28 – The Art of Persuasion & Decision Making, with Matthew Willcox
In this episode we are joined by Matt Wilcox, author of “the business of choice” where we deep dive into the application of behavioral science to give us critical insights for marketing magic.
We break down how the different building blocks that effect human behavior, hopefully shedding a light and giving you a blueprint for creating some persuasion.
Spoiler alert our acronym for the chat is LENS!
-[L] Perceived fear of Loss -[E] Ease -[N] "Now and Near — how time and physical distance affect our choices”. -[S] Our decisions are effected by what we see other people doing Socially.
About Matt: Matthew is is one of the pioneers of the application of behavioral science insights to the practice of marketing. His book, “The Business of Choice” was named M&SB’s “Marketing Book Of The Year and winner of the American Marketing Association’s prestigious Berry Book Prize, and the second edition was a medallist in the 2021 Axion Business Book Awards. He currently runs The Business of Choice, a behavioral insights and choice architecture consultancy that helps organizations make the choices they need people to make align with how people naturally choose.
*This Transcript is Autogenerated
Hey that and welcome to the HiHelloSura show. I'm your host Sura Al-Naimi. Today I am honored and thrilled to have Matt Wilcox on the show. Matt. He is an expert on how people meet choices. Consumer behavior. I wonder when that will be important to us. Wow. This is why I'm so thrilled to have him on the show. He's the author of the business of choice.
And co-winner of the American marketing association. Barry book prize. And winner of magazine and sales books, marketing book of the year. He's the founder of the Institute of decision-making. And he specializes in behavioral insights. And choice architecture, consultancy and training. So what does all of that mean? How do we apply that?
What are the predictors of behavior change? And how can we enhance that from a marketing perspective? Or even life habit perspective for that matter. So without further ado, I'm so excited to welcome Matt to the show.
Matthew, welcome to the show. I'm delighted. Thank you, sir. It's great to be here and looking forward to our chat. Absolutely. So listeners, as you can see, we have a fellow Brit here on the show and slash a lot of ties to Italy. And I'm so excited that I get to speak to Matthew because he is going to be chatting with us about his his background his amazing book, but.
So many awards, the business of choice, and we're going to get into all things behavior, and especially what motivates our behavior and the intersection of behavior with creativity. So thrilled. I've no idea where we should start that, so it's Matthew, where do you think is a good place to stop for this?
One place to start would be, so although I was born in the UK, I grew up in Ireland. I support the Irish football team, not the English
. And and it all relate to something we may cover later on. So I have I currently live in the San Francisco bay area and spend some time in Milan. My wife is Italian. We lived in Bangkok in Thailand. I was the head of planning for Ogilvy. I in Bangkok for a number of years, we lived there for five years.
And this is a, I think has been a wonderful gift to be able to live. And work in so many different places. And it's something that we'll perhaps talk about because there's a great phrase for it that is used by professor at Singapore management university, Angela lung, who talks about having a cosmopolitan mindset and how that can actually aid.
How we approach creativity. But I think it's a really interesting turn of phrase, this idea of a cosmopolitan mindset. We talk about being global and things like that, but this idea of being cosmopolitan really appeals to me, but perhaps that's for later. Yes. Why not now?
So what does it mean to have a cosmopolitan mindset? It really means just having, being open to. Influences from other places and how those influences from other places affect your affect your thinking and behavior. Professor Lou's work. I came across it when I was writing my book, the business of choice, because I talk a lot about how behavioral insights what from behavioral science actually informed.
That's about how people make decisions, how we make decisions and how the people we might want to make decisions and make decisions as well. I talk a lot about marketing in the book, but it's not just about marketing, but understanding how people make decisions is really important for marketing.
If you think about it, marketing is not much other than understanding how you might influence people to make the choices that you need them to make. And I talk about this in a definition of marketing. My definition is. Marketing is about influencing choice because every organization to succeed, we can have our ground objectives as organizations.
And when I say organizations, whether you're a marketing by him off like Google or Levi's or Unilever, or whether you are an NGO, trying to get people to change behavior for their own benefit for public health reasons to aid society in some way. Then you will only succeed, not because of your objectives, but because of the choices you managed to get other people to embrace.
