1. The Fundamental Attribution Bias
2&3. Social Proof and Negative Social Proof
The best tactic is to reveal the popularity of your product or brand in a way which is relevant to your audience.
Popular brands can become even more popular because their visibility provides a sense of social proof. It's important not to assume your scale is known.
Instead of just listening to what customers say, it's more effective to look at what they do. There are two types of norm: those referring to how you should behave, called injunctive norms, and those describing how most people behave, known as descriptive norms
The brands which take the time to convey their social proof messages with humour, or on-brand messaging, will be even more successful.
Habits account for a significant proportion of consumer actions and are revealed only when their environment changes.
This is what's called a 'life event', and can be such things as getting a new job, having a baby, moving house, or starting university.
The book found that 45% of behaviours were habitual — the same decisions being made at the same time and place without full conscious thought.
Since habits are specific to the context, a consumer's habits become looser when their environments change. So, when they undergo a life event, their habitual behaviour can be destabilised.
6. Pain of Payment
If you can distance the consumer from the tangibility of money, this will reduce price sensitivity.
7. Danger of Claimed Data
Direct questioning is unsatisfactory because of lying and confabulation. When people aren’t aware they’re being monitored they behave naturally.
9. Price Relativity
10. Primacy Effect
11. Expectancy Theory
“If you run a restaurant there is no healthy distinction to be made between the value you create by cooking the food, and the value you create by sweeping the floor”.
So, detailed descriptions can boost appeal, and even taste, by 13% and 7% respectively.
This theory also suggests that consumers believe that products involve a trade-off. So, improved eco-friendliness entails a loss in effectiveness. So, you need to investigate the set of expectations associated with your positioning.
12. Confirmation Bias
This suggests it's hard to overturn negative opinions. Nay-sayers of your brand will be extremely difficult to convince because they interpret your message cynically, and through a lens of negativity.
So, when we consider the three audiences:
- Those likely to buy regardless of communications.
- Those unlikely to buy regardless of communications.
- Those for whom communications might make a difference,
14. Wishful Seeing
15. Media Context
16. The Curse of Knowledge
Find out if your audience are maximisers or 'satisficers'. – Maximisers want to know that their product is perfect; satisificers want reassurance it won’t be rubbish.
Reassurance comes from stressing the popularity of a brand.
17. Goodhart's Law
For example, when we are biased against a specific outcome it forces some unexpected behaviours or outcomes. This might look like sacrificing a larger sales next month to hit this month’s bonus).
In Hanoi, there was an outbreak of bubonic plague. To try to contain it, the French Colonials offered a small reward for every rat’s tail. This led to people cutting off the tails and then letting the tail-less rats go free
18. The Pratfall Effect
Everyone assumes that brands are imperfect and fallible, so if a brand is open about its failings, it can position itself to persuade consumers that its weaknesses are inconsequential.
19. Winner's Curse
This is all about finding unique ways of identifying your target audience. This can be as simple as browser choice. The formulaic targeting of most brands means there is plenty of opportunity for more creative companies.
Another aspect of this bias is behaviour patterns and rhythms. This is all about identifying the moment when a target audience becomes valuable. For example, there is a predictable spending spike around payday.
So, two steps: first, find unique ways of identifying your audience. Then, identify the moment when a target audience becomes valuable.
20. The Power of the Group
As Vadim Gayevsky said: The audience does not trust itself, it trusts someone else.
On top of this, things are funnier if experienced in a group, due to shared experience.
Ads watched in groups of three and six were reported to be 21% and 10%, funnier than those watched alone.
The key point is that the funniness of an ad is not solely a creative issue but also one of location, and media placement.
21. Veblen Goods
As price conveys quality, companies and brands should invest disproportionately in their higher end goods.
22. The Replicability Crisis
It's important to not take a single study as definitive proof. Much market research doesn't generate the same results when replicated, so it's vital to not be cynical but sceptical.
Nudges do not change all people, all the time. Different people will react to a nudge in different ways.
A bias that works in one situation might backfire in another, so using nudges is a constant work of refinement.
Don't apply biases randomly, employ scarcity and social proof in specific ways.
24. Cocktail Party Effect.
One way consumer brains determine what is worthy of conscious attention is through personal relevance.
However, this is tricky for marketers. Localisation needs to be relevant enough to attract attention, without being too personal or creepy to offend.
For example, there was a campaign run by a brand in the UK. One version of the ad related the offer to the UK, the other to the site of the ad, Charing Cross station. The locally tailored activity generated 14% higher spontaneous awareness than the nationwide message.
Bob Levenson, the copywriter behind many of the great Volkswagen ads, gave practical tips on how to adopt a personal tone of voice. He recommended that you should write your ads to a close friend.
This one is well known. It's all about limiting the number of products that consumers can buy.
The most famous experiment into scarcity was led by Stephen Worchel, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. In 1975, he recruited 134 undergraduates and asked them to rate the quality of a batch of cookies.
The participants tasted the cookies from a glass jar containing ten or two biscuits. When the cookies were in scarce supply they were rated as significantly more likeable and attractive. The participants were also prepared to pay 11% more for them.
The Choice Factory hypothesises that consumers rarely make decisions based on ration or logic. Therefore, most decisions modern customers make are susceptible to decision bias. So, understanding how these biases do this can give businesses an advantage in the market.
But Richard is keen to suggest that Behavioural Economics is not a magic elixir for brand health. Different biases create different levels of impact, so test your success and remain sceptical over the findings.
Interview with Richard Shotton
In this episode:
- Tech giant Uber's success with the application of psychological principles...and where it might fail due to the consumer's inherent bias towards 'punishing unfairness'
- The application of the Pratfall Effect in recent ad campaigns by Carlsberg and Argos
- Richard's advice for marketing newbies
- Why marketers might be failing to analyse their social listening data
- Why 'Brand Purpose' should not be the focus of marketing
- and plenty more.