Jul 30, 2013

Likely Story


This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Persuasiveness>

Liking

People like books Oprah likes.
There are those among us (you know who you are) who actively look for reasons they need to buy the latest Apple product, simply because they like Apple.

Everyone is more receptive to proposals from people (or brands) they like. The cause of liking may be physical attractiveness, or charisma, or charm, or because we identify with them.

What does the girl in the beer ad know (or care) about beer? Why do we think George Clooney knows anything about coffee? In fact, we don’t think about it. Nevertheless these promotions work.
The oldest trick in the book

Generally, if your customer identifies with something or someone, they will like it. People identify with propositions that reflect themselves. If you think about your favourite TV show, you’ll probably find there is something about your favourite character that reminds you of yourself. (I’m pretty sure this is why I like Breaking Bad).

Bottom Line

  • Connect your proposition to something or someone your audience already likes.
  • Help your audience identify with your proposition by reflecting aspects of themselves, such as physical traits, gender, age, race, religion, nationality, interests, etc.


Is this how you see things? ...or have I missed the bigger picture? Share your view. Leave a comment below. Please engage.


This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.

Jul 23, 2013

Peer Pressure


This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Persuasiveness>

Social Proof

The King can't be wrong
On vacation, you find yourself on St. Marks Place in New York. It's past lunch and you're hungry. there are two pizza shops with take away windows on either side of the street. There’s a long line at the window on the other side of the road, and only two people waiting at the window on your side. You cross the road to buy your slice.

Social proof is like peer pressure, or to put it more positively, the wisdom of the crowd. We read the actions or words of others as signs of where we should invest our own resources. For example, you might listen to a new song simply because it’s leading the “What’s Hot” list in the store. Similarly, you might check the Top Apps list to see if there is anything you should download.

Web stores put star ratings, downloads, and reviews on prominent display because they give social proof of the quality of product. Consumers believe that if others like a product, they will too. People are more strongly persuaded when they believe that the people who like the product are similar to them. Amazon uses this principle when it recommends books that people like us have bought.
Amazon shows social proof of product quality

Ideally, your proposition will go viral, and your customers will spread the word for you. Research shows that 70% percent of US online adults trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family and 46% trust consumer-written online reviews, while just 10% trust ads on websites and 9% trust text messages from companies or brands ((Forrester Research 2013).

Bottom Line:

  • Show proof that your proposition is popular.
  • Provide evidence that people like your customer believe in your proposition.
  • Show that your proposition in popular among your customer’s peers.

Join the countless (go ahead, count them!) people like you who have benefitted from these posts. Tell your friends! Leave a comment below. Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.

Jul 16, 2013

One Thing Leads to Another


This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Persuasiveness>

Consistency

Brother, can you spare the time? (Banksy)
Steve Delott is a persuasive man. So persuasive, in fact, that he has been prohibited from selling securities in the state of Illinois as a result of misleading sales techniques. He offers the following advice to financial consultants meeting with prospective clients:
“Ask for their driver’s license at the end of the appointment, saying money cannot be transferred to your care without it. If they promptly pull out their wallet and hand over the documentation – which the vast majority do – you know the sale is yours.” (reported by Olen 2012).
Steve’s tactic is based on the fact that people prefer to act consistently with their own past actions and choices. The drive for consistency runs deep. Consistency forms part of our concepts of Justice, Integrity, and Identity. We expect actions to be consistent with words, and behavior to be consistent over time. The “driver’s license close” works because, having said yes to the first request, the prospective client is biased toward saying yes to the next request. Beggars who stop you in the street to ask you for the time before asking for money exploit this same rule of consistency.
Cook's Illustrated asks for your email address
before asking you to buy a subscription.
Websites use the principle of consistency when they ask visitors for small, relatively insignificant pieces of information before proceeding to a larger request. For example, Cook’s Illustrated asks you for your email address before asking you to purchase a subscription.

The rule of Consistency is also part of the reason it’s easier to get people to say yes to a renewal of a subscription than an initial sale (not having to fill out forms also helps by making the purchase more immediate). One yes leads to the next.

A voluntary, active, and public commitment by your audience provides the strongest drive for consistency. For example, the fundraising campaign Movember asks participants to grow a moustache to demonstrate their support for the cause of prostate cancer research. Mo Bros know that, once having made this publicly visible commitment, it’s difficult to deny the request for a donation.
The Movember journey proceeds from registration to moustache to donation.

Bottom line

  • Ask your audience for a small, easily agreeable, action before a proceeding to a larger request.
  • A voluntary, active, and public commitment by your audience provides the strongest drive for consistency.


Thanks for reading to the end. Why not leave a comment? Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.

Jul 9, 2013

What Goes Around Comes Around


This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Persuasiveness>

Reciprocation

To gain followers: Serve.

A woman hands you a rose as she walks past your table on the piazza. A moment later she is back, with her hand out, asking for a donation. Giving her some money feels like the easiest thing to do.

Free mortgage calculators at US Mortgage Corp inspire reciprocation
The rule of Reciprocity is a deep-seated response that makes us feel we are somehow obligated to repay debts of all kinds. We feel bound to say yes because of favours received in the past. As the flower girl example shows, the favour need not be large or especially significant. Reciprocation is part of the glue that binds society together.

Web sites that provide useful free information such as how-to tips, whitepapers, instructional videos, or calculators use the rule of reciprocation to persuade you to do business with them, on the principle that one good turn leads to another.

Personalized gifts are more powerful (image: This Tasty Life)
Personalized gifts enhance the sense of obligation in the recipient. For example, many restaurants will offer a free dessert or drink to patrons celebrating a birthday. Starbucks, CVS, and Anthropologie, among others offer similar birthday rewards. The effect is enhanced if the recipient’s personal name is on the gift.

Bottom Line

  • Give before asking anything from your audience.
  • Provide a free gift or service to make your audience more receptive to your proposition.
  • Personalize your gift or service for the recipient.


I made this for you. Please leave a comment below. Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.

Jul 2, 2013

Within Easy Reach


This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Immediacy>

Accessible

accessibility problem: turning sheet music pages (WSJ 2009)
It's morning. Your smartphone alarm app is ringing. You don't have your glasses on ...of course. You fumble to hit the snooze control. You hit the off control. You sleep in and miss your train. Bad accessibility.

SwiftKey makes smartphone text entry more accessible
Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to the intended audience. For example, alarm clock app controls may not be accessible to a user who has not yet put her glasses on, price information displayed on a screen is not accessible to a blind person, a small displayed on a smartphone browser may be difficult for a man with large hands to press .

Text entry on a smartphone is less accessible than text entry on a laptop. Although SwiftKey makes text input more accessible on a smartphone by enabling gesture input on the keyboard, forms and input fields should be used only when necessary.

Because bigger text is easier to read than smaller text (i.e., more accessible), information presented in larger fonts are perceived as easier to follow than the same information in smaller fonts (Kahneman 2011). The web service IFTTT uses this insight to help make programming seem easy.
IFTTT uses large fonts to make programming seem easy

Bottom Line

  • Consider the context in which your audience will experience your proposition (whether it is a product, service, or offer). Do physical, cognitive, or other limitations make your proposition less available to your audience? For example: time pressure, background noise, poor eyesight, low resolution screens…
  • Design for accessibility. Everyone , including you, benefits when your design considers the needs of people with disabilities, because increased accessibility leads to increased engagement.

Easy to grasp? Or am I over-reaching? Help me out by leaving a comment below. Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.