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Behavioural insight

Brands are increasingly interested in forms of behavioural insight, as marketers look for ways to influence consumer behaviour as well as attitudes. Behavioural economics, for example, is one of the most prominent areas of behavioural research. It claims to explain patterns of customer behaviour and can provide valuable insights for marketers. Behavioural economics has been applied successfully by several governments, though examples of successful commercial application by brands arguably remain relatively rare.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This article demonstrates how behavioural economics is being employed to improve public and business policies. It shows how governments are using robust experiments, seeing success in areas including energy savings, pensions enrolment and encouraging job seekers back to work.
An exclusive series explaining common concepts in behavioural economics.
The difference between rational and impulsive decisions – and why most decision making is impulsive.
Mark Earls and Alex Bentley discuss why humans are social animals, who learn by copying others.
Why brands with an 'instant meaning' – from experience, imagery or associations – will be more successful.

Case Study

This case study describes how Lebanese supermarket chain Bou Khalil enabled the Lebanese people to give money responsibly to Syrian refugees with the Good Note - an alternative currency.

Case Study

This case study describes how Turkcell, Turkey's largest telco, turned its focus onto diabetes - a misunderstood and stygmatised condition in Turkey - and created a way to help diabetics through a healthmetre.

Case Study

This case study describes how UK electronics retailer Currys PC World created a contextually relevant, mass-personalisation campaign that used broadcast media to persuade consumers to buy electronics as Christmas gifts.

Case Study

This case study details how Monarch Airlines, a British holiday airline, increased bookings and brand awareness in the UK through themed marketing.

Case Study

This case study describes a campaign by the charity WaterAid in the UK which asked people to donate the £1 they had already spent in changing room lockers.

Case Study

This case study describes how US appliances manufacturer Whirlpool expanded its Every day, care campaign platform to create a programme, Care Counts, which installed washers and dryers fitted with tracking devices in schools to give disadvantaged students access to laundry facilities to boost attendance rates.
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This event report explores how behavioural economics should look outside of the individual in order to understand the social influences that affect people as well as the discipline of behavioural economics itself.


This event report outlines how behavioral economics can help marketers better understand and engage consumers.


This paper explains a mobile-based research methodology designed to measure both explicit and implicit non-verbal responses, illustrated by a Latin American pilot study for Heineken, the beer company.


This paper describes research that explores whether consumer decision-making, in relation to shopping across different categories and seven national markets, is influenced by culture.


This article posits that challenger brands don't need the huge budgets of established competitors to break into the market - by concentrating on craft and attention to detail, and understanding certain principles of neuroscience, new brands can carve out a niche.


This event report describes how neuroscience can help brands avoid lost sales to copycat supermarket own-brands by protecting fundamental signals of packaging design.
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  1. Article

    This article looks at the processes through which people make decisions, often sub-conscious, instinctive and driven by bias, and how to work with these processes effectively.

  2. Article

    This article considers best practices for not only providing consumers with products but with experiences that reflect the values, interests, and benefits of the brand in a way that is relevant and engaging.

  3. Article

    This article demonstrates how advertisers can remove the emotional barriers that affect decision-making and encourage behaviour change that will promote better health.

  4. Article

    This article provides marketers with information and guidance about using behavioural economics (BE) to inform marketing strategies.

  5. Article

    This article asks the key question: 'What is content?' and suggests strategies in which content can support and shorten purchase journeys.

  6. Article

    This article discusses various approaches used by marketers to understand what consumers want.

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