Hugh Rank’s Model of Persuasion Analysis


Get Results: hugh Rank's model of persuasion
Get Results: Hugh Rank’s model of persuasion

Hugh Rank described a simple model of persuasion where he describes how BENEFIT PROMISERS (otherwise known as advertisers/ marketers) intensify certain aspects of their offering and downplay other aspects in an attempt to persuade BENEFIT SEEKERS (prospective customers) to buy from them as apposed to their competitors. His model also addresses how BENEFIT SEEKERS play a role in this process by the mere act of seeking such benefits.

It is useful to know Hugh Rank’s model of persuasion so you are able to defend yourself from the trickery used by marketers in their efforts to part you with your money. On the flip side, it can be equally as useful when devising your own marketing material, in your attempts to transform prospects to customers.

Intensify Downplay Schema Explained

We are all benefit seekers at times in our daily lives, playing an active part in the persuasion process as seekers. Consider two factors relating to our roles as seekers:

  • #1 – Our perception of good and bad
  • #2 – If we have something in our possession or not

This allows us a deeper understanding of our own benefit-seeking behaviour related to the advertisements and marketing messages we are exposed to, allowing us to break it into four smaller parts:

  • Protection – keeping the good
  • Acquisition – getting the good
  • Relief – getting rid of the bad
  • Prevention – avoiding the bad

Benefit promisers (advertisers/ marketers) look to take advantage of our benefit seeking by intensifying their own “good” and downplaying their own “bad” and more aggressively intensifying others “bad” and downplaying others “good” to further enhance their marketing message.

When they Intensify their own “Good”

The promisers or would-be persuaders try to increase the significance of elements of their message so that the seeker will take their message on-board. They do this by use of repetition, association and composition.


Repeating a word or visual pattern so that it will be remembered and/ or accepted.   This leads the seeker to believe that something is true or important.

Look for/ Listen for: Repeated  words, sounds, visual elements, patterns (through either direct repetition or repetition of similar words, sounds, visual elements, patterns)


Linking or connecting information in a text to something or someone that is desirable or something that is feared. This can be done through words, visuals, or auditory details.  The connection may be directly stated or implied.

Look for/ Listen for: Ideas, words, visuals, sounds that may be symbolic of abstract ideas e.g. a maple leaf to represent patriotism, ticking clock to represent passage of time or urgency,  use of allusions/ references to people, events, media, pop culture, etc. with which the audience may be familiar, or  appeals to emotions instead of logic


Organizing or constructing a message in order to have a specific impact.  The message (what is desired) may be directly stated or implied or its opposite may be stated or implied.

Look for/ Listen for: Notice where words, visual elements, and ideas are placed in a message/ text.  Things that are at the beginning of text or paragraphs and things that are at the end tend to be the ones that are emphasized for readers or viewers.  Note how much space or text the words, visual elements, and ideas take up.

When they Downplay their own “Bad”

The persuader tries to decrease attention on details or ideas so that the seeker (who could be a reader/ viewer/ audience) see specific information as unimportant or not worth consideration. They do this using 3 tactics; diversion, omission and confusion.


Distracting the seeker (reader, viewer, listener) away from information which may be a required part of the message.  This may be accomplished by reducing the audience’s attention to a part of the overall message.  E.g. an expiry date on a carton of juice.

Look for/ Listen for: Small or hidden text or visual element or warnings at the end or embedded in a verbal message

Think about how the message would be different if elements were moved, reduced, or expanded.


Saying nothing about the things that go against a message or claim.

Look for/ Listen for: Consider what is missing from the text or message. Consider points of view or interests that are not considered or make up a small percentage of the overall message.


Creating uncertainty or misunderstanding around information seekers may already believe or know. The message (what is desired) may be directly stated or implied or its opposite may be stated or implied.

Look for/ Listen for: Use of complex or obscure data.  Words or  visuals which ask questions or create uncertainty in the seekers.

Sales Structure

Furthermore Rank advocated the following sales structure, which went like this;

1. Hi – 2. Trust me – 3. You need – 4. Hurry – 5. Buy

  1. Hi – which is made up of internal and external attention getting strategies, this is about getting the attention of the audience and keeping it long enough to hear the sales message, using physical, emotional and cognitive attention getting elements,
  2. Trust me – is about building confidence through expertise, sincerity and benevolence,
  3. You need – this is about stimulating desire via product centered or audience centered sales messages,
  4. Hurry – urgency stressing is aimed at causing an emotional reaction in the audience so they feel compelled to take action without delay,
  5. Buy – response seeking using a low friction call to action

This  structure is similar to the well established Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (A.I.D.A) framework. You can find out more about it here.


