There’s a further extreme, in helping manage destructive behaviours using proven scientific techniques for encouraging behaviour change, such as CBT. A relatively new web app for solving sleep problems called Sleepio.com launched this year, using many of the digital and modern techniques seen in apps like Mint, or leveraging community/peer support, to cure health issues. Tools like Sleepio have been published in medical journals, so I can only assume its a matter of time before health practitioners start using persuasive apps as a matter of course for a range of issues: insomnia, smoking, weight loss, anxiety, violent behaviour.
There’s a lot of academic research around the areas of persuasive technology and design for behavior change. It’s getting more exposure as technology has allowed products and services to have an increasingly pervasive role in people’s lives.
Data, Feedback, and Smart Products
The primary characteristic of our new, pervasively connected world is the ability to collect data passively (think Runkeeper or Mint.com) or with minimal effort required (Foursquare). And not just collect the data, but present it back—via feedback loops and visualizations—in a meaningful way to the user. These are smart products that have personalized intelligence about our behavior.
Telling Stories with Data
Where Persuasion Lives
Scaling Self-determination, Pushing Persuasion
Ever wondered what the difference between east coast designers and west coast designers?
How designers in New York or D.C. differ from their counterparts in LA or Seattle?
After all, we know all about the differences between east coast and west coast rap (and the rivalry that runs along with it).
But who knew there was the same kind of divide among designers?
This infographic, prepared exclusively for MightyDeals, compares the two camps side by side. Get insight into differences by interest, style, concentration, education, pay scale, and more.
The following is adapted from an Artefact white paper. The full version may be downloaded here.
Recent advances in neuroscience and behavioral economics, cognitive psychology and anthropology are helping us better understand how our brains work and how decision-making takes place. A core finding of this work is that we are not primarily the products of our conscious thinking; we are instead the products of thinking that happens below the level of awareness. Reason, it turns out, is highly dependent on emotional value judgments and therefore is highly susceptible to bias.
This is a departure from the conventional wisdom of 20th-century economists and policy makers who tended to think of people as rational creatures who would weigh their options and make rational decisions. Successful advertising, branding, industrial and furniture designers seemed to understand instinctively that fundamentally emotion played a much bigger role in decision making, but there was no shared view about how, and as a result, design was sometimes regarded as an opaque process–clearly impactful but hard to reproduce, systematize, and control.
Now we are starting to amass a body of evidence built from hundreds of scientific studies documenting dozens of human cognitive biases. (For more on that, you can read Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler’s book,Nudge.) These biases are the result of mental shortcuts that lead us all to make less than rational (and in fact highly emotional) decisions, not just in the process of design but also more importantly as consumers.
Designers have been influencing behavior for a long time. Graphic design, for example, has generally been concerned with either the visual communication of information (implying static transfer of knowledge but not behavioral change) or the creation of attractive, eye-catching, coherent brand stories (attempting to encourage consumer purchasing and loyalty). This design concerned itself with changing or shaping attitudes and emotions toward brands and engaging their rational sensibilities. However, consciously “changing” the behavior of the users is something we argue is a relatively new role.
Shaping and informing opinions is still incredibly important. However, one of the clearest findings in the emerging area of “persuasive design” is that you can give people all the facts, create the most informative and attractive communications materials, and still not to get them to change their behavior.
While this recent knowledge of how our brains work is a significant step forward, we are still at the very beginning of learning how to do persuasive design effectively. In this century, we’re going to learn a lot more about our irrational behavior and decision-making abilities, and that knowledge is going to impact several design disciplines dramatically.
A good example of irrational behavior is the simple fact that many countries across Europe have dramatically different levels of organ donation. It turns out that the countries with participation rates below 20% designed the donation form so that drivers must opt into the organ donation program, whereas the countries with more than 95% participation have forms that make drivers opt out. This is something called the default bias. The principle of default choices has the same tremendous effect on retirement plans, software installation options, and others. In fact, it is so effective that it is commonly used in software installation option dialogs as an easy way to increase adoption.
