Intern’s Insights: 7 steps to the perfect nudge

Nudge Theory utilities the psychological rules and shortcuts that people use on a daily basis. These rules are used to find out where and when to intervene in order to change a negative behaviour an individual is displaying. A common use of nudge theory is in preventing people from displaying negative health behaviours.

7 steps to the perfect nudge

  1. Help the audience into a positive mindset

    Priming: Incorporate some kind of positive/ familiar smells, memories, photos, or anything to trigger the desired frame of mind.

  2. Timing and location are key

    Mental Accounting: Encourage them to rethink their allocated spending by appearing in places where they are deciding how to spend their money. Then convince them as to the benefits of spending it on your product.

    Changes to physical environment: These may affect their mood, so think about where they are when they hear about the product.

    Emotional appeal: Trigger some emotion in them through a nudge, or find a time at which they are emotional in which to target them with a nudge.

  3. Make the decision for them

    Mindless Choosing: Eliminate alternative options, make this a choice they don’t need to make.

    Path of least resistance: Make the product or service the easiest option, in comparison to alternatives, remove the need for effort.

    Choice Architecture: Place product where people will see them/ experience them.

  4. Tell them what others are doing

    Optimism & overconfidence: People hold a bias that they are better than average, so play on this feeling when promoting a product to them.

    Comparison: Make alternatives seem complicated compared to neighbours.

    Herd Behaviour: Conformity (target farmers union), train people in groups to create a sense of a norm.

    Social Norms: How to normalise a behaviour- visible use of products- pads on line, Roots fertile field, solar lights to travel at night.

    Status quo bias: Make something the norm e.g. targetting younger people/ children before they familiarise themselves with an existing norm.

  5. Link it to something they already trust

    Positive Association: Link onto an existing product or concept that already has a positive reputation. The positive view will then be attached to your own product.

  6. Tell them what they could lose

    Framing: Use smart wording, make it look like the odds are in your favour, reverse statistics.

    Loss aversion: The fear of losing something is a twice as strong as the pleasure gained from gaining something.

  7. Ensure they verbally commit to desired actions

    Implementation Intentions: When someone verbally states they intend to perform a certain action, it has been shown that they are far more likely to take that action. However, it is essential that they including precise details such as where, when, and how.

Beckie Thomas FRSA

Marketing Communications Internship

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