Tag Archives: activation

Old Brains, New World: The 3 Fs Of Shopper Activation

At the OmniShopper International conference in London this
week, the focus was on how we shop now. Technology has made shopping easier
than ever. But it’s also given birth to a myriad of new technologies for
tracking, targeting and sales activation ‘ one speaker estimated that there
were now more than 3,500 start-ups operating in the space between a brand and
its end buyer.
In this forest of complexity, how do we see the wood for the
trees? In a morning keynote, BrainJuicer’s Chief Juicer John Kearon suggested
we were answering the wrong question. How we shop is changing at a breakneck pace. But how we decide ‘ the cognitive tools we bring to
bear on shopping ‘ hasn’t shifted at all. 
This isn’t to say shopper insight is business as usual.
Insights from the behavioural sciences are often paid lip service to, but it’s
harder to actually implement them at scale. The effort is worth it, though, as
getting behavioural activation right is a powerful route to profitable brand growth.
As behavioural scientists tell us, we decide using our fast,
intuitive System 1, and then our slow System 2 generally rubber stamps the
decision. Only a tiny minority of choices involve System 2 at all. And yet an
enormous amount of promotional and shopper insight activity is designed to
excite it by creating cut-through and trying to stop people and get them to
think. Instead, why not put System 1 at the centre and focus on making it easier to buy a brand?
Marketing analysts Les Binet and Peter Field invoke the 60/40
rule, which their analysis suggests holds true even in a digital era. 60% of
your budget should be spent on brand building, 40% on activation. Shopper is
clearly a huge part of that 40%, so getting at the System 1 heart of the buying
experience should be a serious marketing priority. But how to do it?
For brand building, we know that the key decision-making
heuristics are the 3 Fs: Fame (how easily something comes to mind), Feeling
(how good it makes people feel) and Fluency (how easily recognisable its unique
assets are). The 3 Fs explain how brands grow. They also let Kearon predict how
close the US election would be ‘ Hillary Clinton had a small advantage on Feeling,
but ultimately Donald Trump beat her on Fluency.
But activation ‘ the heart of shopper ‘ requires a different
set of factors. Kearon introduced the activation 3Fs ‘ more direct levers of
consumer behaviour at the point of decision. These are Framing (the world
around us), Following (the world between us), and Feeling (the world within
us). Feeling ‘ the need for an experience to create positive emotion ‘ is what
Activation and Brand Building have in common. Kearon described a study of online
shopping where analysis of emotion showed that people who felt happy when shopping
spent almost twice as much on average as those who claimed to feel nothing.
Positive emotion is vital at every stage of the brand building and activation
But Following and Framing are unique to the purchase moment.
Framing is all about managing the choice architecture around a purchase to make
certain choices feel more obvious or easy. This can be done through pricing ‘
Kearon showed how a charity setting its default contributions higher raised its
average contribution dramatically, even though givers could still give as
little as they wanted. It can also be done through promotion ‘ making an offer
limited, for instance, is a reliable way of boosting take-up. And it can be
done through subtle changes in the environment ‘ as in the famous experiment
where German and French music played in an off-license boosted sales of wines
from those respective countries.
Following, meanwhile, is all about what other people are
doing: we are social animals and make System 1 choices based on information
about other humans and their choices.
Kearon described an experiment designed to make pub drinkers drink more water
to reduce or dilute their alcohol consumption. The most effective intervention,
he said, turned out to be a poster simply showing somebody drinking a glass of
water. Mirror neurons in the brain meant people seeing the poster wanted to
drink themselves ‘ and take-up of the free water in the bar shot up.
These examples of Framing, Following and Feeling were
entertaining, but is there a way to apply these ideas at scale without taking a
gamble on real-world profits? This is where new technology does start to help,
said Kearon. The upsurge of interest in virtual reality, and the rapid
improvement of virtual store technology, creates the possibility of a gigantic
laboratory where A/B testing of in-store behavioural activations can happen.
Wild theories ‘ like Kearon’s notion that pet treats would sell better in the human
sweets aisle! ‘ can be tested at vastly less expense and risk. The culture of
optimisation that already exists in online commerce can come to physical
retail, and the lessons of Framing, Following, Feeling and System 1 decision
making can be truly absorbed.