So one of the things I talk about marketing is it's not about our brands. It's not about our work. It's about the choices that other people end up making and our part in helping people make those choices. So that's really what the book is about, but I also wanted to talk about how behavioral insights can actually help us in our.
As well as both marketers and just people generally trying to gone to change in the world. And professor loon's work is interesting because one of the things that she's found she looks at at much, a lot of work about culture. But one of the things that she's found is that when you put people in an environment where they feel more cosmopolitan.
Then they are more likely to be creative and that can be just putting cues of other places around the, mixing them with people from other cultures. I think this is a very powerful argument for the importance of diversity in the creative processes. Okay. So you could, I think he shot a story about certain pictures and that influenced people to be more just pictures were influencing people, correct?
Yes. Even just putting people in a room, which is decorated to feel like it is not that meeting room, but there's a place from another company. Can actually in, in professor lungs this showed an increase in that level of creativity. And so I think, the mechanism, very often it's difficult to know what the exact mechanisms for these things are, but just getting people out of their everyday lives and opening that perspective on things actually have pays dividends in their approach to work.
There's a remarkable man actually is based in Milan called Peter. Who wrote a book called the collaborative, the sort of the forces of collaborative creativity. And he does really interesting work. So a lot of his work is with healthcare companies, but also with patient advocacy groups.
He will work with. Yeah, a group which represents a very specific aspect of schizophrenia, for example, and what he does is he brings people together. So he will bring a diverse group of people together. He will bring patients, people who are part of that patient community together with drug companies and healthcare people and healthcare providers, and get them thinking about the issues that embracing.
This disease state. And it's very interesting though, when you talk to Peter about it, it's interesting because he talks about how creativity has many benefits. It's not just about solving a problem, but he says, and this is I think what he gets off of in, in the work that he and his partners do, is it increases empathy.
It increases the empathy that these people have within the groups and something we overlooked so much. Is it actually. It makes people feel better about themselves being creative is not just about solving problems. There are benefits, and there's a recent piece of work. I was reading under the other day about how it actually affects our wellbeing, how it affects our sort of sense of mental states, but it also just generally makes us feel better about ourselves.
So that's one of the side effects of looking at how behavioral science can give us insights about decisions was actually to look at how we can use some of these principles. And some of the work of people in social and behavioral sciences to not be more creative, but to understand how creativity works and create conditions that will bring us both in terms of problem solving and at a personal human level, the benefits of being free.
Absolutely what a great bright byproducts to have to feel more uplifted as a consequence. And then there's so much body of work in terms of positive affect and feeling happy and tapping into that Today versus what's happening externally. And then the by-product that is more productivity, more creativity, more resilience.
So I'm making that choice. So I'm really curious about literally the business of choice. And when you talked about marketing and then you shared your definition. It just feels like any interaction with another human being is a series of choices, or what we do in our every day, from waking up to going to sleep and we're influenced in some sort of way or habits.
So what, as an organization or as a human being, moving through the world what kind of things can you share with us to, to wet the appetite, to maybe reveal. The thing that's always been there in plain sight. Yeah. So that's a good way of phrasing it. I think the.
So often we look at things and there doesn't seem to be that much new about them. And sometimes we also have to unlearn what we've fought before. And I think that's certainly the case with marketing. Most people who came up in my generation of marketers didn't have the benefits of an understanding of behavioral science, because really so many of the The principles have been developed in the last 30 years and built on, and they lived in an arcane academic world for the first 15 of those 30 years.
So they've really only started coming out into the the practitioner domain in the last decade or so. And it can seem like a pretty terrifying ensemble. It's a to give you a sort of a very, and you touched on this in some of your earlier podcasts as well, but In a nutshell and nutshells have always incredibly dangerous.
Not just the choking hazard, but just because they tend to to concentrate things a bit too much, but much of the findings of behavioral scientists get to the shortcuts that we intuitively use to make choices. Now, this can be written off as being humans, being irrational. Really.
It's not a question of us being irrational. It's a question of us. Not always going through a conscious and deliberative process. When we make a choice, it's human nature. Not to do this. It's not surprising. We don't do this because to make a conscious and deliberate of processes is costly. In terms of time, it takes time to think about things.
