Mary Kom: A Life of Lessons

How did Mary Kom celebrate after becoming the first woman boxer to win six gold medals at the World Championships? Sitting on the ringside steps, huddled with coaches, she cried. And the more the crowd cheered, the more the tears flowed.

She is the only woman to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the seven world championships.

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A 35 years old woman, a mother of 3, her life itself a lesson: 

IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE YOU COMING FROM, WHAT MATTERS IS WHERE YOU GOING 

Born to parents who were landless agricultural labour in the state of Manipur in Northeast India, she becomes a legend defying every odd.

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER

Life is not a set of pre-defined rules, you have to write yours. At 35, mother of 3, she is power punches to dismantle any opponent in minutes.

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS

Her years of hard work, the refusal to give up, pushing every boundary there was. The thrill, the joy of winning, the successes. The Olympic bronze, the 2020 Olympic dream, the unstoppable spirit.

USE EVERY SITUATION TO BUILD YOUR DREAMS

A childhood of hard labour prepared her body for the sport just as well as any fitness training might have. Her own will and aggression carry her through the minefield of politics that any sport in India is. Nimble of foot and pulling no punches, the boxing ring was Mary’s dominion

Mary’s story is one of relentless struggle and unflagging passion for the sport of boxing.

 

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Behavioural Science Behind: Why Supreme Court orders were defied on Diwali

Even three days after Diwali, the air quality remains in the ‘severe’ category in Delhi. The Supreme Court’s orders were defied, and firecrackers were used extensively, resulting in thick smog that engulfed Delhi and NCR region.

Supreme Court is a highly respected and legitimate authority in India, despite being its order of regulating timings (between 2000 to 2200 hours) of burning fire-crackers on Diwali, the fire-show went on way beyond. Crackers were burned by the people of Delhi even knowing the ongoing hazard of air pollution in the capital city.

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Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

Why it had happened, how it could have been handled, what are the possibilities of the future? Behavioural sciences have some answers:

Nudging:

“A nudge is an aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s Behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.” (Thaler & Sunstein 2008)

Without giving an option of green fire-crackers, it is almost impossible to stop people from bursting crackers. People are irrational, restricting their choices make them curious and offender of breaking the barrier. Just like kids often do what you stop them from doing. It is almost impossible to have a reasonable effect of such restricting orders, especially when dealing with the general public.

The Psychology of All or Nothing: We, as an individual, manage to undermine our contribution and tend to think of ‘all or nothing’. A change starts from an individual and spreads all over.

Bystander Effect: The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. 

If we wait everyone to act before we act, no one will ever act before its too late.

Availability Heuristics: Availability is a heuristic whereby people make judgments about the likelihood of an event based on how easily an example, instance, or case comes to mind.

Celebrities should talk about air pollution on social media, the government should extensively campaign its hazard and solutions, politicians should refrain from making it a religious issue. Let people aware of it, let it trending on minds, the way it worked in decreasing tobacco consumption.

 

Do you have anything in your mind related to the application of behavioural economics in this situation? Feel free to write me at: sourav.raina@alumni.ie.edu

 

The science of first impression: How TWO words can change everything about you

Our propensity to label people, ideas or things based on our initial opinions of them is so high, that even two simple words have the power to influence it.

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Here’s the experiment. A class of MIT students were told that their economics professor was out of town and therefore a substitute instructor would be filling in. The students received a brief bio describing him. Half the students received this version:

Mr._____ is from the Department of Economics and Social Science here at MIT. He has had three semesters of teaching experience in psychology at another college. This is his first-semester teaching Economics 70. He is 26 years old, a veteran, and married. People who know him consider him to be a very warm person, industrious, critical, practical, and determined.

The second half received the same bio. Only two words had been changed:

Mr._____ is from the Department of Economics and Social Science here at MIT. He has had three semesters of teaching experience in psychology at another college. This is his first-semester teaching Economics 70. He is 26 years old, a veteran, and married. People who know him consider him to be a rather cold person, industrious, critical, practical, and determined.

At the end of the class, each student filled out an identical questionnaire about the substitute instructor. Most students from the first group that received the bio describing him as ‘very warm’, loved him. They described him as good-natured, considerate, informal, sociable, popular, humorous and humane. Though the students in the second group sat in the same class, same session, most of these students saw him as self-centered, formal, unsociable, unpopular, irritable, humourless and ruthless!