Let us consider a design scenario that shows the default bias at work. Imagine you are a school administrator who discovers that in a school cafeteria the order you place the food items on display has a strong impact on what foods students end up consuming. You make inquiries, and there happens to be no particular logical order in which the food is placed in the display. You happen to know that According to the CDC (2011): “Childhood obesity in the USA has more than tripled in the past 30 years.” Armed with this knowledge, what do you do?
- Leave the order of the foods as is–with the understanding that you are still, albeit arbitrarily, shaping behavior.
- Change the order of the food so that more healthy options are presented first to the students.
- Change the order so as to favor more profitable options (irrespective of the healthiness of the food).
So option 1 means you just embrace whatever random order the food was in to begin with. This is a false choice, because you are in fact ignoring what you know. As for option 3, as hard up for money as our schools may be, ignoring the health interests of the school children is simply an immoral choice. The only responsible outcome presented is to change the order of the food to promote healthier choices (choice 2).
We think the second option is plain common sense. It puts the interests of the constituents in line with the interests of the institution, i.e., the general well-being of the student population. We also believe that an analysis of the intangible implications of choice number 2 would benefit the institution by resulting in fewer sick days and a healthier student body, which in turn, tends to perform better academically.
Some have called persuasive design “benevolent paternalism” or “Big Brother,” but this characterization would only be accurate if we were limiting options, or forcing behavioral outcomes, say, by limiting the selection to only healthy options. While the scientific study for this example found that the food order did indeed dramatically affect choices, it was did not lead to an absolute change of behavior, as people retained the individual freedom to make different choices.
Perhaps more fundamentally, the knowledge we have about behavior in this scenario is a human bias in decision-making that can lead people to favor what is desired over what is actually needed and/or to bias a decision based on the order things are placed in rather than more rational criteria.
So as a designer in the 21st century are armed with powerful knowledge of our human bias and frailties, you have several choices:
- Ignore what you know–and as a result potentially shape behavior in a completely arbitrary and unplanned way.
- Participate openly with declared and responsible outcomes in mind.
- Quietly manipulate behavior. We are using the term “manipulate” intentionally and very much in the sense of users being manipulated by unfair or insidious means to one’s own advantage, as in the case of option 3 above.
Why is it so important that designers learn to do this? Let’s examine the issue of global warming. A report from the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change communication examined people’s attitudes to global warming and bucketed them into six groups based on their attitudes, from “alarmed” to “dismissive.” If global warming predictions are accurate, then the behaviors of all of these groups need to shift–including those of the 18% who are alarmed. These are people who are extremely sure global warming is happening. They’re confident that negative effects have already started. They want an international treaty. They want government to regulate CO2. But, tragically, this 18% are no more likely to have energy-efficient homes or cars than people who think global warming is a hoax. To reiterate: One of the clearest findings in persuasive design is that you can give people all the facts, which may alter their attitude toward something but won’t necessarily change behavior.
Designers are now armed with a growing set of persuasive techniques for shaping behavior. But with great power comes great responsibility. We are not advocating that commercial interests be de-prioritized, or that profits need to be diminished in some way. No outcome I’m advocating involves undermining basic market capitalism. However, it is our firm belief that corporate interests that are aligned to preferable outcomes will be the only way to sustain profitability in the 21st century.
It’s also our belief that individuals and governments are only part of the solution to some of the 21st century’s most wicked problems. Corporate social responsibility, as defined here, is about aligning profits to a set of preferable outcomes for everyone and building the power to realize those outcomes into your products. We may disagree on what those positive effects are or on what a desirable future is, but we encourage everyone to formulate a public ethical framework.
My clients are just like yours: They want to Skype, email and text. But here’s why you still need face time.
When the daily avalanche of emails and voice messages gets overwhelming, it’s so tempting to retreat to my office and start typing replies and returning phone calls. That’s one of the biggest mistakes I can make.
No matter what industry we’re in, we’re all in the people business. We’ll only be successful if we really get to know our customers and colleagues. Many of my tech marketing clients are so busy that they now prefer texting to even emails or calls. Skype, WebEx and audio calls are convenient and create the illusion we’re actually having a meeting — but nothing beats the power of a truly personal, face-to-face connection.
What can you learn from an in-person meeting that you can’t from a virtual one?