And most of the time we don't have the time to think about things and we just get to a quicker non-conscious solution. In terms of survival. We don't have a time. We don't have the time and. And other animals over the hundreds of thousands of millions of years have not survived through consciously processing, every decision that they make.
And it's also costly in terms of energy. Our brain uses a lot of energy and deliberative thinking takes energy. And we know this, we know how tired we felt when we have to sort out a puzzle. We have to solve a problem, or we have to read a thick academic tech. So we use these shortcuts to make choices and they've been, kind of behavioral scientists have shown us hundreds of these.
And there's a, I think about 110 cognitive biases and heuristics as the heuristic, as the term, formerly of a rule of thumb it's used in a slightly misleading way, because it can be something that is a rule of thumb from our personal experience. Something that we've learned works for us.
And we apply faster than the speed of consciousness because we know it works or it can be something innate in our human condition, which is something that humans over the years have evolved and succeeded because they use so so we use all that, these shortcuts and understanding that. Is a critical part of understanding how people make the choices they make and how they feel about the choices they make as well.
That's an important thing because a choice can make you feel good or bad. And I think I would add to my definition of marketing. It's not just about influencing choices, but if you're a marketer you're trying to construct and guide people to choices that come easily to them, but also are emotionally rewarding in some ways.
So there's loads, there's hundreds of these heuristics and it's, too much I think to take in. And as you have often said too much to to think about in terms of application. So one of the things that I've tried to do is refine without. Dumbing down body, all of this work. There's a great quote.
I can't remember who who said it. It's if you're writing sec creative brief, the great great creative brief compresses, actually I was a mechanical Russell Davis. It compresses all of the nuances without losing anything. And what you're really trying to do there is get it so you don't lose the richness that you're trying to communicate.
But you've still managed to make it what I call brain size. You've tried, you've managed to make it something that people can carry that problem around with them and think about. And the framework I've developed tries to do the same thing to take this body of work into a simple framework, which covers the most important parts.
And it doesn't lose that much in the process. The framework school, the behavioral lens, L E N S. And that's partly deliberate. Acronyms are, we know from behavioral science, acronyms and rhymes are important because they are sticky. People remember them, but they all said believe in them more as well.
And but the idea of the behavioral lens is it. Looking at things from a behavioral perspective, but it's an acronym. And the owl is actually an interesting and counter-intuitive thing. The L stands for loss and you might say why would anybody in marketing wants to talk to people?
About loss. Marketing is about improving the products that we sell services. We want people to engage in, or as I said, if you're an NGO, trying to get people to adopt beneficial behaviors, those seem to be about positives. This is about gains, but why might loss be important? And the reason for that is that one of the.
Kind of the big behavioral principles that emerged and was named and developed by an unfair ski, two famous behavioral scientists. Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel prize for this work in 2002, I think, and wrote a book which you or many of your listeners may have may have read, which is called thinking fast and slow.
But one of the things that he uncovered was this idea that humans, the human behavior is driven more by the by a loss of the same size than it is by again. And let me just explain that more clearly than I just did, which is that the behavioral impact. Of a loss of say a hundred dollars is greater than the behavioral impact of a gain of a hundred dollars.
So we will do more to avoid the loss and we will do to realize the game. It's not always true. There are situations when this is not the case, but as a rule of thumb, it often we often see that this effect is true. And so one of the important things about this is that in every choice, There's potentially a loss in adopting any behavior.
You are moving away from something, especially new behaviors. There's a great paper paper by John Gorville, his professor at Harvard called the curse of innovation or the innovation curse. And in this, he talks about one of the most significant reasons for failures. Of innovation and so many innovations fail.
I think between estimates vary between 70 and 92% or something like that. But one of the most significant reasons is that adopting something new and adopting a new behavior means you're leaving something behind. It means you're losing something. And so one of the things that I encourage people to do, and I do this, not in the workshops I run is spend time thinking about what might people fail, losing.
By adopting the behavior you want them to adopt. This is not to say that you're using the idea of loss as a, as an active part of your marketing, but it is a very important thing to understand when you're trying to move people to a new behavior or to change their behavior in some way. And it also has many other effects as well.