Just two words have the power to alter our perception of another person and possibly sour the relationship before it even begins. Once we get a label in mind, we don’t notice things that don’t fit within the category. Labeling is important for us to go through the regular day bombarded with information so that we can organize and simplify. But it also prevents us from seeing things as they are.

Source:

Harold Kelley (University of Michigan) – The warm-cold variable in first impression of persons, Journal of Personality 18, no 4 (1950): 431-439.

Summarised by: Behavioural Design

 

10 forms of content that work best for SEO

Search engines have two primary functions: crawling and building an index, and providing search users with a ranked list of the websites they’ve determined are the most relevant. Great Content encourages people to link to your pages and shows Google your pages are exciting and reliable. This leads to a successful SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION  because Google wants to show interesting and authoritative pages in its search results.

Having ranked higher in SEO helps you to gain organic traffic on your website, and the majority of search engines users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the results pages (SERPS).

Here is the type of content that works best for SEO:

1. Blog posts: Blog posts that are updated regularly with quality content and links directing to the relevant information.
e.g. Four roads we call customer service ranks for seth.blog

2. Short-form content and articles: Short, quick and easy read that is well structured.
e.g. Jim Collin’s Piece on Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals ranks for BHAG

3. Long-form articles: Articles that are interesting, informative and well written.
e.g. Nudged: How Brands Can Create a Difference by Using Behavioural Economics (Via souravraina.com)

4. Photo and visual galleries:  Visualisation is easily understood by the brain without making many efforts. Also, recent developments in the technology of reading data from pictures make it irreplaceable content for SEOs.

e.g. Right Hairstyle’s 100 Cool Short Hairstyles for Men/ (ranks for men’s hairstyles)

5. Detailed and information-rich lists of information: There are 1.2 trillion searches on Google every year and many of them are for informational purposes.
e.g. Wearable’s Best Fitness Trackers of 2016 (ranks for Fitness Trackers)

6. Interactive tools and content got some good examples of those.
e.g. Zoopla’s House Prices Tool (ranks for property prices)

7. Comprehensive category landers: This would be like if you search for kitchen designs, how you might land on Houzz’s page of various kitchen designs and that’s really a lander to get you into more content, so it’s not technically a content marketing piece by itself, but it leads you into content pieces or could.
e.g. HGTV’s Kitchen Ideas (ranks for kitchen remodelling ideas)

8. Multi-page guides: things like Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
e.g. Bates University’s “Painless Guide to Statistics” (ranks for statistics guide)

9. Data or complex information that is visualized
e.g. CNN’s Election Results (ranks for election results 2016)

10. Video: YouTube or embedded video on a particular page, Whiteboard Friday itself is an example of that.
e.g. Whiteboard Friday itself (ranks for Unique Content)

“50% Frightened: 50% Excited,” 6 remarkable quotes of Duncan Wardle at South Summit 2018

Duncan Wardle is former vice president of innovation and creativity at Disney, the world’s most creative organization, the Walt Disney Company. He now serves as an independent innovation and design thinking consultant, helping companies embed a culture of innovation and creativity across their organization.

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He was a keynote speaker at South Summit 2018. His impressive speech was persuasive enough to reiterate the famous quote of Albert Einstein,  “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

 

Here are six beautiful excerpts of his speech:

 

“Consumer insights have been under-used.”

 

“Big data is faster but consumers are humans, they have emotions.”

“If you are not doing different, you are not innovating.”

 

“13% of a human brain is conscious, 87% is unconscious. You cannot access the subconscious brain when stressed.”

 

“AI will not have curiosity, imagination, creativity and intuition. Humans are born with it.”

 

“50% excited, 50% frightened is a good place to be.” Talking about bravery and risk.

Psychology of Pricing: The Decoy Effect

Have you ever thought of pricing beyond cost + margin?

Did you ever notice the way you make decisions by available choices?

Did you ever feel curious when a book judged by its compelling cover became a boring read?

Have you ever thought why a shirt is priced at 2999 instead of 3000?

Most of the times we make irrational iterations to justify the rationality of our decisions. Psychology plays a mindboggling part in pricing and many times we fall into the trap of it and end up buying more, expensive or even useless.

Psychological pricing has many forms, and you may come across many such types of things around your local retailers or grocery shops. Just like I bought apples on a relatively high price because of a sticker depicting “High Quality,” only to find them rotten inside. Damn smart street vendors!

The decoy effect is definitely not the only cognitive bias that is apparent in humans.

