Jan 8, 2021
Today I am so excited to
introduce you to Richard Chataway. Richard is such an awesome and
fun guy to chat with. He has worked on so many amazing projects,
and let me just tell you right now you are going to love this
episode. While Richard works with all sorts of businesses and
organizations when applying behavioral economics as CEO of BVA
Nudge Unit UK, our conversation ended up talking a lot about
addiction, and how he worked on some campaigns that helped people
When you think about changing
behavior and how you can apply the insights from behavioral
science, it may feel like an addiction would be untouchable...like
it is out of the realm of possibility. As you will hear today, the
same concepts that are applied in businesses to help people to
choose the best product for them can also be used to understand
behavior and help people make healthier choices; Things they may
desperately want to do and have struggled for years on their own,
but with a well-structured program including the right insights
from behavioral economics, it becomes possible.
You can learn more from Richard
and projects he has worked on in his book and accompanying podcast,
both called The
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- [00:41] I am so excited to introduce you to
Richard Chataway. Richard is such an awesome and fun guy to chat
- [01:46] You can learn more from Richard and
projects he has worked on in his book and accompanying podcast,
both called The
- [03:50] Richard shares how he got into
behavioral science about 15 years ago when he worked at the
Department of Health in the UK.
- [04:50] Smoking as a behavior is very
interesting because it is a quintessential irrational
behavior. We are at a point now that everyone knows it is bad
for them and that it has short-term and long-term consequences for
their health but still people continue smoking.
- [06:01] They have changed their approach from
telling smokers about the risks to helping them quit and providing
them with tools. It was more effective than the traditional
- [06:41] Our behavior is not as rational as we
think it is and by recognizing some of those irrationalities we can
be very successful in changing behavior.
- [08:11] Now Richard works for the BVA Nudge
Unit. They are a specialist behavioral practice within
- [09:47] Behavioral science can be applied
across a huge range of challenges and contexts.
- [12:02] Behavioral science is helping to show
that if you talk about it differently changes can
- [12:56] How you say something is as important
as what you’re saying. You can frame things in a way that resonates
with people and is more motivating.
- [15:30] In their research they found that
family-based motivations were very important to the group of
smokers they were targeting. Smoking was seen as their
- [17:11] The fundamental message that smoking is
bad hasn’t changed. Reframing that it doesn’t just impact you
but it also impacts your family made the campaign much more
- [19:14] If you can shake up your routine and
change it a little bit, it can have a huge impact. Habits are very
powerful drivers of behavior.
- [20:18] It is very easy to think of smoking as
being a habitual behavior automatically, but there is a reward
element to it.
- [22:38] Emotions are very powerful drivers of
our behavior. In their campaign, they were trying to find the
right emotional triggers to get that response.
- [24:03] Richard shares about a tv ad campaign
they created showcasing how children copy the behavior of their
- [26:01] It is a good campaign when you get
goosebumps when you hear about it.
- [27:38] The smoking campaign was really an
ah-ha moment for Richard for how behavioral science can help with
addressing all kinds of problems. The focus of his book is
how you can use behavioral science to deliver better outcomes for
- [28:05] Any business’s challenges are typically
- [29:01] We have learned more about human
behavior in the last fifty years than we have in the last 50,000.
Any business that isn’t using that knowledge is going to be missing
- [29:14] Richard shares his favorite stories
from his book including where the understanding and knowledge of
behavioral science unlocked a new way of thinking about and
addressing a problem.
- [30:49] We know from behavioral science that
the more friction we put into places, the less likely people are to
- [32:04] People like things that are easy and
- [34:58] Understanding behavioral science is one
thing, but when it comes to applying it you have to be comfortable
with testing everything and being scientific and experimental in
- [37:12] It is often a combination of things
that have the impact we want and that is why testing is so
- [38:04] Richard shares a counterintuitive
approach they found when working with a bank in the
- [41:02] They told customers on the phone with
the bank, “Take your time” to put people more at ease even though
they wanted the calls to be quicker.
- [44:37] When people are already overwhelmed all
the stress quickly snowballs when we aren’t thinking about making
it easy for customers to do what they need to
- [45:54] There is a balance to be struck between
protecting people’s privacy, but if a service isn’t easy to use
then there is a big downside to that too.
- [48:24] Melina’s closing
Thanks for listening. Don’t
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