Ionia- Behavioral Insights
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Insights

Thoughts and writings from the world of Ionia

CORE: Useful information is better than more information

Recently, I went shopping in a department store and ended up buying a product as an impulse buy. At the time, I wasn’t busy, was perhaps a little tired from my travels and work, and was a bit more vulnerable to consumer gimmicks than normal. As it happened, the employee offered me access to a consumer loyalty program; if I promised to sign up that day, they’d take 5% off of my total order. Being somewhat a sucker for discounts, loyalty programs, and status (disclaimer: I travel a lot for work and consumer loyalty programs DO have some perks), I relented.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t keep my promise and promptly dropped the brochure into the recycling bins on my way out (helping the environment seemed less bad than breaking my login obligation)

Instead of asking for my email and sending me a link for signup or app, like a sane person, the employee handed me a 3 page instructional brochure for sign-up which included going to the app store, downloading the app from the app store with my Apple log in, opening the app and signing up for a login, and registering for the discount program after I’ve done so. Other pages were included if I had an Android phone, and the headings, colors, and fields all seemed to blend into a shapeless oblivion. Suffice it to say, I didn’t keep my promise and promptly dropped the brochure into the recycling bins on my way out (helping the environment seemed less bad than breaking my login obligation). 

When we’re asking consumers or patients to do anything, we’ve got to seriously consider the barriers in place as well as a primary human law: The Law of Least Resistance. Humans, are lazy by nature, they're rarely going to spend energy doing anything other than nothing. Rick Larrick PhD at Duke University has developed a useful tool for considering the influence of decision making he’s dubbed, CORE.

According to him, it’s important to consider that more information isn’t the best for consumers and patients; it’s useful information that matters most. 

C: Calculations must be made for consumers they won’t do on their own (our brains are lazy)
O: Objectives of information presented in a form people care about (Higher MPG = less $ spent)
R: Relative comparisons of information to make it easier to grasp (a portion = calories as 12 oz. of Coke)
E: Expansion of metrics over a product or effort’s lifetime (this appliance costs $50.00 to run a year)

-Matt

Matt is a behavioral economics expert and would like to arm each of you with behavioral science tools to address strategic and delivery challenges. His firm, Ionia.codesigns processes to optimize human motivation, persuasion, influence, perception, behavioral nudges, and gamification. If you are interested in engaging with your patients, please email him at matt@ionia.co or call at 205.434.3499.   

Matthew Cybulsky