So loss is not just about what holds people back. There are ways you can use loss to encourage people to adopt, to behave in a classic example of this is a limited time offer. So for example, where people are told that something may not be available, we see this all the time. When everybody was flying, I'm hoping to get on a plane in a couple of weeks time, but I've only flown a couple of times over the last two years.
Like most of us I'm sure you are familiar with those ads when you go online to search and flight. And it says only four seats remaining at this price. And so often, and I know this stuff so often I click on it because I don't want to lose that seat at that price, even though I know that there's probably another four seats at.
$101 rather than $99 99 or 89 99 or whatever it is, but it's constructed in such a way to make money. And that uses. This engine of loss, it uses this motivation of the fear of losing something. So the, of that, as an important thing to understand the Ian lens stands for ease. And this is two parts.
We are drawn to things which are. Physically easy. And this is something that, whether you're using, whether it's a, this is a question of user experience online or virtually, or whether this is in, in, in the real world. We will tend to take the option, which is easiest to reach easiest to get to that requires fewer steps.
There are some exceptions, actually luxury brands are an interesting exception where we almost like life to be made difficult for us. And and there's also a cognitive BS. So what's easy to think about. What's easy to evaluate. There's a great phrase that some behavioral scientists use, which has a value of building.
So when something is easy to evaluate, we then are drawn to that. Even if the consequences that evaluation mean it's not as good an option as some of the other things, just even the ease of the process of evaluation. So when you say value valuability, so is that why, where like often in, some sort of software that you're buying or some sort of online platform, and then they have.
The different, like the comparisons between the different tiers, for example. And then if I go to another platform and it's not as clear, like what the difference I'm like, oh, I'm just going to come over here. Cause I get it. So it was like a confused mind says no, but also the ability to evaluate Israeli.
Yeah. And that progressive insurance is a good example of this. They always show you. The prices of other options. And they're doing that to make it easier to evaluate. And we feel, we, we almost we like it when people, part of it is it seems that this, that it's an open and fair offering, but it's also because we respond well to somebody making something a bit easier for us.
And so yes, the valuability is a really important thing, but another thing is what mental frameworks we have already. So in, in this bucket of ease, the second part of the lens, I also include how we use comparisons, how we use reference points to make decisions. And again, this is such a big area for marketers because so often marketers don't want.
That kind of, the amount of times I've had a client say to me we're beyond comparison. We don't have a complete, we are truly unique. Appealing to that might sound it actually, isn't such a smart approach to marketing because people need reference points. Humans need reference points to make decisions.
It's an as Simonson his professor at Stanford who wrote. A book which is really about in fact, he's a very interesting guy. He and I shared the American marketing association book price with, but for both of our books and this book is called absolute value and he looks at how he describes humans as cognitive misers, who are addicted to comparison.
It's almost like we come coming to evaluate anything and he uses the example. He says, if you put one washing machine or a dishwasher, so you take one dishwasher and you ask people to evaluate it, they can't, but you put two next door to each other and you almost can't stop them making the comparisons, working out, which one is better because they have that frame of reference.
And it's very often if you don't give people. All those frames of reference aren't available. It's like trying to navigate on a map, which has got nothing written on it at all in a world without signposts. We often use in behavioral design, the term wayfinding. We, you need to give people things to help them find that.
And the right comparisons can really help the wrong comparisons. I call them unhelpful. Anchors can send you in the wrong direction. And so often we have, if you, if we're thinking about something, we're thinking about a category or we're thinking about something we need to do. We have default comparisons in place, and those may not be the most helpful.
An example I saw a few years ago at lax was a billboard for, to try and, they're still technically in a drought in California. It was particularly bad when I saw this billboard and the billboard said something like water is ashamed of. Creating this character for water waters, ashamed of your 10 minute or 15 minute shower, take a shower of 15 minutes or less.
And the problem here is that if you want to get people to take shorter showers, do not create a frame of reference, which includes. Biggest show longer showers, they were almost creating the wrong frame of reference, the wrong comparison to get people, to adopt the behavior they wanted to adopt.