1. You’re off the record. In Silicon Valley and many other places, there are few private offices. Many of my clients work in cubes and can’t have private telephone conversations with me or anyone else. This means that when I talk to them on the phone, I might not get to hear the most important information they can share: the unique team dynamics or executive’s personality quirks that would make or break our ability to match an expert consultant. Over sushi or a latte or a walk around the block, my clients can let me know more — with more color — than they can over the telephone or in an email.
2. Make use of not-so-small talk. Most business conversations are focused on solving a problem quickly and efficiently, while business relationships are built when people take the time to share and learn more about each other. That happens more naturally in person than over the phone or in an email. What cements a bond between people? Small talk about a favorite team, passion for pecan pie, parenting challenges, and the other bits and pieces that make us unique and interesting.
3. Make an impression. I bought a new handbag. It’s faux ostrich and it’s pink. Really pink. I’ve received compliments on it from every woman (and one man) I’ve met with in the past two weeks. I had worried it was perhaps not professional enough for business. But the style and color were bold, “spring-y” and made me smile. Who knew my $60 knock-off handbag would be such a great conversation starter and deliver such a strong personal statement? How do you do that over Skype?
4. Read the body language. Facial expressions often communicate so much more than words. We host consultant coffees and invite a handful of independent consultants to our office in order to better understand the nuances of each professional in a relaxed setting. We need to know what isn’t on the resume that makes each person unique. In their eyes and in their body language, we can see confidence, empathy, fear, friendliness or sincerity. That ability to “read” a candidate beyond their keywords is a huge competitive advantage for us.
5. Learn where the action is. I find out so much when I visit one of my clients in their office. Is the lobby bright and inviting with recent accolades proudly displayed? Do employees seem happy? Is there free juice and healthy snacks in the cafeteria? Brand new Herman Miller chairs in the conference room? Is everyone moving in slow motion or is there a palpable buzz? The environment speaks volumes and may factor into your business proposal or plan. By understanding company dynamics, we can communicate more effectively to meet their needs.
I love new technologies that allow me communicate with others more freely and quickly. But as a business owner, I try to remember customers want to work with someone they can relate to, not just buy from.
And I believe in walking the walk. Want to meet me in person? I’ll be at the Faz Restaurant lounge in Pleasanton, California on Wednesday, March 7 between five and seven. Meet my team and join us for a drink. RSVP to @renesiegel.
I’ll be the one with the really pink purse.
Sharing awesome ex-class mates(Zack)’s presentation;
3 Myths of customer experience;
1. You can design experience
2. Experience strategy should be focused on creating something new.
3. Experience strategy consistently produces signiﬁcant value.
Steve Jobs once said, “It is not the customer’s job to know what they want.” That’s absolutely right. It is yours. And don’t think you don’t have a customer because you work in an internal support function or for a company that provides components or services. Everyone has a customer, whether it is a purchaser, user, or co-worker.
The quest to identify opportunities for innovation starts with pinpointing problems customers can’t adequately solve today. More than 50 years ago Peter Drucker wrote, “The customer rarely buys what the company thinks it sells him. One reason for this is, of course, that nobody pays for a ‘product.’ What is paid for is satisfaction.” Companies think they are selling products and services, but in reality people hire those products and services to get jobs done in their lives. As marketing guru Ted Levitt quipped to his students a generation ago, “People don’t want quarter-inch drills–they want quarter-inch holes.” A problem arises, and the customer looks around and chooses the solution that gets the job done better than competing alternatives.
To discover your quarter-inch holes, obsessively search for the job that is important but poorly satisfied (for more on the underlying theory of jobs to be done, see The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael Raynor). Innosight’s research and field work over the past decade suggests that following three specific activities can increase the odds of identifying innovation opportunities.
In 2000, when A.G. Lafley became CEO of Procter & Gamble, he found a company that had lost its way. The stock had plunged almost 50% after a March 2000 warning that the company would miss earnings estimates. Lafley looked for simple ways to reenergize that company’s innovation energy. He came to the conclusion that P&G needed to fundamentally reorient itself. The company was world renowned for driving decisions based on deep customer understanding, but upon reflection, Lafley realized that the company had drifted away from that understanding.