Being aware of the underlying structure of persuasive marketing messages helps us appreciate how we may be hearing only the aspects someone else wants us to hear. We should listen with critical ears and be aware that the facts may be being manipulated in such a way as to get us to take a certain course of action.

Awareness is the best defence we have in such circumstances.

Check out our Ultimate Marketing Guide for some in-depth marketing information.

Get Results: Hugh ranks model of persuasion
Get Results: Hugh ranks model of persuasion

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Find your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Get Results: unique selling proposition
Get Results: Unique Selling Propositio

A USP is what Stands you apart from your competitors’. It’s what makes you unique in the eyes of your prospects and customers, it’s what differentiates you from other suppliers.

If you don’t find and subsequently use a USP in your marketing, you become something of a commodity, and prospects will only choose to use you on a random basis, with no defined reason behind their purchase decision.

Your USP explains to the world why you’re different, and why they should use you.

Finding your USP

We will identify four options for finding your Unique Selling Proposition. To begin you might find it useful in answering the following questions:-

  • What services and/or products do you provide?
  • To whom do you provide these services/products; who are your customers?
  • What needs/wants do you fulfil for your customers?
  • How big a problem does your solution solve?
  • What benefits do customers appreciate most and which do they actively look for?
  • What makes you better than other suppliers?
  • Is it the value you provide, your experience, know how, customer service, delivery speed and so on?

The second way of finding your USP is to look at the gaps and opportunities within your niche / market that aren’t currently being catered for. Find a demand that isn’t being supplied.

Look for opportunities to provide genuine convenience such as instant availability, convenient location, large selection of stock, fast service, big discounts, professional advice, longer than usual opening hours, more convenient opening hours, privacy and security to name a few.

The third way to find your USP is to have a good answer to following potential customer question…

“Why should I do business with you, instead of any and every other option available to me, including the option of doing absolutely nothing at all.”


“What do I uniquely guarantee.”

A fourth method of finding your USP is to compare yourself to your competitors on a range of criteria and focus your USP on the areas where you score higher.

self Competitor 1 Competitor 2
Catalogue quality
Ease of ordering
Speed of delivery
Personal liking

Next steps

Once you have identified your USP, you need to think about the ways in which you can use it. These could include:

  • Sound-bites or elevator speeches
  • Marketing messages on-line and off-line
  • Brochures or flyers
  • Press Releases
  • Business Proposals

Keep your USP as the central theme throughout all your marketing, and through repetition you will become known as the business to use for that particular USP.

For more marketing related content check out our marketing guide.

Customer Lifetime Value

Get Results: customer lifetime value
Get Results: Customer Lifetime Value

It is crucially important to know the lifetime value of your customers, so that you know what you can afford to spend on marketing to acquire each new customer.

Let me show you what I mean. Let’s assume for illustration purposes that you are a  gym owner and you want know what the lifetime value of a gym member is. Let’s say your average spend is £20 every month and an member stays on average for 3 years. The value of that customer would be:

£20 x 12 months x 3 years = £720 in total revenue (or £240 per year).

Now work out what your Cost of Sales are in servicing that customer each year.

Let’s assume the Cost of Sales is £40 a year, then you have £200 left over for marketing and profit in year one. If you can acquire a new member for less than £200 you will be in profit within the first year. You won’t have the marketing cost in year two and three so you will make £200 profit in each of those years.

Now you can see even from this hypothetical example why many gyms offer a free starter membership to help drive traffic. Gym owners know that as long as they spend less than £200 to acquire a new member, the customer will prove profitable over a short period of time.


Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculations

Get Results: BMR men calculation
Get Results: BMR men calculation
Get Results: BMR women calculation
Get Results: BMR women calculation

The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculations above will give you the minimum number of calories you body needs during inactivity, just to keep your organs running. the equation takes into account weight, height and age and is different for men and women.

You should use your BMR figure to establish the minimum number of calories your body will use in any given day, even if you do no exercise. It will allow you to gauge your calorie intake accordingly. If your BMR comes out at say 2500, then you know that to lose weight you would need to keep your calorie intake under this figure. If you do exercise that burns an additional 300 calories than the number of calories burned would be 2500 + 300 = 2800 calories. If your intake through food was 2300, you would have a deficit between calories taken in, and burned of 500 calories. If you did this consistently for one week you would lose approx 1 pound in weight.

