Applying behavioural science to the coronavirus outbreak: Four key implications for brands

The novel coronavirus outbreak is causing one of the most widespread behaviour shifts in recent times – Illuminera Institute’s Ashok Sethi highlights what marketers can draw from behavioural science theories and how it can be applied to marketing strategies as new behaviours unlock new triggers.

It is possible that the Chinese people have never displayed such homogeneity of behaviour in recent history – over a billion people staying put at home, almost universal use of face masks, diligent washing of hands and whatever else deemed fit to avoid the dreaded virus.

Behavioural science tells us that a natural fear of the unknown, authority bias and social herding have all contributed to the enormity of this behaviour change.

Such changes in behaviour have obvious implications for consumption. Restaurants, hotels, travel and out-of-home entertainment sales have been practically wiped out in this period. However, most marketers want...

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