Door No.23: Win Some, Lose Some

Today’s experiment was written up with the help of Alain Samson, author of the excellent Consumed blog at Psychology Today. Thanks Alain!

The Experiment: “Save $1!” – sounds good. But does “get $1 off” sound better to you? The psychological difference between the two – since there is, of course, no financial difference – is the basis of an area of behavioural study known as “regulatory focus”.

It’s human nature to approach pleasure and avoid pain. But people follow this nature in different ways. They are either promotion (approach) focussed or prevention (avoidance) focussed. Think of two tightrope walkers crossing a ravine. The prevention focussed walker concentrates on the rope and not falling off. The promotion focussed walker concentrates on reaching the goal.

This focus can change, and is reflected in people’s different motivations for action, and in the different marketing strategies they respond to. For example, “get fit” might motivate a promotion-focussed person more than “stay healthy”.

We ran an experiment to test how regulatory focus affected the success of promotional offers in shopping. It was inspired by a classic behavioural economics experiment by Suresh Ramanathan and Sanjay Dhar, exploring whether promotions tailored to regulatory focus would make people buy more or less. We also tried to change people’s regulatory focus by changing their emotion, showing some a scary video (to induce prevention focus), some a funny video (to create promotion focus), and some no clip at all.

What did we discover? Continue reading

Door No.20: The Smell Of Success

Another experiment in our Advent Calendar!

The Experiment: Behavioural economics is full of inspirational case studies for researchers. Perhaps too full, you might say – after a while the parade of vital heuristics becomes overwhelming.

So when working to turn the lessons of BE into a viable research product we had two challenges – how do you design interventions to affect the behaviour which matters, and how do you test them?

The “what matters” question led to the development of BrainJuicer’s Behavioural Model. The “how to test them” problem couldn’t be solved at a desk. It involves live interventions and observational research in an environment as close to the real context as we can get.

So when we got the opportunity to work with Hunkemöller, the number one European lingerie specialist, to understand the effect of scent in stores we were delighted. Could the introduction of scent in stores actually affect sales? Continue reading

Door No.14: A Predictive Christmas Market

The 14th entry in our Advent Calendar of Experiments, and the first one which is actually seasonal…!

The Experiment: Validation is a vital part of market research innovation – if your results aren’t replicable and applicable across markets and categories, your new idea might not be so useful. We’ve been running Predictive Markets as a concept testing tool for several years now, based on the ideas in James Surowiecki’s classic The Wisdom Of Crowds – a ‘crowd’ of independent predictions is likelier to get to the truth than a recruited group of experts.

Of course, the problem with concept tests is that you usually only see how well the good ones perform. So we were excited but also nervous when a client came to us with an idea for an experiment – test a bunch of concepts they were definitely going to launch and then see how well all eleven performed in a real test market.

“Are you telling me my concept is a turkey?”

The category? Christmas food. But would it be “ho ho ho” or “no no no” for predictive markets? Continue reading