Get Results: BMR calculation
Get Results: BMR calculation
Get Results: weight and height converter
Get Results: weight and height converter


Get Results: 500 calories for web
Get Results: 500 calories per day equals 1LB of fat per week

What’s Stopping you Getting Results?

Get Results: get results model
Get Results: Get Results model

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or get fit, or become a success in business, whatever you want, there must be a way you can get the results you crave. But let’s first go back to basics.

There are only 5 basic reasons you’re not getting those elusive results…
• You don’t know what is wanted – a lack of a defined goal
• You’re knowingly not doing something that needs to be done
• You don’t know something that needs to be done
• You’re doing something wrong – you don’t necessarily know it’s wrong
• You’re trying to do something that is impossible to achieve

At a very basic level, there are just 2 things you need to do to get the results you so desperately want…

Know what to do


Do what needs to be done

It’s important that we start from this basic understanding, so that you don’t miss any of the important possible variables that could be preventing you from getting results, although these appear simple to overcome the devil is in the detail, and this detail is specific to you and your situation.

Let’s have a look at each of the reasons why you might not be getting the results you want. Although these are a great starting point, remember that we are highlighting a framework here, to start your journey of discovery from. You will require further insight to make this framework more relevant to your particular situation. However this framework applies to such diverse goals as weight loss, improving fitness, wealth building, success in business, relationships and much more.

#1 – You don’t know what is wanted, you lack a defined goal.

Make your goals specific and measurable. Focus on outcomes and results rather than activities. It’s really not about working on the pursuit of your goal for 16 hours a day and seeing yourself as an hard working go-getter. A few hours are fine, if that’s sufficient time to do what needs to be done. As long as you’re laser focusing on achieving results, rather than clocking up your working time, it’s about working smarter rather than harder, being effective rather than efficient.

Clearly visualise the outcome, what does it feel like, look like, taste like when you reach your goal? Align your goal with your purpose (be true to yourself). Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, doing it for you, not others You don’t want to spend time striving to achieve a goal that once achieved makes you feel empty and dissatisfied because it wasn’t in keeping with “who you are”.

#2- Doing something wrong – you don’t know it’s wrong and don’t know something that needs to be done.

Both these points concern undertaking research and gathering accurate information that will allow you to achieve your goal. Without accurate knowledge, about how to do what needs doing, the results you crave are going to be hard to come by.

Layout the assumed essential elements of the process required to achieve your intended goal. Research each of the steps in the process using role models and study the models, systems, habits and relationships that they have adopted to achieve what you’re aiming to achieve (more about this here). This should be your starting point only and you should aim to work from this point, testing possible variations to see what works specifically for you. It’s a trial and error approach that often leads to the best results for many goals.

#3- Knowingly not doing something that needs to be done.

This is about failing to take appropriate action and involves both motivation and productivity components.


It’s important to stay motivated, you’ve got to want to change and be inspired to take action. There are a number of motivation hacks to help in this process such as doing the hard things early in the day when your will-power is fully charged.

Being persistent and not allowing failure to diminish your drive is also important when you hit hurdles during your journey.


Work with priority and focus, be effective not efficient, work smart not hard. Productivity is a whole book in itself, we have lots of productivity help for you if you decide to sign up with us.

#4- Trying to do something that is impossible.

It’s important not to put artificial limitations on yourself. You might not strictly be able to run a 100 miles per hour, but you can find ways to travel at that speed aided. It’s about looking for alternative ways of getting the job done, but also understand that there are some things that are currently impossible to achieve. However if someone else has already done what you’re aiming to do, then it can be done again for sure.


Underestimating Goals

Sometimes pursuing your goal is not as easy as going from A to B to C. Be prepared to be flexible in your approach. Lookout for feedback and review progress as you go. Think outside the box if you need to and approach situations from a different angle. Look to how role models have succeeded in achieving what you’re aiming to do.

Look at trends to see where things are headed in the future. You need to be effective by doing the right thing. Don’t allow difficulties to diminish your motivation. Build on each successful day.

Test and practice, measure and monitor results. Tweak and begin the process again until you achieve your goal. Be adaptable, be prepared to be flexible in your approach. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of madness.

Avoid Fear

The fear of failure, rejection, change, embarrassment, being vulnerable are often manifested through things like procrastination, defending your position, staying within your comfort zone and remaining stuck in your ways, avoidance, over complicating situations, insisting on perfection and giving up too early.

