not be good enough for you?

E. Testable Credentials

Consumers are often skeptical of claims in advertisements, and rightfully so- the industry has a long history of exaggeration, misdirection and dishonesty.

Allow your customers a chance to try your products, so they can be truly convinced by the real quality of your product.

11. Frank & Oak - Join The Hunt Club

Frank & Oak Credibility ReferralCandy

Frank & Oak provide a subscription service, where customers get items sent right to their doorstep.

They can try on the items for a few days, only paying and keeping those that they like.

12. Warby Parker - Home Try-on

Warby Parker Home try-on Credibility ReferralCandy

Warby Parker also offers home try-ons, allowing customers five days to try on five frames.

Customers only have to pay for the ones that they like.

Conclusion: Demonstrating credibility is a big part of establishing customer trust.

The core idea of the credibility principle is to show that your product really works in the absence of true authority.

When customers feel that they can trust you, they'll be more willing to listen to you and tell their peers about it.

The trap you want to avoid is wasting your time trying to create the impression of credibility. Rather, you want to create a product that works really well, and then signal credibility by demonstrating it.

Stay tuned for more posts about the other principles of stickiness:

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible [you are here!]
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories
Samuel Hum
Samuel Hum

As a finalist in Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man contest, Samuel is ReferralCandy's fashion eCommerce expert and resident sartorialist. He is obsessed with human behavior, social psychology, and handstands. He is also the lead calisthenics trainer at Weightless.

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