People don’t buy your brand because you don’t fully understand their behaviour. Change that now.

Behavioural marketing gives us an explanation as to why people continue to buy the same brand year after year when there are better options. Why a video of a gorilla playing the drums increased sales of chocolate bars, and why brands like Casper and Simba have become bed behemoths in just a few years. What can a behavioural approach to marketing do for you?

Decision making is deeply psychological, and thus so is the process of selecting the brands, products and services we buy into. As consumers ourselves we know our customers are faced with an ever increasing selection of products and services, each claiming to be better than the last. To evaluate their merit on features alone is beyond the cognitive means and patience of most of us – despite us often thinking otherwise! We are therefore guided by what most of us would describe as gut feel or instinct; the benefit of behavioural marketing is it enables us as marketers to understand some of what is going on here.

This gut feeling obviously isn’t coming from our gut at all – it’s our brain subconsciously steering our decisions, and it is informed by over 170 cognitive biases and heuristics that shortcut us to the choices we make every day, good and bad.

Behavioural marketing drills deeper than traditional marketing to uncover the cognitive shortcuts that dictate someone buying or not buying your brand. It is built on the premise that understanding how these shortcuts inform your customers will enable you to:

Generate deeper insight


Identify the influences that affect people’s decisions towards businesses, brands and products.

Uncover bigger opportunities & growth


Uncover opportunities your competitors may not be exploiting, grow by doubling down on the those that are uniquely ownable brand territories

Impactful, effective creative


Aligns with rigorously proven insight into buying behaviour, giving your brand new, ownable creative territories to explore and ensuring these better connect with your audience.

Does it work?

Insurance companies net millions leveraging defaults and status quo
New research from insurance comparison site GoCompare has found that three million motorists are overpaying on their car insurance by a collective £800m because they allow their policies to renew automatically. Our tendadncy for things to stay as they are and choose the route of least resistance leads to a so-called “loyalty tax” of £260 each per year.
Read more about this in our latest report

Retailers buck the trend in tough times with behavioural-led creative
During tough trading periods at the end of last year, we worked with two clients to understand and leverage behavioural insights in their category. While we can’t talk about specific results due to the sensitivity of the financial information, we can say that both campaigns achieved ‘record breaking growth’ at a time their competition were seeing matching their results for the previous year as a win.

A car maker sells 5X more than it’s rival by being bizarre
In 2007 two Japanese car giants were selling competing hybrid vehicles; Toyota had it’s Prius and Honda it’s Civic Hybrid. Why did Toyota shift 181,221 units to Honda’s 32,575? Because the Prius was bizarre, and 57% of people who bought it said their main reason fordoing so was because ‘it makes a statement about me’
Read more about this in our latest report

Coffee producers change the comparison set to make higher priced coffee seem good value
A half kilo bag of Nespresso coffee would cost  a whopping £35 – even Waitrose most expensive bag can’t top that at £14. However, you can’t buy a bag of Nespresso, because it comes in those little pods that cost 47p each. Since each of these pods gives you a cup serving of barista quality coffee the comparison set changes from bags of coffee on a supermarket shelf to Costa or Caffe Nero. Suddenly, 47p for a pod of Lungo feels remarkably good value compared to £3 for a flat white.
Read more in  this article by behavioural scientist and author Richard Shotton.

If you enjoyed this piece you might also be interested in our latest report which will teach you about 7 biases you can apply in your marketing today.

By Greg Copeland

Behavioural Strategist