Rather than continue on The Plateau Effect I'm going to put that on hold to talk about something more timely with the beginning of summer, sunscreen
The idea came to me when I attended a safety meeting at work where the topic of sunscreen came up, and how important it is to use. And they shared with us some stories about their experiences with skin cancer and a short video promoting the use of sunscreen via statistics.
I was thinking, this isn’t going to be too effective and I thought with my knowledge of ‘why we do what we do’ I could come up with a much better solution and I thought I’d write it up as a case study here on how to use what I cover here on this site to find a better way to get people to use sunscreen. But it turns out it’s still pretty tricky, I'll give you some insights but I wasn't able to come up with as good of a solution as I'd like.
So what did they do right:
They appealed to our emotions, i.e. they tried to scare us. They told us of people they knew with skin cancer and that they had had skin cancer removed. Getting our emotions involved is key to getting people to act.
What they didn’t do so well:
They brought in doubt. They mentioned one instance of sunscreen causing harm to a baby. They didn’t give the numbers but one product recall that caused harm to a small number of babies might be good to know about but I think it could have had a bigger impact on us than it should’ve when you look at it from a big picture. Hundreds of millions of people use sunscreen and didn’t get the reaction those babies did. Yes, we can talk about checking the ingredients but they could've been clearer on the likelihood of those risks vs. not using sunscreen at all.
And going back to the emotions, I don't think they really got us emotional enough about the topic to really pursued us. This is tricky in a workplace, you don't generally want to get people to worked up and crying which could happen easily with a topic like this.
What I think they could’ve done better:
Beyond the session I went to what can marketers do better:
Dan Ariely likes the slogan “getting people to do the right thing for the wrong reason”. He studies human behaviour and says information alone has little effect on our actions, and sometimes has opposite effects. He gives the example of calories listed on menus. He said some people start looking for the best deal, the most calories per $ instead of an appropriate dish based on the other meals they ate that day.
Bring the future them into the picture
Appeal to wanting to fit in:
Many studies show we'll adjust our behaviour to fit in more readily than we will based on logical reasoning. We seem to see the immediate gain of fitting in as more important than the long terms gains. Someone could try ...
What can you do?
As you can see I didn't come up with the perfect solution but I hope you can see there is more to persuading someone that just giving them data.
Here is the video they showed. I liked it because data appeals to me and he does use some of the other techniques, but I'm also already on board with the sunscreen :)