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Leveraging the ‘Law of Commitment’


Keeping one’s word is a stronger force than you may think. According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, a key industry leader in the field of “persuasion,” one of the seven most powerful tactics to lean on when trying to influence another person is to get them to publicly commit, because if you do they are much more likely to act.

The examples Dr. Cialdini uses in his writings include one from a leafy suburban area whereby local residents are asked to support a Drive Safe campaign, with the ask being to erect an ugly wooden mud sign in their front yard. Those in area A had a terribly poor participation rate when it came to installing the sign — after all, it was terribly ugly. However, those in area B, an area almost identical to area A, had 400 percent more houses erect the actual mud sign, in terms of a participation rate.

Why the difference? Group B had earlier that month been asked to place a small postcard in their window at the front door around the Drive Safe theme, and in doing so had publicly committed to the cause. One small commitment led to an action with a bigger commitment.

So, what does this mean for gym operators and the space of wearable technology? If you have a wearable tech platform, then coaches, trainers and instructors can acknowledge a member’s workout via the digital platform. You can see how the push notification from the coach, “You crushed it in bootcamp, Jenny. Well done today!” would add reward to the effort just applied.

But in the spirit of trying to drive exercise adherence by leveraging the law of commitment, why not then go back to your member on the social platform after they reply to your post with, “Thanks Coach, I am at work now having flashbacks of those burpees.” A simple nudge to them with, “You’re welcome! Haha — now tell me Jenny, when do you plan to be back?” The member may reply, “I have this Friday @ 6 a.m. in my calendar” and the coach closes the thread by saying, “Great, Friday @ 6 a.m. it is. I am telling Coach Todd to expect you!”

That extra piece of back and forth in the exchange is gaining public commitment for future behavior. Similar to the example of the Drive Safe campaigners, it will help drive the behavior you are looking for — exercise adherence, visit frequency and retention of premium yield programming.


Emmett Williams is the president of Myzone. He can be reached at emmett.williams@myzone.org or visit myzone.org.


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