Lafley is gifted at communicating complicated ideas in simple ways. He developed a simple mantra to refocus P&G: The consumer is boss. He would say something along these lines: “Fellow P&G-ers, I’d like you to meet your new boss. You may think that I, as your CEO, am boss. That’s not right. You might think that the board of directors to which I report is boss. That’s not right. You might think our shareholders are the bosses. That’s not right. You might think your line manager is boss. That’s not right. We have one and only one boss that matters. The consumer. The consumer is boss.”
Lafley urged P&G to understand their boss as never before. P&G had to hear what the consumer was saying and, much more importantly, tease out what the consumer wanted but couldn’t articulate.
To do this, Lafley worked to create a culture where everyone in P&G–from the chairman down–would spend time living with consumers, shopping with consumers, or working alongside consumers. He would describe invaluable insights he personally obtained in his career by spending time in the market. For example, while Lafley worked on Tide branded laundry detergent, P&G would regularly administer quantitative surveys to assess the quality of its product and packaging. Consumers reported that they loved Tide’s packaging (at the time, Tide was packaged in cardboard boxes). Yet, when Lafley was interacting with a consumer, he noticed that she almost always used a screwdriver or scissors to open the Tide box. Lafley realized that the woman didn’t want to risk breaking her nails opening the cardboard box. She said she loved the packaging because she didn’t know of any alternatives, but in reality, she had to find a creative way to open the box because of its design limitations.
Many P&G products trace their inspiration to these kinds of observations. For example, watching a woman grow frustrated when she spilled coffee grounds on her floor helped to inspire P&G’s Swiffer quick cleaning line, which today produces more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
One of the dirty little secrets of innovation is that even the most well-intentioned people lie. They say they will do things they won’t, and purport to have interest in things they don’t. Spend time in the market so that you can know the customer better than they know themselves.
How to get started: Detail the amount of time you spent with customers or key stakeholders in the last three months. Find a way to triple that time.
Carefully studying current and potential customers often highlights workarounds that customers create to make up for the limitations of existing solutions. Drilling into these compensating behaviors can help to unearth innovation opportunities.
Consider jeans shopping. Research shows that women find it the second-most intimidating shopping experience, behind shopping for swimwear. In 2009, as part of an ambitious innovation program, VF Corporation, which makes Wranglers and Lee Jeans, began to spend more time with customers in order to understand specific points of frustration.
One trip to a local department store proved particularly illuminating. Executives watched as a prospective female customer shopped for a new pair of jeans. She wandered around the endless racks of clothes in the store, picking up pair of jeans after pair of jeans. The VF team was struck by two observations: First, the sheer volume of jeans the woman brought into the dressing room. Second, the fact that the woman had picked up multiple sizes of just about every pair she was trying on.
The executives assumed that she must have recently experienced a weight change, so she was unsure of her size. But in fact it turned out that her experience taught her that the sizes that appeared on the labels of jeans only loosely related to what would actually fit. Her workaround involved bringing in volumes of pairs of jeans in order to find one good fit.
These observations helped the company focus its innovation efforts on the jeans-buying process. VF changed the labeling on its jeans, developed innovative display mechanisms in retail stores, and launched an online campaign where noted style icon Stacey London helped women find jeans that would be most appropriate for their body type. In early 2011, VF reported that these and related innovation efforts had created $100 million in incremental revenue in its jeanswear division.
How to get started: Lead a round-table discussion to identify compensating behaviors that your company’s solution forces customers to follow.
The natural tendency for would-be innovators is to study existing customers who participate in existing categories. By all means do that. But also look for people who face some kind of constraint that inhibits their ability to solve a pressing problem they are facing in their lives. Apple, Southwest, Ikea, Nintendo, and many more companies trace their success to unlocking demand that was pent up because existing solutions were too expensive or complicated. These companies found a market opportunity just sitting there, waiting for someone to develop a convenient, affordable solution.
