Your behavioural ready-reckoner

Your behavioural ready-reckoner

We’ve covered a lot of behavioural ground during the course of 2014.

As a way of wrapping up the year, here’s an overview of the key themes with links to some of the most popular pieces. Think of it like a quick guide to applied behavioural science.

How to devise a behaviour change strategy

Improving your ability to influence starts by identifying what is getting in the way:

  • Four questions are all you need to tackle any behavioural issue. (Read here)
  • Seurat used tiny dots in his paintings to create a whole picture, and that’s also the secret to behaviour change. (Read here)

Decision-making and influence

It’s frustrating when people don’t do what we want, so instead of getting annoyed, get answers on what to do differently to be more effective:

  • We’ve been trying to change behaviour in the wrong way. (Read here)
  • The majority of decision-makers call themselves ‘data-driven’ or ‘empirical’, but what do they do when the data contradicts their gut feeling? (Read here)
  • Why motivating customers is a waste of time and money. (Read here)

Predicting what customers will do

In business we rely on what customers tell us they want. Problem is, it may not actually be what they want:

  • “No one wants to see dirt!” Why Dyson was right to ignore customer feedback and how to instead predict what people will actually do. (Read here)
  • Getting around the ‘say vs do’ gap. (Read here)
  • How to read your customer’s mind. (Read here)


A perpetually vexed issue when trying to influence customers is pricing – how can you get them to buy at the price point you want? The answer is not in the number, but how you communicate and contextualise it:

  • When to use rounded numbers. (Read here)
  • When to ditch the decimals. (Read here)
  • Pay what you want pricing – crazy or smart? (Read here)
  • The importance of price anchoring – what’s the first number your customers see? (Read here)
  • When communicating your prices, should you start high or start low? (Read here)
  • There’s no margin in needs. (Read here)

Website conversion

Websites are the most tangible and measurable form of behavioural influence. After all, every time you manage to get a visitor to click means you have changed their behaviour in a small way. Shame then that website conversions average less than 5% because it means something about that influencing process is broken:

  • Forget SEO, BO is the new thing. Behavioural Optimisation that is… (Read here)
  • Example of a site that nails behavioural effectiveness. (Read here)


I reckon to live a better life you need to have the right habits in place, so this year I have broadened my behavioural work to include how to make and break habits:

  • Why habits are the key to a better life. (Read here)
  • When it comes to habits it’s not a question of why or what, but how. (Read here)
  • Tricks I’ve used to change my habits. (Read here)

Thanks for your support, engagement and interest in behavioural science this year and I look forward to sharing much more in 2015.

Bri Williams runs People Patterns, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues.


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