These are all signs of underlying fear and this is holding you back from doing what’s necessary to push past this and do what’s required. Be prepared to take calculated risks, waiting for the perfect time to reveal itself is foolish, because it simply will never be the perfect time. Take action sooner rather than later. Get in the game! You’ve got to be in it to win it.

Create opportunities, “do”, focus, face challenges head on, learn from your failings, and be committed to your cause.

Acquire practiced expertise

There is no substitute for practice in developing certain skills. There is no short cut when developing a skill that can’t be taught or learned quickly. Some skills are only attained through deliberate practice and doing repetitively over a prolonged period of time. Things like motor skills, intuition, co ordination, muscle memory, seeing variables that less experienced people just can’t see, are improved and strengthened over time.

In many instances, if you haven’t got the time to invest in developing such skills you can allows look to hire people who already possess these skills to do it for you, if you have the necessary financial resources.


Stripping it back to basics helps clarify the underlying requirements for you to achieve your goal. The sheer number and variety of human goals requires a unique set of approaches for each goal you may have, but using each of the points highlighted above will provide a framework to start from.

Some health based goals may require more of a motivational focused approach than say, wealth accumulation goals, where knowledge or productivity may be the main focus. Most goals will require differing amounts of knowledge, motivation and productivity based skills developing as you progress towards the successful completion of those goals. Life is as much about the journey as the destination, so make that journey as enjoyable an experience as possible as you make progress towards goal achievement.

Acquiring Knowledge in pursuit of your Goal

Get Results: acquire knowledge
Get Results: Acquiring Knowledge

When it comes to pursuing your goal, knowledge is a vital component it that journey. Without knowledge about what to do, how to do it, and when to do it there is nothing but a vision of the end result and no way of getting from here to there. Knowledge is the ladder to success each rung takes you ever closer to the top.

Knowledge comes in two parts, finding…

  • reliable sources and
  • accurate information

Reliable sources

Reliable sources of knowledge include Role models, Mentors and Mastermind teams.

Role Models

A Role Model is define as:-

A person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.

We tend to study role models from afar. They are often people in the public eye or are widely publicised. In the world of business we might look to people like Richard Branson as a role model, because he is seen as successful in the world of business, having accumulated millions in personal wealth and build numerous successful businesses under the brand name Virgin, such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Media, Virgin Money etc.

When selecting role models ensure you:-

Only take advice from someone who has provable experience achieving the same goal as you are aiming for. If it is a business goal, search for successful business leaders, if its health related look for individuals who have a great fitness background. If you’re looking to kick an habit look for those that have kicked the habit in the past and are helping others to do the same.

Understand the underlying principles behind the activities that resulted in their success and model these. Look to the Models, Relationships, Systems and Habits they have employed to achieve their success.

Be cautious of the passing of time and its effect on the methods being modelled – are they still relevant in today’s world – did they benefit from being in the right place at the right time.

Use their principles as a starting point, then test for yourself, look to improve upon it, and learn from your own experience moving forward.


A Mentor is defined as:-

An experienced and trusted adviser

A mentor is someone we are lucky enough to personal contact with in a one to one situation, someone at work is probably the most common type of mentor, but increasingly we have access to virtual coaches that are able to communicate via video or email contact.

If you approach someone to be a Mentor to you, look to provide some value in exchange for their time and effort. For instance offer to work for them for free or use your existing skills or resources to do something they will value, in return for them mentoring you.

The above still applies, making sure they know what they are talking about, understanding the underlying principles etc. Usually Mentors will take a more guiding role and take you through the steps and feedback what you did right and wrong as you go. This is often more fruitful than just using role models, because of the instant feedback and corrections as you take your journey towards your goal.

Mastermind teams

A Mastermind team is defined as:-

The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony

Mastermind teams offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. A mastermind team helps you and your mastermind team members achieve success.

By its very nature it is closer to the Mentoring model than that of the role model situation. It is coaching as you go, but with a slightly different twist. The people in your mastermind team might not be experts in achieving your particular goal, but can offer a more general perspective, using their knowledge to bring fresh eyes to your pursuit and as a results can be a valuable addition to having a mentor.


When it comes to acquiring knowledge ensure you are getting accurate information. Remember the quote:-

“A journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step”

Taking one step at a time will only move you closer to your goal if you are heading in the correct direction to start off with, otherwise each step could be taking you in the opposite direction and ultimately further away from that goal. So make sure the information you are using is actually accurate.