To understand The Decoy Effect, let’s start with an example:

The Economist is widely known for using The Decoy Effect. Out of the below-mentioned choices, try to choose one out of three offers:

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Many of us will argue that the offer I (left) is the best option. It is cheap to have both the subscription for US$15, which are worth of US$24 (US$12 each). You will suddenly feel that you are making a rational choice with a right amount of deal. Other options seem irrelevant, and you are ended up spending more even if you do not need one or other kind of subscription.

Dan Ariely found in The Economist magazine and wrote about in his book Predictably Irrational but it touches on the concept of decoy pricing or the “asymmetric dominance effect” effect.

Confused?

Let’s take another example: The bottle with $30 tag suddenly becomes reasonable after the introduction of $50 tag bottle.

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Five PRINCIPLES of Ray Dalio You Should Radically Embrace

Ray Dalio is an American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. But what strikes me the most is his remarkable ability to think abstractly. He is a genius of devising strategic and radically practical ways of approaching a problem and to figure out the solution effortlessly.

Ray is amongst my favourite authors of the era. I highly recommend everyone to read his book: PRINCIPLES. Also, you may love to follow his inspirational posts on LinkedIn and other social platforms. Here are 5 magnificent PRINCIPLES I have chosen to share:

“If both parties are peers, it’s appropriate to argue. But if one person is clearly more knowledgeable than the other, it is preferable for the less knowledgeable person to approach the more knowledgeable one as a student and for the more knowledgeable one to act as a teacher. Doing this well requires you to understand the concept of believability. I define believable people as those who have repeatedly and successfully accomplished the thing in question—who have a strong track record with at least three successes—and have great explanations of their approach when probed.”

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“The answer doesn’t have to be in your head; you can look outside yourself. If you’re truly looking at things objectively, you must recognize that the probability of you always having the best answer is small and that, even if you have it, you can’t be confident that you do before others test you. So it is invaluable to know what you don’t know. Ask yourself: Am I seeing this just through my own eyes? If so, then you should know that you’re terribly handicapped.” 

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“Most people are reluctant to take in information that is inconsistent with what they have already concluded. When I ask why, a common answer is: “I want to make up my own mind.” These people seem to think that considering opposing views will somehow threaten their ability to decide what they want to do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking in others’ perspectives in order to consider them in no way reduces your freedom to think independently and make your own decisions. It will just broaden your perspective as you make them.”

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“Most people make bad decisions because they are so certain that they’re right that they don’t allow themselves to see the better alternatives that exist. Radically open-minded people know that coming up with the right questions and asking other smart people what they think is as important as having all the answers. They understand that you can’t make a great decision without swimming for a while in a state of “not knowing.” That is because what exists within the area of “not knowing” is so much greater and more exciting than anything any one of us knows.”

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“Look at the patterns of your mistakes and identify at which step in the 5-Step Process you typically fail. Ask others for their input too, as nobody can be fully objective about themselves.”

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i5: What Has Changed in Consumer Decision Making?

Why do we do the things we do? What is it exactly that drives our action? What do we know about our motives? A consumer decision-making journey is not easy to understand. We rarely make rational choices in our lives and our purchases!

The consumer decision journey has evolved significantly over the past decade due to the internet, digital innovation and the subsequent rise of the internet. Consumers are moving outside the marketing funnel by changing the way they research and buy products. Instead of a path to purchase that is traditionally linear, it has become more of a cycle. Moreover, it is not just dependent on products or brand, it involves channels too.

i5 model involves 5 steps of consumer journey: Introduction, Inspection, Investigation, Involvement and Inclination. It defines how a consumer starts its journey by need recognition and eventually passes through various steps to develop loyalty towards a brand or make an exit to explore other options.

INTRODUCTION

Introduction is the first step when a consumer recognizes a need and interprets it for myriad reasons. It includes psychological as well as physiological needs. The arousal of need is triggered by the stimuli (internal and external), stronger the stimuli, stronger will be the motivation to further involvement in the decision-making process.

INSPECTION

In this step, a consumer tries to evaluate his association with brands. The salience or a brand being top of mind in a decision situation is the first critical factor. Any first-hand experience (past usage) with the brand and second-hand experiences (influencers) on social media or directly communicated by the brand. The overall positive feeling created by these experiences will nudge consumers to choose one brand over another.

 

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i5 Model of Consumer Journey was developed by Sourav Raina while he was pursuing Masters in Market Research and Consumer Behaviour at IE Business School, Spain.

