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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Mar 31, 2023

In today's conversation, I am joined by Richard Shotton. His first book, The Choice Factory, is a best-selling book on how to apply findings from behavioral science to advertising. His new book, The Illusion of Choice: 16 ½ Psychological Biases that Influence Why We Buy, is a phenomenal add to what he has already contributed to the field of behavioral science. 

This book (and conversation!) are both full of great examples from traditional academic research and from practical application. And, one of my favorite things that Richard does is take research and recreate it. Sometimes it replicates (and does even better than expected) and sometimes it doesn’t – whatever the results, they are shared and there are learnings for everyone involved. And, of course, that includes you. 

Does precision matter? Should you speak in abstract or concrete terms? Tune in and get ready for these amazing lessons and many more…

Show Notes:

  • [00:43] In today's conversation, I am joined by Richard Shotton. Richard is the author of The Choice Factory, a best-selling book on how to apply behavioral science to advertising. 
  • [02:42] Richard shares himself, his background, and the work he does in behavioral science. 
  • [04:06] There are thousands of biases. He covers 25 in The Choice Factory. His new book covers 16 and ½ more. (The half chapter is around the power of precision.) 
  • [06:51] Precision is powerful. Generally if someone knows the subject they speak in precision, if not they speak in generalities. 
  • [09:30] The precise price tends to be seen as lower than rounded ones.  
  • [11:52] If you want to change behavior, remove friction. If you want to boost appreciation of your product, you might want to add some friction. 
  • [13:10] The importance of framing the question is key if you are going to use behavioral science practically.  
  • [15:42] You have this huge swing in memorability based on whether terms are concrete or abstract. If we can picture a term it becomes very sticky if not it becomes forgettable. 
  • [18:02] Increasingly brands talk in abstract terms. It is ineffective to use that language. If you want to communicate one of those abstract objectives you have to translate it into more concrete terminology. 
  • [20:43] Academics sometimes make behavioral science more complex than it has to be. Reading modern academic papers is a chore. 
  • [22:41] The evidence shows that if you communicate simply you come across as more prestigious and more intelligent. 
  • [25:50] People were twice as likely to remember the rhyming than the non rhyming phrases. Alliterating phrases have a boost of believability and memorability. 
  • [28:06] We have to make sure that what we do is what our clients want us to do rather than worrying about the kudos that we as individuals get. 
  • [30:19] The cafe had a problem that people didn’t want to go on a Monday. So if you go on Monday you get to roll the brass dice. If you roll a six everything you have eaten is free. (Love this!)
  • [33:27] If you know that this is the thing on Monday, everyone is going to order a little bit more because they might get it all for free. 
  • [36:01] People are not only interested in maximizing the financial benefit of the situation. They also wanted to know that they are being treated well and not being taken advantage of.  
  • [38:35] Questions are so important. Questions can give people a pause for thought and influence them more subtly. 
  • [41:12] Professionals are just as influenced as consumers with the vast majority of biases. The only difference is they are even more loathe to admit it. 
  • [42:43] Podcasts and books are a wonderful way of quickly understanding lots of different experiments. The ones you think are most interesting are worth finding the original paper and exploring further. 
  • [44:53] Melina’s closing thoughts

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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