Books: Nudge ~ Brand Mix

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Books: Nudge

"Nudge nudge. Know what I mean? Say no more...know what I mean?" Monty Python

I love the idea behind Brand Tags. What's the first word that comes to your mind when you see the logo for Wal-Mart etc? Well, related to that, whenever I see the word "nudge," this Monty Python quote comes to mind. Have anything to do with the book, Martin? Not a lot.

Nudge joins a growing collection of books exploring connections between Economics with Psychology. Predictably Irrational, also just published, is another. Others that I think of in the same set are: The Tipping Point, Freakonomics, even Made To Stick, (the authors might disagree).

The particular angle for Nudge is that since we humans are not the rational people that economists usually assume us to be, we often make bad choices based on our biases. Thayler and Sunstein, the book's authors, show that, by taking into account how people actually think and act, we can build "choice architectures" that make it easier for them to choose what's best for them. As an example, they cite the case of a school cafeteria where the director of food services was able to get kids to eat more healthily just be rearranging what was displayed where.

They apply this principle to a new movement they call "libertarian paternalism" which they admit is a combination of two concepts both "reviled and contradictory." Nevertheless they go on to show quite compellingly the merits of this approach in preserving choice but still nudging people to do things that will end up making their lives better.

But it was the concept of choice architecture that I was most interested in since, by name alone, it's close to my field of work in brand architecture. Both types of architecture are about improving choices--choice architecture from the customer perspective and brand architecture from the brand perspective. We always say that effective brand architecture helps consumers find the things they are looking for. If choice architecture helps them choose the right things, that seems like a powerful combo. I plan on using that.

Nudge: reviews
The art of business book reading: Brand Mix

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