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Top 10 behavioural INFLUENCES

Category: Blog & News

There is something like 150 biases and heuristics that influence behaviour. That’s a lot to navigate if you want to apply Behavioural Economics to everyday business issues, say writing an email, putting a pitch together or pacifying a disgruntled customer.

So here is my top 10. I've packaged them into a mnemonic called I.N.F.L.U.E.N.C.E.S. Use it as your checklist when embarking on an activity designed to get someone to do something.

 I mmediacy (Short-term Bias): We act for now not later. e.g. snack now and promise to eat salad for the rest of the week. Ask yourself: what’s the immediate payoff and have I deferred any downside?

 N orms (Social Norms): We do what others do. e.g. preferring a bustling restaurant to one that’s empty. Ask yourself: How can I signal that the desired behaviour is what other people also do?

 F raming: Context changes meaning. e.g. black pearls became highly prized once they were associated with expensive gemstones. Ask yourself: What is my customer’s frame of reference for this? With what am I compared?

 L oss Aversion: We are more motivated to avoid loss than seek gain. e.g. second serve in tennis is more conservative than the first becausethere is something to lose. Ask yourself: What does my customer have to lose and how do I negate this?

 U niqueness: We like our individuality to be recognised, not compromised. e.g. personalised Nutella and Coke. Ask yourself: Does my customer feel special and acknowledged?

 E nvironment: Location and surroundings shape behaviour. e.g. bigger bowl leads to more ice-cream being consumed. Ask yourself: How can I shape the environment in which purchase and consumption take place?

 N umbers: Contextualisation and display alter interpretation. e.g. 1,500.00 is perceived as larger than 1500. Ask yourself: Have I made painful numbers look small?

 C hoice (Paradox of choice): We desire the freedom to choose but can be overwhelmed by it. e.g. 10x jams sold when fewer on display. Ask yourself: Have I reduced options to 3-5?

 E ffort (vs Reward): For behaviour to happen, Reward must be greater than Effort (R>E=B). e.g. Amazon 1-click. Ask yourself: Have I removed points of unnecessary effort? (But see how Wholefoods got this wrong recently with pre-peeled oranges!)

S tatus Quo Bias: When in doubt we leave things as they are. e.g. leaving superannuation in the default fund. Ask yourself: What am I doing to budge people from their existing status quo? What do I want the new status quo to be? 



This article was first published 24/03/2016.

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