Every Thursday I listen to the Freakonomics podcast as I walk to work. The radio show, created by economics professor Steven D. Levitt and author Stephen J Dubner, focuses on a wide range of topics as viewed through the lens of behavioural economics. Basically, how incentives makes people behave. It’s expertly produced, cleverly written and always provides insight into the odd lives we live.
In a recent episode entitled, Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do, the Freakonomics team looked at how people would act if they actually followed all the rules of behavioural economics. In other words, what would happen if people acted 100% rationally?
Most of us like to think of ourselves as fairly rational, but it’s safe to say that we don’t always follow perfect logic in our actions. We’re a complex species with plenty of mental and social entanglements that impact our every day actions and decisions. That’s an important thought to remember when we’re crafting marketing and communications to entice people to action.
“How people think doesn’t always match up with how they will act.”
How people think doesn’t always match up with how they act. Likewise, it can be difficult to predict exactly what people will do, like, dislike, share, ignore or buy.
So, while planning a strategy by segmenting different target markets and analyzing data pulled from social listening (phew), don’t forger about the human being at the centre.
Whether looking at spending habits, trending topics, or what other brands are doing, don’t forget to digest the data and really look for a human insight. The best communications are made by being in tune with real people and their needs. In other words, instead of thinking about what your brand wants people to do, think about what people want from your brand.
I encourage you to listen (and subscribe) to the podcast below to learn a bit more about how and why we make everyday decisions. Listening to the show might not help you act more rationally, but it could change the way you think about human behaviour. Plus, the podcast usually provides some interesting fodder for your dinner party.