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The Art and Science of Changing People's Behaviour

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A brief how-to guide by The Sound

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The Art and Science of Changing People's Behaviour

  1. 1. The Art and Science of Changing People’s Behaviour A Brief How-to Guide by The Sound
  2. 2. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 2 “We’re not thinking machines that feel, we’re feeling machines that think.” - Antonio Damasio Neuroscientist at the University of Southern California, Head of the Brain and Creativity Institute
  3. 3. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR Marke&ng is many things. It is discovering what uniquely emo&onal space an an&histamine can occupy in someone’s heart. It is an&cipa&ng which micro-trend currently popular among tacoterians is going to disrupt the condiment market in 2020. It’s even understanding how the &me and distance of someone's daily commute relates to the likelihood of them switching deodorant brands. But more than anything, marke&ng is about influencing people’s behaviour. Ideally, to the point that they change their behaviour. So understanding the rela&onship between the two, marke&ng and behaviour, is crucial, don’t you think? At The Sound, we’ve spent thousands of hours watching, listening, and talking to people to gain insight into the nature of this rela&onship. And what we’ve learned from our endless trips down this rabbit hole is that geIng people to change their behaviour is difficult. It’s difficult because what a marketer cares about is not what a normal person cares about. Normal people don’t think about your brand that much. Or at all. Or ever. Save for that split second before they make a purchase. Sorry. Don’t do this. Marketing is the art of change 3
  4. 4. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 4 Another key reason as to why it is so difficult to change people’s behaviour is because people do not always know why they do what they do. But when asked, they’re happy to tell us anyway. Even if what they say contradicts what they do, which happens rou&nely. Taking what people say too literally has resulted in some truly awful common sense marke&ng; the kind that makes ra&onal and persuasive sense – but doesn’t actually influence behaviour at all. Have you been lied to by ‘purchase intent’ data? Perhaps you had a persuasive ad that sailed through pre-tes&ng but uSerly failed to drive sales? IPA data shows quan&ta&vely pre-tested ads don’t perform any beSer on the metrics that maSer – like sales and profitability. We’ve all been there. Numbers some&mes lie and humans are complicated. But no ma1er how beguiling, confounding or perplexing it is, the ques;on remains: What can we do as researchers to be1er understand behaviour? “I think” doesn’t mean what you think it means
  5. 5. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 5 Behavioural science kind of looks like this when you close your eyes and imagine it. Go ahead and try… See? It’s like a weird 4-dimensional cube from the 1970s. Amongst the marketer’s toolbox are many different types of tools. Some are simple like a hammer, others are more complex, like a proton injector. Somewhere in between is the discipline of behavioural science. Most of us are familiar with the role our subconscious plays in decision making – and understanding behavioural science can help you hone in on the mechanics of why someone chooses to do the things they do. There is a reason why the best adver&sing doesn’t need to talk about product benefits. There’s a reason why we ‘forget’ bad news related to the brands we like. And there’s a reason why we can make complicated decisions in a maSer of microseconds. A beSer understanding of behavioural science can help us understand those reasons. Get familiar with behavioural science
  6. 6. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR Ambiguity Effect IKEA effect Loss Aversion Optimism Bias Curse of Knowledge Belief Bias Declinism The tendency to be over-optimistic, overestimating favorable and pleasing outcomes. The disutility of giving up an object is greater than the utility associated with acquiring it. The tendency to avoid options for which missing information makes the probability seem "unknown". The tendency for people to place a disproportionately high value on objects that they partially assembled themselves, such as furniture from IKEA, regardless of the quality of the end result. When better-informed people Dind it extremely difDicult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people The belief that a society or institution is tending towards decline. Particularly, it is the predisposition to view the past favourably and future negatively. An effect where someone's evaluation of the logical strength of an argument is biased by the believability of the conclusion. Availability Cascade A self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse Frequency Illusion The illusion in which a word, a name, or other thing that has recently come to one's attention suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards Not Invented Here Aversion to contact with or use of products, research, standards, or knowledge developed outside a group. Pessimism Bias The tendency for some people, especially those suffering from depression, to overestimate the likelihood of negative things happening to them. But never mind all that. Behavioural science has identified over 170 cognitive biases that influence our decision-making. Here are 11 of them. 6