 

INVESTIGATION

During the investigation stage, a consumer looks after the channel which suits the most. It may involve convenience, low prices, offers or lock into a loyalty-based program. With the continuous evolvement of e-commerce platforms and comparison sites, a consumer inclines to make a smart decision. Furthermore, the combination of both channels (online and offline) is also in use to decide to purchase. The concepts like “showrooming,” are byproducts of it.

INVOLVEMENT

Involvement is the user experience phase or the period of usage. It is the “moment of contact” of a brand and a customer.

INCLINATION

Involvement creates experience and experience shapes inclination. How well a brand delivered against expectations is critical to developing the loyalty loop, advocacy and repurchase decision. An unsatisfied consumer exits the journey to look after further options.

Nudged: How Brands Can Create a Difference by Using Behavioural Economics

Professor Richard Thaler, University of Chicago, the Nobel Memorial Prize Winner in Economics (2017) for his contribution to Behavioral Economics. Together with his co-author, Professor Cass Sunstein (Harvard Law School) is responsible for developing and popularizing the concept of “Nudging.”

WHAT IS NUDGING?

“A nudge is an aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s Behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.” (Thaler & Sunstein 2008, page 6)

 

WHY I LOVE NUDGING?

To me, nudging is a compelling idea of doing small & yet powerful tweaks to assist people to make the right choices (which is right for your brand to gain the competitive advantage). I had started using Nudging when I was working for Asian Paints Ltd (Forbes 10 most innovative & leading home-décor companies in the world), a part of my job was to convenience distributors that why we offer the best deals (despite being the most complicated calculations we had in our sale promotions). To re-arrange the offerings most simply and to calculate it in a way a distributor can understand without changing the overall cost. Reference to my experience, I feel that it is one of the most robust processes a person or organisation can use to get the job done. Notably, for marketing and sales people it is an excellent opportunity to learn and put into action. Nowadays, nudging has recently even proven popular with governments around the world. Relying on insights from behavioural science, nudging seeks to improve people’s decisions by changing the way options are presented to them. Interestingly, it does not change the options themselves nor the costs and benefits associated with these options.

HOW WE “NUDGE” IN DAILY LIFE?

Nudging is a widespread phenomenon, and we are tempted to nudge under various circumstances. For instance, I repeatedly noticed many times that whenever I jaywalk in streets (needlessly when vehicles are either at a distance or no traffic), it tempts people to follow the same, even though they were patiently waiting before. In such a way I benchmark a kind of behaviour under given circumstances that people feel nudged to adapt. Moreover, in our daily lives we come across the stigma of too many choices, and thus, it makes us confuse to choose the best for ourselves. Now a day, even choosing a bottle of water is a difficult job, provided the number of choices. But having assisted at various level to make a right decision is nudging.

I, also, wish to share an experiment that I have carried out during my Master at  IE Business School. One of my classmates was so shy to speak in the class, and she was on the verge of losing her participation marks which consist of roughly 30% of the total weight. I spent so much time to motivate her to speak so that she could score better as she was hard-working but very shy to talk most of the times. In one of  CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR classes, I wrote “30%” on a piece of paper and inserted in the back of her “name-plate”. By doing this little thing, I noticed something unusual; she spoke three times in the same class. It never happened before, I have never been able to convince her vocally to talk even once in any class. Eventually, she ended up being one of the best presenters in the class.

 

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HOW NUDGING WORKS?

The fundamental principle of Nudge is that of “liberal paternalism.” The idea that it is both possible and legitimate for institutions to affect Behaviour while also respecting freedom of choice of the consumer, as well as the implementation of that idea. It has the following two key attributes:

  • Firstly, that individuals should be allowed to do what they “like.”
  • Secondly, that the public and private sectors should also be encouraged “to steer people’s choices in directions that will improve their lives”.

For example: “Putting the book at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning mobile phone does not” (just in case parents want their children to use less technology). This is because it will increase the likelihood of children to grab a book to read- for their benefit- but they should be allowed to choose the either.

Nudge works more in a subtle way, and while this may appear inconsequential when compared to more forceful forms of communication, Professor Thaler argues the fact people can be “greatly influenced by small changes in the context”, and, as such, relatively minor alterations to the status quo can “move people in a direction that will make their lives better”.

HOW TO CONSTRUCT AN EFFECTIVE NUDGE?

While nudge is a great tool to change the behaviour of consumers. It is even more critical to constructing it efficiently to maximise its benefits. Following are points that should be taken into consideration while forming the effective nudge.

