Building persuasive messages, winning hearts and minds is not just about having a great idea, its also about science and the application of the scientific method – (build measure learn). The ability to persuade or nudge behaviours is not just about glossy creative and big advertising budgets. Its also about understanding the heuristics and cognitive biases that we are all programmed with. Our limit brains are more in control then many of us would care to admit. And for those people that think the workplace is no place for emotions I say think again. Weather its salience bias, embodied cognition, anchoring, framing effect, social proof or negative social proof. They all play there part in how we make decisions in our daily lives and explain a whole raft of reasons why some things work and some don’t when it comes to building messaging. Over time we plan to build out a library of the most relevant ones and will share more examples for the work we are doing with customers.

One common bias that can be a real problem many have encountered is the curse of knowledge that can occur within an organisation, within industries and even departments with speciality skills. In short, its when people unknowingly assumes that everyone else knows what they know and understands it. A simple example is the use of acronyms in the copy if customers can’t understand your “language” and you have not simplified it for them how can you expect them to buy from you or use the feature. This bias can manifest itself in the user interface of products with corresponding poor customer satisfaction.

Another classic is anchoring bias this is where people rely too much on an initial piece of information and use it anchor there thinking. In the book Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely he describes an experiment using social security numbers. We use a similar test in small groups when we conduct storytelling training to demonstrate one of the reasons why storytelling works so well.