Behavioural Insights (noun): An inductive approach to policy making that combines insights from psychology, cognitive science, and social science with empirically-tested results to discover how humans actually make choices. (Source: OECG.org)
As human beings, we make many decisions using rational thought processes. Yet, there are hundreds and thousands of decisions we make instinctively, every day, from whether to drink tea or coffee in the morning, to the route we take to drive to work, to sometimes deciding what restaurant to dine at, what clothes to buy, which movie to watch, even making our way through terrible weather to get to an event because we have already bought a ticket.
An economist will tell you this is irrational. Then why do we behave this way?
Simply put, behavioural insights help unlock how people make decisions. It provides deeper understanding on the conscious and unconscious motivations that drive our decision-making, with a view to improving lives, societies and communities.
Context, and how we frame our content, can make all the difference and transform the emotional impact of messages. It can act as catalyst in changing behaviours.
Often, we have every intent of making the decisions that are best for us and for our families. From eating healthy and drinking less, to exercising more. However, temptation gets in the way and we change our mind at the last minute and decide to stay at home, order a pizza and crack open that bottle
Behaviourally informed communications understand that sometimes, even with the best intent, our audiences will still struggle to make the decisions that improve their lives. As communicators, we anticipate these instances and design content and environments that can help our audiences make those improved decisions with the least amount of effort. For example, a small change (a “nudge”) in the decision-making environment – also known as choice architecture – can enable individuals to better understand messages or take action quicker.
When considering a behavioural approach to communications, it’s important we ask these questions:
● What do you want to achieve and what’s the behavioural aspect to this?
● What are the barriers to that behaviour?
● Why aren’t people taking action?
Interested in understanding your audiences better? Write to us at
firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on your behavioural insights journey.
This article was written by Shayoni Lynn, Director at Lynn PR.