Indian conglomerate called Godrej & Boyce used this approach when it developed its ChotuKool refrigerator, designed for 85% of the Indian population who didn’t purchase refrigerators. These consumers wanted some of the benefits of refrigeration, but needed something that was smaller, more portable, and less power hungry. The ChotuKool addressed these barriers to consumption. The size of a small cooler, it costs an affordable $70 and is battery powered, so it can run off the grid when electricity is down. The product exceeded sales expectations during a trial launch in 2010. In early 2011, Godrej won an award from the Indian prime minister for its efforts, with sales accelerating dramatically.
It takes some mental discipline to look to markets that don’t exist. But that discipline can pay off in the form of growth opportunities that are hidden in plain sight.
How to get started: Write down five things that a coworker or friend can only do by relying on an expert or going to a central location. Think about ideas that would let these people do it themselves.
* * *
Spending time with customers, watching for workarounds, and exploring nonconsumption helps to highlight exciting innovation opportunities. Of course, there’s more to innovation than the spark of an insight. Innovators have to translate that insight into an idea that gets the innovation job done and delivers against whatever metric matters (revenues, profits, process performance, employee satisfaction, and so on). But the right starting point makes the journey infinitely easily.
Of all dreams marketers have, one stands out: Help products cross the tipping point, reaching a critical mass of consumers. For some marketers, the dream becomes reality—as has been the case withApple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Nike (NYSE:NKE), Starbucks(NASDAQ:SBUX), and Red Bull marketers. For other marketers, it remains just a dream. The difference between dream and reality is in the following seven principles of WOM and Buzz Marketing:
1. Begin with the consumer
Provide a product or a service that satisfies a genuine consumer need. Apple’s products, for instance, fill the consumer need for mobile communications, computing, music, and distinction. Nike offers consumers top quality shoes, apparel, and accessories. Starbucks offers consumers a “third place,” away from home where they can enjoy a cup of coffee and socialize. Red Bull offers drinks that give consumers with fast energy.
2. Be innovative
Develop products that seduce consumer fantasy and imagination by delivering better value than conventional products and address emerging trends. Make products simple and easy to use. Every single Apple product, for instance, offers a unique value to consumers, as it incorporates a number of distinct advantages over competitive products—simplicity, functionality, access to complementary products, etc.
3. Target the right group
Some consumer groups are more receptive to innovative products than others and should be the early targets of the marketing campaign. Apple’s products usually target the two groups that are most sensitive to WOM and buzz campaigns, the ”pioneers,” the young, restless and curious, consumers enchanted with the new and the exotic; and the “early adopters,” consumers who are always on the lookout for products that will improve their personal and business lives—a larger group than the pioneers, the bridge to reach to an even larger group, the “early majority.”
4. Create the Message
The marketing campaign should have a message that conveys the product attributes to the target groups. Make the message appealing, clear, credible, transparent, direct, and sticky using characters and stories familiar to consumers. These attributes help consumers memorize and recall the message the moment they make purchase decisions. Adjust the message theme to appeal to different target groups, using the appropriate media.
5. Find the right social context
Marketing campaigns are sensitive to the context, the “conditions and circumstances,” the place and time the message is launched. The context is like a magnified glass that allows consumers to see and imagine things couldn’t see and imagine before. A message launched in a cosmopolitan city, in front of a landmark structure, a statue is more effective than a message launched in the middle of nowhere. Likewise, a message launched in the aftermath of a major event that has captured broad attention is more effective than a message launched at a usual time.
6. Spread the message
Enlist to your campaign the “agents of influence” i.e., consumers who are more effective in influencing others or be influenced, by others, and therefore spread the product message, tell their neighbors, their friends, their co-workers and fellow club-members. Target, support and reinforce your campaign with viral marketing.
7. Turn WOM into Buzz
Add emotion and hype to the campaign to speed up the spread and the diffusion of the message to a critical mass of consumers. Stir up interest and desire in the product that fuel hype and contagion. Turn hype and contagion to a herd-like consumer behavior that helps products cross the “chasms”, especially the chasm between early adopters and early majority.
The bottom line: Effective WOM and Buzz marketing campaigns involve the entire corporate organization, from R&D to production, to sales and marketing. They include a unique and innovative product offering; a message targeting the right consumer group in the right context; and a legion of “agents of influence” to spread and diffuse the message to consumer masses.