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Inside Consumers' Mind - A whitepaper by Reading Room


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The pace of change is increasing with disruption driven by relentless technological advancement. It requires organisations to deliver real products and services quickly, as well as respond to issues as they arise throughout projects.

This requires an agile consultancy and delivery approach engineered to embrace change, powered by a combination of strategy, technology and multidisciplinary consultancy, such as digital psychology.

Therefore, we are presenting this whitepaper to help you understand why and how digital psychology can help you glean insight into user behaviours and intent, create more relevant content and user experiences to reach the right audiences, and keep up with the changing digital landscape.

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Inside Consumers' Mind - A whitepaper by Reading Room

  1. 1. A rather handy white paper from Inside the consumers’ mind
  2. 2. Inside the consumers’ mind A rather handy white paper from Dr. Deborah Ko Behavioural Psychologist Sophie Chen Marketing Manager
  3. 3. The pace of change is increasing with disruption driven by relentless technological advancement. It requires organisations to deliver real products and services quickly, as well as respond to issues as they arise throughout projects. This requires an agile consultancy and delivery approach engineered to embrace change, powered by a combination of strategy, technology and multidisciplinary consultancy, such as digital psychology. Therefore, we are presenting this whitepaper to help you understand why and how digital psychology can help you glean insight into user behaviours and intent, create more relevant content and user experiences to reach the right audiences, and keep up with the changing digital landscape.
  4. 4. page 6 page 7 Why digital psychology and what does it mean for your digital strategy? Are you racking your brain trying to figure out what your target audiences want and how to engage them in this fast-changing digital landscape? The elements of psychology might just be your cure.
  5. 5. page 8 page 9 What is digital psychology ? Psychology aims to understand human beliefs, motivations, and behaviours, creating products and services that speak to consumers on a deeper level. Digital psychology brings together digital disciplines and the behavioural sciences to introduce a more sophisticated toolkit to help you glean insight into user behaviours and intent, create a more meaningful engagement with your target audiences, and make a fundamental impact on your business. Get Started How does digital psychology influence your consumer’s journey?
  6. 6. page 10 page 11 Making the right decisions easy for your audience1 Traditionally, companies said that it’s all about the customer, and therefore give them everything they want. In reality, this can make it difficult to identify which products the customer really wants, and can create problems for managing the business. Glen Williams Management Consultancy Expert, Bain & Company “ Have you ever experienced difficulty in choosing a shampoo because of too many options? Your target audience might be facing the same choice. A Bain & Company study suggested that reducing complexity and narrowing choice can boost revenues by 5-40% and cut costs by 10-35%. When Procter & Gamble reduced Head and Shoulder shampoos from 26 to 15 types, it saw an increase in sales by 10%. People like choices and digital is all about choice. However, you give them too many and psychological research shows this leads to frustration and difficult choices often lead to no decision at all. Provide just what is needed and make the choice clear and your audience will love you for it. Is choice the same across markets? Compared to Western countries, word- of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, as well as peer reviews are two of the most important influencers of purchasing in Asia, particularly in China, as there is a general distrust of brand messages. Social e-commerce in China is also heavily driven by strong organic word-of- mouth recommendations. Meilishuo. com, a social network similar to Pinterest that lets users share their purchases, helps Chinese consumers make buying decisions on fashion products by providing expert reviews and friend recommendations. The social network has recently partnered with WeChat to increase sales by allowing people to share their recommendations and purchases to their friends through the messaging app. In Asia, listen to what the masses are choosing and help them be part of the decision making process to get your product noticed. According to one of the gurus of sales psychology, Robert Cialdini, social proof is the strongest of the factors influencing our purchasing behaviour. This is why people trust customer reviews by peers completely unknown to them over any marketing messaging – Tom Voirol, Global Head of User Engagement, Reading Room Photo credit: Sten Dueland
  7. 7. page 12 page 13 Set time limits. In a rush, people are more likely to postpone their decisions. Limit the amount of viable options. Reduce the number or grouping to under 7 and make sure there are clear winners (when there are nothing but good options people don’t know what to choose). Give pointers on how to choose. Expert recommendations and social reviews help give people confidence in the choices they make. Focus on reducing regret. Because people often worry about making the right decision, remind them of the benefits or the problems their choice solves. How to simplify your audience’s decision making process and make sure they choose you? Make choices easy Indicate normative and relational cues to help increase behaviour change. Show how many people recommend the product/ service and highlight celebrity endorsements. Involve family and friends input and encourage word-of-mouth. Focus on key social media channels to directly interact with consumers and allow for social networks to share your products or services to each other. Rethink the Asian consumers