So an ease, many things go in is, but one of which is what do we know already? How does, how can you use the power of what people know we're ready to make choices easy and how can we avoid using what they know we're ready to make the choices difficult. So how would you reframed the the ad instead of it being a comparison with longer showers?
I would have, I think done a couple of things. One would have been, if I was making any comparison, I would have I would have said something like, you don't need to take a shower. That's 30 seconds long, but a five minute shower would be great. So I would take the anchor. Another thing would be to use another tool, which is social proof, which is to say more and more people are taking short showers, join them during these short sham revolution.
You're going to get a knock on the door with but and then the end actually relates to too many things. Again, that you've talked with them guests on your podcast, which is how time affects the choices you make. And stands for now and near. And it's about how. When something seems either near in terms of distance or time we respond differently to it.
Then when it appears distant, especially when we're making decisions, there's a phrase that behavioral scientists use, which I like, which is smaller, sooner beats largely. Because so often we tend to think that it's about the size of the reward or the size of the loss, which will be motivating. But timing is really important.
And a classic experiment, which has been done many times in many ways is to say to people, do you want $50 now? Or a hundred dollars in a year's time I use this at conferences myself, and most people say, I'll take the $50 now. And in, so doing that, turning down a rate of return of a hundred percent.
Way more than common, like Bernie Madoff we're offering what, and that was too good to be true. And if you just change that, that offer slightly, and you say, do you want $50 in one week's time or a hundred dollars in one week's time, then people are more likely to take the offer of a hundred dollars because you're moving that immediate short-term thing away from that avoid from the choice you're taking that motivation away.
And so it's just an important thing to understand how, sometimes you do want things to be distant. If you want to get somebody to agree to something, make it distance, make it, if you want to get somebody to agree, to see a disagreeable relative say, would you agree to see uncle Billy in six months time?
They'll probably say yes. If you say tomorrow or the day after, they'll probably say no. And so this is just an important thing. It affects a huge issue in many many things to have health and wealth to do with savings, to do planning for retirement. We're so often swayed by the short-term. We neglect to take decisions that have better long-term consequences, both in health and financial matters.
And it's just a really interesting. Area of psychology as well. One of the theories is that, and this was shown by a great neuroscience experiment done by a guy called Hal Hershfield, who runs a lab at UCLA where, he was able to see in the part of the brain. Deals with when we think about ourselves and self-concept is less activated when we think about ourselves in the future, then when we think about other people now.
So in a way, when we think about ourselves in the future, we're thinking about a stranger. And so perhaps it's not surprising that we have. Make sacrifices for that person and the other person in the future. And then the final part of the lenses is S which stands for social and self. And we touched a bit on this with when you asked me what I would do with the shadow thing.
This is about how our decisions are affected by what we feel and see other people are doing. And this is such a primal thing. This is not just. An aspect of human nature. It's an aspect of nature. I, I'm a keen birder or birdwatchers, as we say in Europe. And. Yeah, I spend a lot yesterday. I saw for the first time a Louis' woodpecker, I was in Sacramento and a species of bird I'd never seen before.
But sometimes I'll be looking at that, what they call shorebirds or waiters as little birds running around on the beach and you'll get clear next. They're quite difficult to tell apart from the species and you get to, you get a bit closer to them and you put your binoculars on them and you're looking at them and.
And just as you're close enough to work out with they've got green legs or gray legs or whatever, the identification one flies away, and then you get a bit closer and then another one flies away and then suddenly the whole flocks go and what's happening here is that the first one reacted to the sense of danger, which was me.
The second one reacted to probably the sense of danger that was me. But when the flop took off, they were more likely reacting, not to the source of data. But to the behavior of the other individuals, and this is a critical part of human behavior as well. One of the ways we can navigate the world is just checking out and keeping our antenna open to what other people are.
And modifying our behavior as a consequence. So this is a, this is, social proof is, seem to, it works in many ways. It's one of those interesting ones that is non-conscious, but it's got, a bit of consciousness about it as well. If you'd go to a restaurant, if you did an experiment in Belgium a couple of years ago, where they videoed people, they set up two restaurants, so that one was empty and the other was full and you have to queue for 20 minutes and they'd videoed.
