With the ever increasing pace of change and disruption driven by technological advancements, organisations today need to deliver real products and services quickly.
Digital agency Reading Room has released a whitepaper on digital psychology. This study brings together digital disciplines and the behavioural sciences to introduce a toolkit to help brands garner insight into user behaviours and intent to create a more meaningful engagement with target audiences.
Here are five consolidated steps for better engaging audiences.
1. Less is more
People like choices, and digital is all about choice. However, give them too many and psychological research shows this leads to frustration and difficult choices often lead to no decision at all.
An earlier Bain & Company study suggested that reducing complexity and narrowing choice can boost revenues by 5%-40% and cut costs by 10%-35%. One such example was when Procter & Gamble reduced Head and Shoulder shampoos from 26 to 15 types, it saw an increase in sales by 10%.
Brands should provide just what is needed and make the choice clear. In Asia, brands also need to listen to what the masses are choosing and help them be part of the decision making process to get their product noticed.
“According to one of the gurus of sales psychology, Robert Cialdini, social proof is the strongest of the factors influencing our purchasing behaviour. This is why people trust customer reviews by peers completely unknown to them over any marketing messaging,” said Tom Voirol, global head of user engagement, Reading Room.
2. Good framing
Rethink your copy writing, says the study. Brands should re-think how they draft a brand message or product information.
“People forget that not only does every word count, how it’s said is just as important. It’s all in the framing. It gets people’s thoughts in the right mind set. Good framing allows people to read what you need them to read between the lines,” Deborah Ko, behavioural psychologist, Reading Room said.
Brands should hence do the following:
- Capitalise on the ‘fear of missing out’. This is especially vital in Asia where they have a specific term for this (kiasu), the motivation to avoid regret drives many decisions.
- Focus on the reduction of negative outcomes. When focusing on costs, always provide a solution.
- Choose words that you want your consumers to focus on (should your beef be 98% lean or 2% fat?).
- Find the sweet spot of scary. People pay attention to cost, but if costs are too high, this fear is debilitating and oddly enough people are less likely to pay attention. Aim for concerned rather than petrified.
3. Choose the right colour
About 85% of shoppers say that colour is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions. Although colour tends to have more universal meanings, like blue for cold and red for warmth, it can vary greatly when it is associated with different cultures, such as white meaning death in Asian cultures but purity in Western cultures.
A product in red packaging might be sold more in Asian markets than in Western markets, as red in Asian cultures more often signifies luck or prosperity but could signify caution in Western cultures.
“While globalisation is having a real effect on colour interpretation, localised knowledge of cultural colour idioms is absolutely paramount in creating an experience that feels instinctively more intimate,” Ferdi Wieling, creative director, Reading Room said.
4. Keep visuals simple
Nearly 52% of consumers said they didn’t return to the website because they didn’t like its aesthetics.
A joint study done by the University of Basel and Google found that when websites are visually complex, users usually give a lower rating. People make assumptions about things within milliseconds - 100 milliseconds to be exact.
Hence, brands and their websites have been judged in less than a second.
“People worry about the content and the buttons and don’t realise that they didn’t even get their foot in the door because of a messy or confusing layout,” Ko said.
5. Have you noticed any change?
When it comes to mobile design, individuals are not good at detecting notifications or changes when they are focused on another task on their mobile phones.
Researchers found that over 30% of notifications were unnoticed when users were playing a mobile video game. Also, more icons on the screen lead to less detection of any icon changes on mobile screens.
What gets noticed in different cultures?
A study done with Japanese and American participants shows that Asians (who have been shown to look at images more holistically than those from Western cultures) were better at detecting changes in the background than American participants.