How to Influence Customers: Nudgestock 2017 Highlights

by | Jun 20, 2017 | People

Nudgestock is a fascinating behavioural science festival organised by Ogilvy Change. You may already be familiar with the term nudging, a buzzword that emerged a few years ago. The Nudge Theory is a concept in behavioural psychology – all about how small tactical interventions can influence people’s choices and actions.

What are the latest findings and insights about human behaviour? And what can the retail sector learn from the event’s diverse range of speakers that included scientists, civil servants, and writers?

Get to know your customers again – and again

The most controversial speaker of the day was Dominic Cummings, the Brexit campaign director for ‘Vote Leave’, who shared the key learnings that shaped the campaign and gave it a winning advantage.

Dominic revealed that the Remain campaign used a flawed model to categorise voters. It grouped the population into three hard groups: Left, Right and Centre. But in reality each individual voter is likely to hold a mixed range of views on a spectrum of left to right. The Leave campaign had a more nuanced understanding of the voting public – this enabled the development of more potent and effective arguments to sway voters.

You should continuously re-evaluate current target customer groups. Be critical and objective – your audience dictates your strategy, so make sure you’re addressing the right one.

We do look a gift horse in the mouth

True story. Keen to make a good first impression with her friends, a woman’s new beau brought a big box of Krispy Kreme donuts to a get together. Unfortunately, this well-intentioned gesture backfired because, to everyone’s dismay, the donuts he chose had no glazing! The boyfriend remains, but the story is regularly retold behind his back.

According to evolutionary psychologist Dr Diana Fleischman, gifting is a complex and subtle game of manipulation. Humans have evolved to put a huge amount of effort into gathering information about each other’s preferences and aversions. We then unconsciously use that information to drive social interactions and reinforce our relationships with others.

Just like pets, we humans are susceptible to behaviour modification through the subtle use of treats. If we get people’s preferences right, we can train them to naturally associate us with the positive stimuli they’re receiving. But get it wrong and you may bear the brunt of their negativity forevermore.

Your retail environment, staff and products should work together to create a web of triggers that continuously delight your customers and their interests.

Virtue Signalling

Psychologist Geoffrey Miller argues that deeply ingrained in our biology is an activity called Virtue Signalling. When we purchase, display, or share a product, and when we then post a message on social media, we are sending out a signal to those around us about the moral values we uphold. This display of social status is also a way to attract a potential partner.

Brands are virtue signallers too. By building their ethical messages into the company name, strapline, product packaging, campaign and retail environment – they communicate their virtues to consumers.

Our work with Lloyds Bank to transform their cash machines into ‘GAYTMS’ for the UK’s Pride Celebrations is a prime example of this – a successful public display of support for the bank’s LGBT employees and customers.

With so much upheaval around the world (political and otherwise), what moral signals should your brand be sending out to consumers?

Our team of strategists regularly helps retailers re-evaluate and improve their retail strategy. Then we apply these insights to our design process to ensure your brand experience is perfectly aligned with customer needs.

More reading:
Hagkaup Flagship case study
Lloyds Bank Knightsbridge case study
A Creative Idea Must Have Value
The Casual Dining Dilemma: 5 Key Trends