  8. 8. page 14 page 15 People forget that not only does every word count, how it’s said is just as important. Talk to anyone who’s misunderstood a text message. It’s all in the framing. It gets people’s thoughts in the right mind set. Good framing allows people to read what you need them to read between the lines. Dr. Deborah Ko Behavioural Psychologist, Reading Room “ It’s all in how you say it.2 Are you less likely to continue using your credit card when you are told the benefits of using credits over cash or the cost of using cash over credits? Same message, drastically different outcomes. A study found that most people were more sensitive to the costs rather than the benefits of credit cards, nearly doubling their credit card usage after reading about costs. This pattern is also particularly strong in collectivist cultures, such as East Asia, where in another study, consumers were more likely to purchase floss when reading about costs than their American counterparts. Do your audiences know what the costs are of not using your products or services? Rethink your copywriting when you draft a brand message or product information: Capitalise on the ‘fear of missing out’. Especially in Asia where they have a specific term for this (kiasu), the motivation to avoid regret drives many decisions. Focus on the reduction of negative outcomes. When focusing on costs, always provide a solution. Choose words that you want your consumers to focus on (should your beef be 98% lean or 2% fat?). Find the sweet spot of scary. People pay attention to cost, but if costs are too high, this fear is debilitating and oddly enough people are less likely to pay attention. Aim for concerned rather than petrified. Photo credit: Sten Dueland
  9. 9. page 16 page 17 What’s your audiences’ true colour?3 85% of shoppers say that colour is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions. Although colour tends to have more universal meanings, like blue for cold and red for warmth, it can vary greatly when it’s associated with different cultures, such as white meaning death in Asian cultures but purity in Western cultures. A product in red packaging might be sold more in Asian markets than in Western markets, as red in Asian cultures brings luck or prosperity but could signify caution in Western cultures. Pay attention to the colour palette in your design in terms of the emotional reaction you want to evoke. Look at cultural differences in colour symbolism if you are designing for a global audience to aid in attitude change. Let colour work for you. When you need people to pay attention, consider bolder colours like red; if you need individuals to feel calm, consider cooler colours like blue. Cracking the colour codes to create emotional appeal: While globalisation is having a real effect on colour interpretation, localised knowledge of cultural colour idioms is absolutely paramount in creating an experience that feels instinctively more intimate. On the web there are certain conventions that might not have prevailed in cultures that were previously not exposed to these archetypes. When assessing the discrepancy between these cultural and global definitions, it’s our job to shape interfaces that feel naturally intuitive to the intended user and are easy to use. Ferdi Wieling Creative Director, Reading Room “ Photo credit: Mark Sebastian and Pink Sherbet
  10. 10. page 18 page 19 People make assumptions about things within milliseconds - 100 milliseconds to be exact. You, your website, your brand has been judged in less than a second. What is TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)? It’s the Internet’s way of saying, ‘In less than a second I know that this is not worth my time.’ People worry about the content and the buttons and don’t realise that they didn’t even get their foot in the door because of a messy or confusing layout. Dr. Deborah Ko Behavioural Psychologist, Reading Room “ If it looks complicated, then I’m not interested.4 How many people will make extra effort to find information from a website with tiny fonts, ugly design and banners floating around? 52% of consumers said they didn’t return to the website because they didn’t like its aesthetics. A joint study done by the University of Basel and Google found that when websites are visually complex, users usually give a lower rating. However web layout differs between Western and Asian designs, with Western design adopting a more minimalistic approach and Asian design featuring more hyperlinks and buttons. This is partly due to cultural differences in developing trust and confidence. Many Asian users prefer websites with overloaded information rather than too little. Stay on the website Believe in the content Have more positive feelings towards the website (and the company) Pay attention to and remember what they have seen Change their behaviour – individuals are more likely to perceive behaviours encouraged by the website to be easy to do, and are more likely to do them When a website is easy to read and navigate, audiences are more likely to:
  11. 11. page 20 page 21 Click Open Stay and engage Make things easy to find. Know what your audience is looking for and make the information search intuitive Keep the menus organised and consistent Use words that are easy to understand Increase page loading speed Focus on clarity and usability to induce behavioural change Think about the ease of pronouncing words when producing content or thinking about brand names Make sure that visuals are in line with user expectations Be aware of the necessity for information up front in Asian websites and the expectation for more information Have you noticed any change?5 We’ve all fallen for magicians’ sleight of hand or missed goofs from movie editing. We don’t realise changes because we are not paying attention to them, known as change blindness. When it comes to mobile design, individuals are not good at detecting notifications or changes when they are focused on another task on their mobile phones. Researchers found that over 30% of notifications were unnoticed when users were playing a mobile video game. Also more icons on the screen lead to less detection of any icon changes on mobile screens. What gets noticed in different cultures? A study done with Japanese and American participants shows that Asians (who have been shown to look at images more holistically than those from Western cultures) were better at detecting changes in the background than American participants.