And even though you could go and eat at that restaurant now, without waiting, people were drawn to wait in the queue or the line at the one, which was very busy and it's partly instinct, gut instinct, but it's also partly it's a good rational sign of the quality of something. And it is interesting because that may seem to conflict with what I just talked about with now.
And near when I talked about how we're drawn to things and then there, and one of the important things to understand about all of these insights, behavioral funds and indeed about the framework I use is it's not that sort of just one thing gets activated. It's like a string quartet. It's you've got to think about what are the different lines that each of these behavioral impulses is following?
Which one would actually more likely win the day in the case of the restaurant. The effect of what other people were doing was more important, was a bigger pool than the immediate gratification of I can get a seat now or I can wait 15 or 20 minutes. And another aspect of social itself is itself how we feel about ourselves, how we both how we want to project ourselves to other people.
But also our sense of self identity, self concept is a really powerful effect on pretty much everything we do and how we feel about ourselves at the time, our identity. I see this and I've been doing a lot of work with with healthcare companies and, the identity of a doctor has an effect on.
His or her decision making, but also on how people respond to that person as well. It's not the person they're responding to. It is the identity. And then there's another really interesting field, which is just this kind of covers so many aspects of both behavior and creativity and how effective we are, which is self-efficacy.
And this is how we feel about our specific skills. In terms of a task or area. And that really has a number of consequences because it affects how we feel about emotionally, how we feel about it, but also it affects whether we are like, To do this thing or not. And this is a really important in decision-making you really want people to feel that they are very capable of making this decision, that they have the tools that they are almost, if you can get into a master of the category, there is nothing worse.
I remember a number of times going for a wine shop and just being like. Paralyzed by the amount of choice and not just, and the paradox of choice is an interesting area, which talks about how many options can paralyze you. But it's not only just that it's about how do I feel about this category?
How do I know enough about these things to make an effective decision? Do I have the tools myself? And I think one of the things which is really important for mark does this to help people to quit. To be decision-making experts in the Catholic prism fields. They that they want them to make choices in that's.
That's really powerful because when I think about. You know our well today and how much is changing and unknown. So to have that education because although often I found people are parallelized and make no decision, because to your point, they don't feel equipped to make the decision.
So oh I'll decide on that later. Like later it doesn't happen. So I think that's an interesting one, especially because. There is just, there's just so much that we don't know for nowadays, for sure. And I think it's interesting because typically one of my beefs with marketing, I talked about how it is.
I like to think of it as not about as a marketing, your brand or your marketing, but as there the chooses choice, I think one of the things is that brands and marketers want to be the experts and really. That's okay, but who would you rather be? The expert you or the person is choosing you? And if you can make the chooser, the expert, this has many dividends.
It means that they feel better about their choice. It means they'll tell more people about the choice and it means they're more likely to persist about dressing about it. There's research that shows us that when people feel expert and confident in their choices, those three things. That'll make the choice more quickly.
They may make a man more daring choice. They will continue with that choice. If it's a product that you are, or a service that you use over time, and these days, incredibly importantly, they will tell more people. They will become advocates for that choice as well. Oh, nice. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Is there a particular example that you've seen recently that you'd like to share recently or in the past?
And the era of self-efficacy I did think as one it's not recent, but I always think it's a smart one, which is, and I don't, so often, so you'll see these, I find the exact examples and I'm often pretty certain the marketer hasn't thought through a behavioral lens, but. Good marketers and good creative people have that connection with human nature.
Sometimes they get it completely wrong, but sometimes they are. They're really good. In fact, I talked about scarcity earlier on. The first known use of scarcity appeals in marketing was the Kellogg company in 1,908 or something like that. And it was an illegal thing where they claim something was scarce when it wasn't.
But they knew that this thing had power and the. The man, the Kellogg who set up the Kellogg company. But when I, that I think relates to self-advocacy, which I've always thought is clever for a couple of reasons, is performance cars like Mercedes AMG, basically getting people into the cars at racing tracks to, to drive them and running these courses where they teach them to become better drivers.
And I think this is, and they charge money for it as well. So the genius of this is that charging money that creating a brand experience. But I think the thing that they're doing that they may not realize they're doing is then that creative people are more confident driving performance cars. And that could be a barrier to why I might not want, I'm not a performance car driver, but that could be a barrier as to why somebody might not want to embrace.