  7. 7. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR Go for the gut. The central principle to this seemingly complex discipline is actually quite simple 7
  8. 8. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 8 Gut feelings are heuris&c shortcuts; paSerns of intui&ve intelligence derived from the en&rety of one’s learned experience. They override thoughts to help us make really complicated decisions, really quickly, all the &me. But how do you know when a decision comes from the gut or the brain? Here’s three ques&ons that can help you understand the nature of of any given decision: What is a gut feeling? A Is the decision a habit? Did the person simplify the decision? Is context influencing the decision? B C Deciding to eat a Frank & Cheese burger will give you the wrong kind of gut feeling. If the answers are: A. No B. No and C. No … congratula&ons!* You’ve iden&fied an instance of purely ra&onal behaviour and logic-based decision making. There’s no need for behavioural science here. Feel free to take a short break before reading on. But if the answers to any of the ques&ons suggest that they are using their gut rather than their brain, no break for you. *Although you might want to double check your answers. Unless you’re researching cartography or how people solve maths problems there’s likely something you’ve overlooked.
  9. 9. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 9 “Habits emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort.” - Charles Duhigg Author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  10. 10. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 10 We all have habits. Some good, some bad. Some weird, some normal. Some are even weird and normal, like mouthing Wed-nes-day phone&cally to help you spell it out. (It’s ok, we all do it.) Habits are efficient. They mean we can do complicated things, like driving a 4,000 lb vehicle for hours on end, and simple things, like buying a box of cereal, all without having to actually think about what we’re doing. Ul&mately, this mental efficiency allows us to breeze through the 35,000 or so decisions it takes to get through an average day without breaking down from mental exhaus&on. Because they aren’t decisions at all, but forms of automa&c behaviour. And as any nail-biter, room-pacer or smartphone-flicker can aSest, it takes far more energy to not do them than it does to keep coas&ng on auto-pilot. So, most of our behaviour is automa&c. Which means conscious thought doesn’t have a role to play in the majority of our decisions. This is great for brands if they are already a part of an exis&ng habit, but a real challenge if they aren’t. This is the habit fairy. He lives inside your brain. What is a habit?A
  11. 11. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 11 By understanding how habits work we can design more intui&ve products and crag smarter marke&ng that has a beSer chance changing people’s behaviour. Charles Duhigg’s habit loop provides a framework that lets us look under the hood of these decisions to understand what it is that makes people do what they do. The habit loop consists of three parts: Cue: No cue, no behaviour. All habits are triggered by something - it can be a thought, feeling, image or even a &me of day. But all habits begin somewhere. That somewhere is the cue. Rou;ne: This is the behaviour itself, making this quicker, simpler or more fun helps it to become s&cky. Reward: The reward tells us that the behaviour was a good one we should remember, and over &me ‘locks in’ the habit. You know it’s a habit when the cue immediately creates an&cipa&on for the reward. Cue Routine Reward 1. Charles Duhigg,The Power of Habit, 2013 1 The habit loop
  12. 12. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 12 We’ve personally witnessed the importance of the the habit loop when we work with clients who want to create a specific new behaviour amongst their target customers. They will ogen find that people like their brand and believe in it, but that this affec&on and belief isn’t transla&ng into posi&ve behaviours. Which is frustra4ng. Habits are by nature repe&&ve, so we believe the best way to study them is through diary tasks – which help us iden&fy what triggers a behaviour and how it makes people feel. We then use this as a basis for discussion, to understand how each stage of the habit works. This allows us to pinpoint which part of the habit needs to be addressed. We might iden&fy that people don’t even think of using a given product, which is a cue issue, or it didn’t live up to expecta&ons, which would be reward problem. We used this model to help one client re-orient their communica&ons. Whilst they had been hammering home the incredible performance of their product – we discovered that they inadvertently created a cue for use only in extreme situa&ons. Oops! This meant that their customers didn’t even think of using the product except as a last resort …which wasn’t very ogen. Using the habit loop