  12. 12. page 22 page 23 Your changes and improvements want to be noticed. Let them: Don’t expect the most laid-out design to be understood by users; real user testing is paramount. Small changes may not be noticed unless individuals are motivated to look for them. Reduce the amount of information on a screen to prevent information overload. People will ignore things that they think are unimportant even if they are eye- catching, such as irrelevant banner ads. Focus on designing clear changes (such as movement, different shapes, making sure nothing else on the screen can change at the same time). Produce changes or notify of changes in the area where the user is doing their primary tasks (although this may be less important in Asian cultures). Utilise sound or vibration notifications to prompt users that there is a change even if they don’t visually notice it on mobile devices. Don’t make anything look like a banner ad as individuals are trained to automatically ignore them (this also goes for pop-up boxes).
  13. 13. Provide solid research methodologies and data insights Psychology can improve the quality of research methods and process, more importantly, helping better interpret and analyse data to glean insight into user behaviours and intent. Provide more analytical capabilities from qualitative data, such as predictive analytics, factor analysis, and statistical analyses on big data. Construct research questions that target project and client objectives, and provide analysis for justification of participant/interviewer pool and best practices on interview standardisation. Create in-depth audience segmentation insights based on personas’ internal motivators and drives to identify audiences’ behaviours and interests online and how to spot them. page 25 Where to apply psychology in your digital strategy?
  14. 14. page 26 page 27 Create effective content strategy Effective communication requires good content that taps into multiple consumer motivations and emotions, and is consequently valuable to consumers. Infusing elements of psychology will ensure that your content strategy is as widely accessible while remaining as deeply engaging as possible. The basics involve creating content that is of interest to target audiences who see it, in the hopes that they will share it and at best link to it. The rise of content marketing and content strategy means that marketers need to stop thinking like salespeople and start thinking like authors and publishers. They are now media owners. Tom Voirol Global Head of User Engagement, Reading Room “ Design rich user experience At the heart of user experience are users’ perceptions and evaluations, where psychology can add in greater depth to support and guide design and technology to better connect with target audiences. • Create rich personas based on established psychological processes and behavioural tendencies. • Provide structure and scientific methodology and statistical analysis for user-testing of products. • Provide feedback on usability on an emotional and motivational level backed by psychological research. • Support technical and visual designs and information architecture through resources of different types of psychology, such as cyber psychology and social psychology.
  15. 15. page 28 page 29 Language has the ability to affect audiences’ attitudes or perceptions on things. So, knowing how to phrase things is important. Focus on both the unconscious and conscious mind. Identify the images that resonate well with your audience, the types of colours that evoke the right emotional reactions, and the type of language that aids in comprehension and attention in your specific audience. About us Reading Room is at the leading edge of consultancy innovation with a unique approach in applying the principles of agile into the landscape of consultancy as well as delivery, enabling brands to take full advantage of the opportunities created by the fast-changing internet, and get to market faster and successfully. Our approach – Agile Iterative Discovery (RRAID) – is engineered to embrace change, and aims to deliver real products fast and adopt iteration throughout. We use a multi-skilled team of experts rather than one dimensional consultancy and it is highly collaborative by its nature throughout projects. At Reading Room, we practise digital psychology as part of our specialist consulting services to provide a more sophisticated toolkit that will help guide our clients through the next evolution of digital technology. If you have any questions regarding the topics in this whitepaper or like to know more about how your business can benefit from digital psychology, we would love to hear from you.
  16. 16. page 30 page 31 Contact us Canberra Office Level 1, 45 Torrens St Braddon Canberra ACT 2612 Australia +61 2 6229 9400 Sydney Office Level 2, 54 Oxford Street Darlinghurst Sydney NSW 2010 Australia +61 2 8394 6888 Brisbane Office Unit 6, 31 James Street Fortitude Valley Brisbane QLD 4006 Australia +61 7 3253 5700 Melbourne Office York Butter Factory 62-66 King Street Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia +61 3 9010 5481 Singapore Office 21 Tanjong Pagar Road #04-01 Singapore 088444 +65 6603 6020 Hong Kong Office Level 8 88 Gloucester Road Wanchai Hong Kong +852 3973 8599 London Office Fairfax House 15 Fulwood Place London WC1V 6AY UK +44 20 7173 2800 Manchester Office Phoenix House 61-65 Spear Street Manchester M1 1DF UK +44 161 274 0720