Driving a performance car. So I think that's it a clever way of doing it in a way of building self-efficacy and kind of almost decision-making self-efficacy. Yeah, I can see that for sure. I can definitely see that. So interesting. So interesting. So we talked a little bit, we've talked about your framework and people can learn more about that in the book.
Thinking about the book proceeds, the framework is something I've built up in the last couple of something I use in workshops and yeah. So yeah. This is a treasure, then they can only hear it here. And other sources where you're talking. Thank you. That's wonderful. And as we wind down, is there anything else that you want to share with our listeners?
We've talked about creativity. Is there anything as a marketeer that I should be mindful or any populations that you're seeing over the horizon that you think is going to get bigger? As we go through the rest of this year, or next couple of years, Yeah. We're obviously living in a time of dramatic change and I think one of the things is some, one of the mistakes that people make is to think that human nature changes for what human nature does is basically our response.
The things that drive human nature remain the same. There's those forces, whether it, we call it the lens or those principles from behavioral science. Yeah, but the context changes and there's a couple of important points here. Just context is so important in decision-making. We tend to think that people remain the same, that people, that individuals are the word that scientists use is stable, which sounds a bit like we're talking about mental stability, but what they mean is that their behavior is stable, but it's not it's.
It is so context dependent and one of the big insights, behavioral sciences. Context changes can change an individual's behavior dramatically. And so I think, the thing that one has to think about is how might changes in the environment relate to the things that drive human behavior rather than saying, oh, people are changing and humans are changing.
Human nature remains pretty stable. But what does happen is that the things around change and change are what we do. One of the examples I use is. And this happened to me, I was looking at, was fixing one of my bikes in the garage. It was kinda dark. And I dropped a small piece and that's it's always a nightmare side.
I need to be better organized and stuff. And then I'm looking for the small piece in the dark and I'm opening my eyes as wide as I can to try to see this piece. So my objective is to find the piece. On the ground, but my wife comes home, the garage door opens and that's a wonderful sunny day in California.
And suddenly this place is based in not bathed and mean flooded in sunshine. And now I have exactly the opposite problem and instinctively, I'm not squinting to try to find this piece. So my behavioral objective is the same, but the context has changed how I'm going about it. So my behavior has changed because the context has changed.
Is there an example that you have with a brand perhaps where context is affected? The pursuit? It behavior let's think about context is really Important. I'm trying to think of. I have examples on discerning. Yeah, I haven't thought that is a chapter.
The chapter in my book actually, which is called if content is king context is queen. And what I mean by that is the queen on, in the chess board is the most powerful piece. And I think we so often think that our marketing is about. Yeah, creating the content as about as opposed to understanding the context.
And so that does lead me to, to an example. And this is from work that was done a number of years ago by professor at the university of Minnesota at the cultural management school whose flag risk of SES. And he looked at he created this experiment where. He gave people two choice.
He wanted to see which choice was most appealing to people. And one choice was to do something which other people were doing a socially safe choice. So the choice, which I think it was the visit Las Vegas, it was framed. Visit Las Vegas, like millions of others, it's a popular destination and the other choice was do something different, visit Las Vegas and those I'm not getting it exactly right.
But then what he did was for each of the people who saw this message, he divided them into two groups. And those two groups, the first of those groups saw a clip from a romantic comedy. A very safe content. And the other saw a frightening clip from the shining with Jack Nicholson, mad, smashing up a house.
And what's a risk of his risk of, as he has found in that work, was that when people had seen the shining before they were more likely to opt for the safe. They were more likely to be at to find the message about. Doing, what other people did appealing when they saw the safe, romantic comedy, they were more likely to say, oh, I'll do something different.
And I think this is interesting because typically marketers would say, what you need to do is align. Content with your context. And if you're trying to get people to do something risky, put your ad in. I dunno, jumping base jumping or a, bungee jumping off the grand canyon or something like that.
But his research, which suggests the opposite is true. The context actually has a counterintuitive effect, which is that it, if you've, if the context makes you feel sick, You may be more open to taking a risk. And if the context is fearful in some way, then you're more likely to want to take a safe choice.