  13. 13. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR Febreeze redesigned their boSle from something plain and cupboard-bound, into something aSrac&ve and counter- worthy, taking it from being largely ignored to something that was always present as a visible cue. Toyota’s glass of water app challenged drivers to drive smoothly and avoid abrupt accelera&on – this increased awareness of fuel-efficiency and reduced petrol consump&on by up to 10% for users. Gamifica&on like this is a common way to create a new reward for a desired behaviour. Starbucks knows how deeply their customers both cherish and rely on their morning coffee rou&ne, so they made the process easier and s&ckier by introducing the Starbucks app, which allows customers to pre-purchase that crucial first cup of joe and go straight to the pick-up line. Cue Routine Reward A few of our favourite habit-y products 13
  14. 14. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR What is it that prompts people to use your product? How intui&vely is your brand / product associated with the problem it solves? Is there an obvious moment people should use your product? How does the habit make people feel? Is the reward instant or delayed? How do you communicate the reward? How easy, fun or quick is the behaviour? Can the behaviour be streamlined? Is the behaviour intui&vely learned? Cue Routine Reward What do habits mean for you? First of all - acknowledge that you’re dealing with a habit rather than a ra&onal choice. It’s hard to persuade people out of a habit, it’s far beSer to make the habit easier and s&ckier. Here are some ques&ons to help you on your way: 14
  15. 15. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 15 “When faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead.” - Daniel Kahneman Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow
  16. 16. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 16 We guess&mate that people spend .05% of a moment considering and weighing the benefits of 99% of the things we buy everyday. Conversely, marketers spend 99% of our &me imagining the non-existent conversa&ons people are having in their minds determining if 10% shinier hair is beSer than 15% stronger strands. They don’t weigh up pros and cons of all the op&ons available before making a judgement or a decision. Instead they use intui&on and emo&on to guide them, subs;tu;ng hard ques;ons that require concentra&on, for easier ques;ons that don’t. Which is the most powerful cleaning product? Which brand feels the most macho? Should I increase my daily fibre consump&on? How ‘regular’ am I? How likely am I to be squashed by an intergalac&c meteor strike? How do we blow up a meteor? Keep it simpleB This metaphorical representation of the human mind lends a certain academic credibility to this insight, don’t you think?
  17. 17. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 17 Our infinite cleverness is ogen misdirected towards wri&ng smart benefit statements and compelling RTBs instead of simply sor&ng out the easy ques&on that people want answered. This is a really libera;ng idea once you dig into it. It means that our recommenda&ons aren’t constrained to what people say is important but to what they genuinely find important. It directs our ques&oning and analysis to help us get to the ogen simple ques&ons without crea&ng complicated and unnecessary hierarchies of decision making. Ager all, no one has the &me or inclina&on to think like that anyways. Google faced concerns about the safety of their self-driving cars, so instead of answering ‘how safe are these cars?’ they instead answer ‘how friendly do the cars feel?’ by designing them to look as cheerful as possible. Honda wasn't considered a premium car manufacturer, so instead of persuading people with an answer to ‘how credible is Honda?’ they created the now famous “The Cog” advert that showed an Accord being seamlessly manufactured by a Rube Goldberg machine to answer the ques&on ‘how clever is Honda?’. Better Marketing answers the easy questions
  18. 18. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 18 “People are typically unaware of the reasons why they are doing what they are doing, but when asked for a reason, they readily supply one.” - Daniel Gilbert Psychologist at Harvard University and author of Handbook of Social Psychology
