Top 10 behavioural INFLUENCES Communications / Employee communications / Events / Leadership communications / Social media

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 post was first published here



Bri Williams, Managing Director and Behavioural Specialist, People Patterns Pty Ltd. is one of our 3 panelists for the IABC NSW June 16th event Utilising Behavioural Insights; Communication that delivers results.

Bri is on a mission to make life easier through the application of behavioural science to everyday business issues like mar comms and websites. At the event Bri will share with us the three behavioural reasons people don’t take the action you want, and what to do about it.  By knowing how to identify and resolve these barriers you can stop wasting effort on the wrong things, and instead create more effective and persuasive communications. You’re two clicks away from joining hundreds of professionals on this behavioural insights journey.