Ben Franklin effect in Marketing
| |

How to Use Ben Franklin Effect to Boost Customer’s Attention+Loyalty?

We are remarkable at disillusioning ourselves. We can’t recognize that our perceptions, attitudes, and views about the outer world are changed from within. 

One of the most remarkable demonstrations of this cognitive bias is the Benjamin Franklin Effect. A general self-delusion is that we do nice things to people we like and bad things to those we dislike. Well, that’s not the case, or at least it’s not what the psychology behind the Ben Franklin Effect reveals.

To our astonishment, it’s quite the opposite. It says that if you ask someone a small favor, they will be likelier to do you a bigger favor.

That’s how Ben turned his hater into a lifetime friend—as the axiom says. 

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged – Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin Effect in Action

How Can the Ben Franklin Effect Help You To Connect With Your Customers?

For any business’s success, you need loyal customers, AKA brand advocates. To create them, you need to connect with your audience on a deeper level. It is where the Ben Franklin effect can come in handy — ask them for a simple favor first, and they will be more likely to do favors for you in the future, and they will like you more.

For example, ask potential customers to do you a small favor, perhaps to like you on Facebook. They will be more likely to buy from you later on.

Psychologists say that the Ben Franklin Effect works because of cognitive dissonance. When our minds can’t reconcile our behaviors with our beliefs, we change our beliefs to match the behavior.

Humans are more likely to give another favor to someone they already like. This is because we tend to convince ourselves that we wouldn’t have done the favor in the first place if we didn’t already have a positive opinion of the person. This belief acts as a primer for the next favor, making us more likely to do it.

How Does The Ben Franklin Effect Work?

Applying the Ben Franklin Effect to boost customer loyalty works in the following sequence: 

  1. You ask for a favor from someone who isn’t your friend.
  2. They agree to do it for any random reason.
  3. Their brain looks for logical explanations or justifications of why they have done you a favor.
  4. Their brain struggles to reconcile the behavior towards you with the favor.
  5. It re-explains the former favor, concluding that you’re viewed positively. 

How Can You Apply This In The Marketing World To Win Customer Loyalty?

There’re many possible marketing opportunities, particularly in e-commerce and product design. Here you can ask minor favors to create customer loyalty.

Ask For Minimum Information!

For product design, asking for and rewarding the accomplishment of small favors can result in more engagement down the road. The keyword here is small.

Forty to sixty per cent of users will never log into an app again after the first time. It’s better to ask them for the minimum information for the user experience. Hence, the user is likely to spend more time in the app. UX/UI designers can then prompt the user for more information when appropriate.

Eventbrite is an event management and ticketing app. It finds local events by only asking for a zip code. After a user wants to register for an event, the app asks them for an email.

Keep It Simple!

Ask for simple favor such as feedback. One way to do this, which is also the best, is to use as many automation tools as possible to configure requests at interaction points.

For example, you can create a chatbot pop-up following an order to ask about the shopping experience or an email to send when the customer receives the product. Ask for manual requests or favors occasionally, and you will see some success. 

Boost conversions using Ben franklin effect

Thank The Favor Providers Once You Get The Favor!

You got the favor. Now you must follow up in a way that further supports their ex post facto justification. For example, sending a thank-you email saying that their favor was “incredibly generous” and talking about how much you appreciate it indicates that it was a personal favor to you instead of a meaningless chatbot pop-up.

Treat It As A Gestalt!

Use this effect as a single piece of a much bigger strategy. Do you remember when Frito-Lay wanted to create buzz around their 75-year-old-brand of Lay’s Potato Chips in 2012? Well, for this, it turned to its consumers.

During its Do Us a Flavor’ campaign, Lay’s simply asked its audience what the chip’s next flavor should be. They created a Facebook app to make participation easy for their audience, and the results were remarkable. At the end of the ten-month campaign, Lay’s received 3.8 million submissions, and over the few years they have run their campaign, they saw a 12% increase in sales

Ben franklin effect Lays campaign 3

Gamify It!

Use language, visuals, or an experience to challenge, motivate, and reward your users. Don’t get confused with the word “game.” It is actually using game mechanics to engage users in a non-game environment like websites, apps, and products.

People love challenges. When you challenge your users or customers to answer a question or complete a small task, they will likely be more willing to be further engaged on your website, app, or any product.

This can also easily translate into the digital world. Challenges can be presented to the user in any way — through a sign-up form to help answer the questions, moderate posts, etc. Users will take it as an opportunity to be part of a greater community by contributing to it in whatever capacity the user can contribute. 


Fed up with doing too many favors for thankless or indifferent customers? Try flipping the strategy and asking instead. You just might find that the Ben Franklin effect is the missing loyalty ingredient you’ve been searching for.

Are you ready to skyrocket your sales? Book a call with me today and learn how my proven neuromarketing principles can help you engage more customers on your landing page. I’ll show you how to use psychology to create a landing page that people can’t help but click on.

Similar Posts