In a recent article I wrote about research into self-justification which found consumers are much more likely to avoid unpleasant or confronting information (like calories on a menu) if they are given “cover”.
In other words, they’ll skip the café with calories on the menu if they can hang their decision on an unrelated reason, like the reviews that café received for its service.
We’re masters at finding reasons to justify to ourselves what we want to do....
People avoid information more when they are given a reason to let themselves off the hook.
That’s the key takeaway from some fresh research from Woolley and Risen (2021) called “Hiding from the truth: When and How Cover Enables Information Avoidance”.
There are key implications from both a business and personal perspective resulting from this finding.
Let’s talk business first.
How you talk to a customer about product features is either going to help them justify their...
Every business I've worked in or worked with has struggled with too many priorities. So in this clip I run through four behaviourally nuanced questions to shift and sort what's really most important.
By asking the four questions you'll be able to slot each project into one of the following categories:
Must Do = a clear priority for the business. Life would be significantly worse if you don't proceed.
Nice to do = some upside but could disperse focus if included.
Could do = outcomes are too...
Two simple rules for influencing action – on friction to make the old behaviour unappealing and the new behaviour appealing.
Let’s talk behavioural models – (video) on what makes a good behavioural model and what are some of the best to use.
Nanette-ing your approach to influence – The comedian’s role, Hannah Gadsby shared, is to deliberately create tension so they can then relieve us of it. The same approach goes for pitches, presentations and...
When it comes to changing your own behaviour or someone else’s, two simple rules are:
To reduce the likelihood an existing behaviour will continue, just add friction. For example:
Public awareness campaigns crop up now and again to remind us how much one standard alcoholic drink is. In Australia, for instance, that means approximately 285 mL of full strength beer, 100 mL of wine or champagne and 30 mL of spirits.
The problem is most of us judge by the container not the contents, making a perceptual rather than intellectual judgment — much it looks, not how much it actually is, so these awareness campaigns are largely ineffective.
This is in part due to...
I currently have 11,212 unread emails in my inbox. They are unread because I have looked at the subject line or sender and decided not to bother opening them.
Some people aim for "inbox zero" - and if that's you I understand my confession may have rocked your world - but I'm totally okay with how I keep on top of what's important.
Or more particularly, what I think is important, because whomever crafted their message to me certainly thought it should be important.
Which brings us to the...
It costs less to retain than acquire a customer.
But you know that already.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority cited research that:
Added to that, a customer leaving is unnatural. Why? We're built to leave things as they are. It's our status quo bias.
I’ve been ruminating over the critical distinction between “letter of the law” and “spirit of the law” - the literal vs. the intent - because as we witness the world’s most powerful democracy floundering, it’s clear that the systems and institutions Americans have relied upon for their democracy to function have at least one striking flaw.
They are predicated on the assumption that those in power will do what’s best for their people - and that...
“Don't wait until you’re thirsty to dig a well” implored Chinese philosopher Zhu Xi over 800 years ago.
In other words, you need to put plans in place today for things that may happen tomorrow.
But how many of us do that? How realistic is it when you are mired in the day-to-day?
I’ve seen variants of this quote being spruiked by futurists and strategists. Most commonly, “dig the well before you get thirsty!”