  19. 19. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 19 Environment – Where we are and what’s happening around us influences how we feel and how we behave in the moment. Social – We are social creatures at heart and tend to copy other people – some&mes unconsciously. Choice – The way a choice is presented to us influences our judgements. In some markets choice overload prevents people from making a choice at all, or choices with a short-term benefits outweigh a greater long-term benefit. Personal – How we feel when making the choice influences what we will do, this ogen differs from how people feel when conduc&ng research. Recognising the importance of context provides lots of useful angles to understand behaviour and inform beSer marke&ng. Everything we sense and interact with can influence our behaviour and impact our decision-making. So too can the other people around us, and the social dynamics at play. Context mattersC
  20. 20. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 20 The Tube Some London Underground sta&ons play classical music to discourage an&social behaviour, while some wine shops also play classical music as it encourages people to spend more. Headphones iPods were an extremely popular product, but you may not have no&ced them if they didn’t include their trademark white headphone cables. The headphones served as an immediately recognizable cue, further fuelling the perceived popularity of the device. SocialEnvironment
  21. 21. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 21 Coupons JC Penney was known for having great discounts vouchers that made people feel like smart and savvy shoppers. In 2011, the CEO decided to replace this strategy with an ‘everyday low prices’ approach. Sales plummeted. They had removed the very thing that made JC Penney a fun and rewarding place to shop, now it was boring and cheap rather than exci&ng and cheap. The CEO leg soon ager and the voucher deals were reintroduced. Personal Choice Scarcity Chicago’s Doughnut Vault makes some amazing donuts. But they don’t make that many of them, and when they run out they close up shop for the day. This ‘scarcity effect’ makes the donuts seem even more special, so they can charge more, sell more AND go home early. Framing choice with this method naturally influences our percep&on of something’s worth.
  22. 22. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR Context: Pub 22 A B C D E A B C D E Market research is ogen conducted in an alien seIng – a place that is nothing like the place where people make their decisions. To get closer to the these decisive moments, The Sound regularly conducts in situ research for our clients. Some&mes* this happens in a pub. Does nau&cal bric-a-brac provide a cue to drink rum or other sailor-friendly spirits? What mental shortcuts do they use when surveying their choices? How are they feeling in this exact moment? Who is this guy and why is he staring at us? Seriously. What in this context is considered socially ‘normal’? *well, more than some&mes to be honest FF Do they use a coaster, and if not, why?
  23. 23. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 23 Summary of key points “I think” ≠ what people think Tap into the gut Keep it simple Diary Tasks Context has a huge impact on how we feel and behave in the moment. Context mattersThe Habit Loop We feel first and think second. If we can get the gut to lead, the brain will follow. 95% of our behaviours are habits and they all follow a predictable structure. Let people tell their story in the moment so you can discover their triggers. People do not know why they do stuff. Simplicity leads to fun, quickness and s&ckiness.
  24. 24. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 24 It starts with the brief. Be really clear on the behaviour you want to influence and understand how all your marke&ng and research lines up behind that goal. The brief is where we ogen find the tensions in our projects, where the strategy is at odds with the specific behaviour that needs to change. We work with you to plug that gap, to ensure your marke&ng sets out to accomplish the behaviour change goals it is supposed to. Ask be1er ques;ons. Use the models in this presenta&on to create beSer project hypotheses and don’t assume anyone will be able to tell you the answer – many &mes you have to observe or infer it. Answer be1er ques;ons. We know that people don’t make ra&onal judgements, so instead discover how they make non-ra&onal judgements and design for those instead. During research be conscious of the methodology – how natural is the seIng? Look outside of the ‘respondent’ – what else could be influencing behaviour? Ok, so there’s lots of clever stuff – now what do you do with it all?
  25. 25. THE SOUNDTHE ART AND SCIENCE OF CHANGING PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR 25 “Genuine insight values every understanding, so always contemplate and listen loudly.” - The Sound Smart as f*ck and never boring
  26. 26. WWW.THESOUNDHQ.COM 26 V A N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I W W W . T H E S O U N D H Q . C O M

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