The Representativeness heuristic or shortcut explains our tendency to make assumptions or link things together on a superficial level. But by only looking at the obvious associations, we can often make the wrong decision. If we’re asked to guess who will be the fittest at age 50 between an ex-footballer or an office worker most of us would pick the sportsman, right? But the reality could well be that the footballer became a couch potato and the office worker does triathlons at the weekend.

More than a pasty

Greggs challenged consumer’s assumptions of them by going undercover at a London food festival. Naming themselves Gregory & Gregory, they presented themselves as an artisan delicatessen, which may seem world’s away from their pasty-shop roots, but their food proved not to be. Serving up healthy salads, flavourful pasta dishes and vegan options, they convinced consumers they were a premium brand, proving there’s more to Greggs than affordable sausage rolls and jam donuts.

Representativeness 1
Gregory & Gregory by Greggs

Sheilas' Wheels

With a strapline like “Insurance for Women”, we wouldn’t blame you for assuming Sheilas’ Wheels just insure women. But there’s more than first meets the eye to Sheilas’ Wheels. Delving a little deeper past the female-orientated branding, it becomes clear that they offer insurance for men too. And it’s these initial assumptions that can lead to men making a hasty, unconsidered decision and dismissing the brand.

Sheilas' Wheels, Representativeness
Sheilas' Wheels "Insurance for Women"

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 the many biases and heuristics, such as representativeness, 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