Incentives: It is essential to know who is benefitted and accordingly whom to be targeted to nudge by offering specific incentives. For instance, consumers do not always notice gradual increases in the prices of their energy bills as a means of attempting them to reduce energy use but may pay more attention if a thermostat told them how much money they would save by turning it down.

Understanding Offering: Understand the type of product or service an organisation is offering and map it in a clear and comprehensive for customers.

Defaults: Setting a default eases the course of action, it helps consumers to choose well among many choices. For instance, setting a default amount to add in the wallet-app help consumers to make a decision easily.

Give feedback: Tell people when they are doing it right or not. For instance, a red-sign on battery indicator in the laptop means to plug the charging, and a green sign on the dashboard of the car is an indicator of the efficient driving skills. People will eventually start taking it a default course of actions, and it can change their habits dramatically.

Expect error: As humans are prone to commit mistakes, an all-around composed framework “anticipates that its clients will blunder and is as excusing as would be prudent.”

HOW CAN BRANDS NUDGE?

Brands now call it “Nudge Marketing.” Compelling consumer to desired in a certain manner by “nudging” them with a market message that straddles the sensitive adjust of not being too delicate and inconspicuous nor being too blundering and strong. In the times when consumers are living in an era in which if overflowed of information, it is getting increasingly difficult for marketers to communicate in such a manner that it would not perceive as “too much” at the customer end, such brands lose their relevance and trust of the consumer. Also, to ensure that consumers can understand the product well and find it easy to use is the most prominent challenge due to time-factor and wide availability of choices.

A brand that can nudge well can win the race. Not just regarding communicating well but being involved with consumers in their decision-making process. Such brands enjoy the high level of loyalty and trust of the consumers. Apple is an excellent example in the context of nudging. The extremely high success of the iPhone and iPad is far dependent on the fact that they are highly user-friendly that both simplify and enhance the consumer experience.  Apple doesn’t rely on the fewer choices but also ensures that the offering should desirably delight the consumer. Thus, consumers place higher trust in their offering and perceive it as a highly aspirational choice. Also, Apple nudges its customer by offering a new highly innovative and fundamentally different device every year, even without being communicated to upgrade (for example from iPhone 8 to iPhone X), customers feel nudged to grab the latest.

The prospect of nudging can also play, a broader role when it comes to corporate social responsibility. With the growing demand for health-conscious and environment-friendly products, brands can potentially nudge their consumers using consumer insights, to change behaviour or habit and to adopt healthier and more sustainable products. It can be ranged from self-hygiene to responsible use of natural resources. In an era when the world is talking about sustainability and customers are looking for healthy substitutes, brands are in a privileged position to be actors of change in society thanks to their daily relationship with consumers in the home and elsewhere.

 

 

 

Brand Storytelling: The Power of Purpose

There is no doubt about the power of storytelling, its fascination and ability to strengthen the recall of a brand.  Humans quickly connect with stories, and it helps them to remember things longer. A story activates parts of the brain that allows listeners to turn the story into their own ideas and experience. However, there is very little empirical evidence exists of their effects on consumer responses. As storytelling is becoming another mainstream mode of advertising, what kind of stories a brand should tell to keep it outstanding and clutter-free.

Should a story be of a fearless rebel or gentle? That depends, which route is imperative and how well customers associate themselves with it. However, there is a risk of polarisation, and lack of purpose can doom the image of a brand. Controversial brands are often quick to rise and fall as they get drown in the tsunami of trends and become out of space.

Amidst a generational shift, Millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans by 2020 and 75% of the workforce by 2025. Brands have to re-consider their current positioning and how they can effectively connect with the next generation, as reports suggest that millennials prefer brands with purpose. Purposeful storytelling is the better idea with sharply honing the context of timing. That is what Nike did it with its 30th-anniversary ad.

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The decision by Nike to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of the ad campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of ‘Just Do It’ reflects a brave move driven by the purpose of “Believe in Something.” Meanwhile, people reacted against it on social media, but surging sales of Nike clearly tell a different story. Nike stood for the purpose of non-violent civil protest as a proud legacy of America, and the world is loving it.

What is fascinating from a marketing aspect is how this one ad has wholly redefined Nike’s brand purpose. How exceptionally it conveyed the message of moral excellence and the meaning of success in the world. Also, it will reinforce Nike’s connect to Gen-Z as a purpose-driven brand to help solve social and environmental problems.