Behavioural science is about being irrational enough to drive the point home. Babita Baruah, Managing Partner, GTB India. WPP explains more
Behavioural science is a heavy topic that can be understood in a few days to a couple of years. Though it derives a lot from different fields of science, it isn’t so much a domain of science but about people who make and break brands.
Above all, it is about understanding the drivers of what makes people buy things a brand wishes to sell. It doesn’t always have to make sense. In fact, the key is to be irrational.
Babita pulls an example from her childhood to explain behavioural science. Her story begins on a day when her mother decides to surprise the family with a surprise breakfast and uses special cutlery to serve them tea and biscuit. The kids are overjoyed for their mother hardly ever uses that silverware and it is a moment of joy for them to be able to use it. It is much later in life that Babita comes to know how there was nothing in the home to eat that day due to tensions in Assam, where she lived. Instead of letting it be a dreary day, her mother had turned it into a celebratory meal.
Using this example, Babita explains the pillars of behavioural science.
It starts with nudging that sets the context. Then, there is framing and associations are drawn. Eventually, an overall association can be felt.
She takes it further by talking about airline food and magazine subscriptions. Though food is the last thing in the list of to-do for an airline from operations and branding perspectives, it actually makes a lot of difference to the experience of the passengers.
Same goes for the gratification people derive from the freebies that come with magazine subscriptions even though stories can be read online and freebies are products that can be bought. It is the gratification that trumps everything in such cases. This can be extended to the level of control people like to have when it comes to choosing seats at an auditorium or on a flight. It is possible that allocated seats might actually be better but the idea of having control is a plus for people.
Digital storytelling works best when time is considered key. It is important to make content real and personal. People tend to connect when they feel what they are seeing is raw, immediate, and unedited. It adds credibility to the topic. Another factor is to go terribly tiny and use that time frame judicially. Next factor is to instigate action and remember that storytelling works best when its framed against a context.
She wraps up the session by talking about how including media planners into the creative meetings is important for it takes a mix of everything to be able to communicate effectively.
Success stories can be written only when brands serve something that consumers like to consume. It is equally important to observe, spend time and talk to real people who are among the target groups. Campaigns won’t work if they are created by seating behind desks.