Revive has joined with BPD. We are now the undisputed leader in health system marketing. Read more here.

Aug 06, 2021

Behavioral Design: The science of motivation

Behavioral Design: The science of motivation Featuring Stephanie Wierwille of Revive

Resources Judgment in Managerial Decision Making by Max Bazerman Nudge by Cass Sunstein Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman Buyology by Martin Lindstrom Selling Blue Elephants by Howard Moskowitz Noise by Daniel Kahneman Takeaways What is behavioral design, and why is it important for health brands? If you want to optimize your brand efforts,…



What is behavioral design, and why is it important for health brands?

  • If you want to optimize your brand efforts, you need to understand what motivates people. Behavioral design is a science that examines what motivates people.
  • There’s a tremendous opportunity to apply behavioral design in healthcare. If health system marketers can understand consumer motivations, they can deliver better patient experiences that remove opportunities for biases and illogical thinking to impact decisions.

When emotions take control, rationality checks out

  • When the government started requiring cigarette companies to put warning labels on packaging, severe messaging and visuals didn’t deter consumers from smoking. The warnings evoked an emotional response in which consumers interpreted smoking as another thing they couldn’t do but would continue to do anyway.
  • Pepsi consistently wins blind taste tests over Coke, but Coke is the indisputable taste test winner when consumers know what they are drinking. This variability results from consumers’ emotional response to the Coke brand.
  • Variability even happens in “objective” situations like insurance underwriting. Insurance CEOs estimated 10% variability in underwriting, but in reality, it was 55%.

Mastering the mind

  • Noise includes the external factors that get in the way of rational decisions. For example, a patient may need a hip replacement, but unrelated factors like the time of day, the weather, and mood will impact the patient’s decision to take action.
  • Machine learning can help us counter this variability by identifying patterns we wouldn’t otherwise see.
  • Mind Genomics is the science of understanding which ideas, messaging, concepts, and visuals resonate with audiences.
  • According to Selling Blue Elephants author Howard Moskowitz, rule developing experimentation (RDE) is the systematized process of designing, testing, and modifying alternative ideas and concepts to increase appeal to the consumer.
  • In ad testing, for example, you can ask a group which ads resonate most with them and find commonalities between the ads that resonate. You don’t want to ask consumers if the red resonates with them directly because it could prime them to deliver a skewed response.

Behavioral design applied to health system marketing

  • As health system marketers, we can nudge consumers to make decisions by thinking through default options. For example, in the U.S., organ donation is opt-in. Australia has an opt-out system which results in a larger population of organ donors.
  • When referring patients to specialists, health systems can use nudging tactics by making it easier for consumers to connect with the right specialist, ultimately removing opportunities for consumer biases and irrational thought to impact decision-making.