As individuals, we're genetically programmed to “follow the herd”, which in more primitive times meant our survival. The pressure to conform socially and fit in with those around us may be more subtle now but still has an impact. So, when we think that a lot of people are doing, buying or following something, we’re more likely to do, buy or follow it ourselves.

Classic example of Norms...

Online retailers use norms across their websites to reassure customers they’re making a good choice that’s shared by others, which encourages them to buy. They’ll use stats and numbers to showcase what ‘normal’ behaviour is, particularly on product pages.


For every product you browse on Amazon, they’ll offer a myriad of other options under “Customers who bought this item also bought”. They’ll feature similar products to the one you’ve selected as well as items that will work perfectly alongside it. They use norms to reinforce that if you bought the same item as someone, then you’ll like whatever else they bought too.


Fast fashion leaders, Missguided, flood their visitors with statements like “good choice…several purchases in the last 48 hours” on product pages. With the reassurance that several people have made the same decision, it must be a stylish, accepted choice then, surely?

Using Norms to make a positive change...

In 2017, Airbnb used norms in a positive, inspiring way. During a time when foreigners were being portrayed in a negative light and seen as a potential threat by American citizens, xenophobia was growing and becoming the norm. So, Airbnb grabbed the bull by the horns and created the #weaccept campaign.

#weaccept the new norm

The ad featured a variety of people with different ages, genders and races, stating: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept. #weaccept”.

Simple, sophisticated and downright brave, the ad was aired at America’s 2017 Superbowl and watched by more than 111 million people. And we’re sure that it struck a chord with the majority of those viewers and challenged them to follow a new norm.

What is Behavioural Economics?

Behavioural Economics has been around since the 60s. It blends elements of psychology and economics to identify the mental triggers, or bias, nudges and heuristics, that affect the decisions people make.

This blog series is your go-to guide for a snapshot into what these triggers are, and how they can be used in marketing to influence consumer behaviour.

A bit about us

As an agency, influencing behaviours is core to what we do and applying Behavioural Economics to marketing communications is a natural progression. If you are interested in understanding more about how we do this get in touch now.

Find out more about the connection between consumers and behavioural economics in our latest report on the top trends driving consumer behaviour. Download it here.

By Phil Monks

Deputy Creative Director