Oh, that's so fast. That makes so much sense. Yeah. I remember I was talking to Joe Rody, who was the designer for the animal kingdom. He talked about this need to create patterns like the minute that somebody entered the park, for example and to create patterns that were familiar when they first entered.
So that people would say, oh, this is familiar. And then they would feel safe. And then when they felt safe, then they felt brave to be adventurous. And so there's this very, like the certain prompts that, that they would use. But then after that, then that led to this kind of explore a spirit where the person was like, I'm going to go this way or I want to go that way or I'm going to try this out.
And that was because of. The initial, our primal with satiated, I feel safe right now. So I feel willing to explore that. That makes a lot of sense, actually. And so when I think about a new product that maybe somebody hasn't come across on PathEnd, which might be a bit of a stretch, or might be a bit of a risk, for example, for a procurement officer, or the head of training that maybe linking it to something that is just really blatantly off. So then they can take that off and then transition into this unknown space, it's just a thought chatting out loud. So it makes it, it makes no sense. And I think, it goes back to something we talked about at the beginning of the conversation you've talked about in some of your episodes before, which is, what we know already.
And, so if you want to get somebody to adopt something which is straight. So often, as I said, marketers want to say this is new and completely different, but you will be much better off if you say it relates to something. If you show how it relates to something you already know, or you already do and list both of these really.
It is easier to do things when you can create that. Nah, I know the strange thing. It's something I know. And actually the third relating it to something you do is behavioral goal, which is called piggybacking, which is if you can get people to associate, and this is something I do already and incorporate this new thing in that routine, then it's much easier to get them to it.
But it's a, it's this notion of like a great example, I was thinking is the segway, which, and that failed for a number of reasons. I think partly because people maybe felt they looked a little silly doing it. And so that's why I think segways only ever became things that people used when they went on vacation and the, like you would sit and go around because people will do different things when they're on vacation than they would normally do.
But, electric bikes have been incredibly successful. And now electric bikes. Some of them cost 10, $12,000. As much as a segue. And I think it's because they fit into a framework. We know already a segway is something we don't really know it. We don't know how to operate it as a two wheel thing.
It looks awkward. It doesn't fit into an existing mental model and electric bike fixed very easily into the existing mental model of bicycle. It is a bicycle, but electric, you don't need to explain it in any way other than that. That's great insight for. A stall top or an entrepreneur, or anytime we're releasing a new product into market or service just to keep linking.
And it makes me think about that when the call was first introduced, it was, the horse and carriage. And then instead of saying call, they didn't have the word car time, but they said the whole slips carriage, and even like the sensibility of. So the look and feel very similar to the horse and carriage, but just, songs, horse.
That's true. Yeah. It just helps. It just helps. It's about, we have mental models. We've invested years of our time and brain energy in creating these mental models. It is much easier to find ways to make the choices you need. People. To work with and integrate those mental models than to try to create new ones or work against them.
Absolutely amazing. We could talk for hours really. Really? Yeah. So how can people get ahold of you, Matthew? What's the best way for people to connect with you and what are you also. What kind of conversations are you super stoked to have? So I'm very up for most conversations. I have a conversation later today with bringing some of these thoughts to an organization, which is looking to resurrect extinct species.
So that's pretty, that's a pretty archaic, but more than that, actually, they do a lot of things where they will, help species existing species survive better. By incorporating genetic adaptations into the gene pool. But so I'm, I'm interesting conversations and of obviously the most interesting ones I run workshops for many different sizes and types of organizations.
Most of those have been virtual of course, over that Garrett. And I do a mini condensed workshop as well, which is good for smaller organizations and small teams. And the best way to get in touch with me is to go to my website, the business of choice.com. And there's a bit of information about me and my books and also a way of contacting.
Amazing. Brilliant. Thank you so much. The yes, it's been amazing to chat and listeners. I will have all the notes readily available for you. And as always, if you enjoyed this episode, please don't hesitate to rate that and leave your comments, leave your connection meetings, because that just really makes all of this so worthwhile for us.
So once again, I won't see you next time, but 📍 we'll tune in for next time. Thank you.