Last october, Richard H. Taler received the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on psychological and social mechanisms which enter into action in our decision-making. In his book 'Nudge' with Cass Sunstein he lays out his theory behind nudge marketing.
Nudges? They’re little influences that softly and subtly steer a consumer choice, based on fine understanding of human decision mechanisms.
Softly as no one likes being forced or manipulated. This choice architecture takes into consideration how people chose before building any choice context. Examples? It can be an opt-out that gets a trillion times more conversions than an effortful opt-in (Defaults are key nudges in websites & emailings). It’s could be as simple as adding the energy consumption of your neighbours on your bill, and let social pressure do its work on your decisions. Or the tiny (cheap) detail of adding ‘limited to max 12 pieces per person” in a in promotion that can triple sales.
Here are a few examples to illustrate Nudging (and help your hiccuping good year resolutions along the way) :
Use the “social proof” nudge – What others do exert pressure on you to adapt & fit in. If you knew that colleague companies of similar size & business have a 20% growth yoy because they do XYZ. Wouldn’t you consider it too?
Bike to work 2x/week
Use the framing effect-nudge: people react in different ways depending on how the choice is presented.
Find 5 reasons why biking is good for you: it’s good for unloading stress, it’s me-time, healthy, sustainable, cheap & takes same time as the car in this bloody blocked country.
Do more sport
Did you fall for that useless fitness abo? Try the environmental cues-nudge : Put a poster on bathroom mirror that prompts you to think positively of fitness. Or buy a dog?
Facilitate choice: Make it easy to make the right decisions without thinking or effort -> Put nuts in your drawer@work, create a big bowl of fruit with premium visibility in your kitchen. You’ll eat less sweets if they're out of reach!
Did you catch that campaign with the “I promised it to my kids” ads? They ticked the opt-in button for you as a default and made the promise for you. If seen as a default, people tend to think that's the standard/preferred choice.
Happy mornings with the kids
Surgeries were proven to be performed more safely with a visual (environmental cue) crisis checklist. We love ticking off things : Who sets the table? Who gets milk & cereals? Everyone got his picnic, water bottle? YES, tick & Go!
What if marketers could use this “libertarian paternalism” to help people to make better choices? Not only to improve effectiveness of marketing activations and make more market share. That's important, but better still : to drive human choices that are the most difficult to make, the ones where immediate & instant gratification are absent.
Let's use nudges to orient people to the wisest choices for their own long term health, to help people to reduce impact on the planet?
Off you go!
Gregory & Thomas