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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 shows how Microsoft, a tech company, helped US girls realise their potential in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers by presenting them with inspirational role models.

Case Study

This case study explains how Sport England, a government body which promotes sport in England, inspired women to get active by making them feel more confident with a campaign that ran across TV, social media, outdoor and PR.

Case Study

This case study explains how Guinness, the beer brand, used emotional storytelling focussing on inner strength to increase sales in the UK and Ireland during the Rugby World Cup.

Case Study

This case study shows how Gillette, a shaving razors brand, reversed declining brand affinity trends with 'how-to' tutorial experience videos in the US.

Case Study

This case study explains how laundry brand Persil used a comparison between the time children and prisoners spend outside to build brand relevance and sales in a global, integrated campaign.

Case Study

This case study shows how AT&T, a telecommunications brand, increased awareness for distracted driving using a shocking campaign film in the US.
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Article

This article examines the impact of colour on our subconscious brains, and the challenges faced by brands in using colour to communicate the right information to consumers across categories, cultural context and brand meaning.

Research Paper

This article shows that advertisers must understand the emotional needs of their consumers in real-life moments when brands become relevant, so they can cut through the clutter at times when consumers are most receptive to their messages.

Research Paper

Filmmakers increasingly depend on trailers as advertising and to generate word of mouth (WOM). This study investigates the extent to which trailers influence WOM in the prerelease context by testing a conceptual model separately on the three most popular movie genres.

Article

This article explains the lessons from behavioural science about the formation of habits and lists six strategies that marketers can employ to build, maintain and disrupt consumer habits.

Research Paper

This paper examines the effectiveness of survey gamification techniques in Asia to see how cultural differences affect the way people play the games.

Research Paper

This paper looks at the potential insights that can be gained from confronting the data gathered through machine learning with behavioural science principles.
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  1. Article

    This article explains the lessons from behavioural science about the formation of habits and lists six strategies that marketers can employ to build, maintain and disrupt consumer habits.

  2. Article

    This article examines how marketers can best study brand decision journeys, emphasising how critical it is to take into account product categories, as there are important differences between these that affect many aspects of the consumer journey.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Article

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

  6. Article

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

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