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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

252. Priming (Refreshed Episode)

Today’s episode is all about priming. This is something I talk about all the time, so if you have heard me speak or have read my books, or have been listening to the podcast for a while, chances are this isn’t the first time you are hearing about this concept. Next to framing it is probably the thing I talk about the most.

While framing’s lesson is that how you say something matters more than what you say, priming shows us that whatever happens just before a moment of decision or action is very important in influencing the decision that is made. Yes, there are many examples as we get into the episode, so I won’t get into it too much right now.

In the “It’s Not About the Cookie” framework, priming is the scent of the cookies or the burnt popcorn when we are talking about change management like in my second book, What Your Employees Need and Can’t Tell You. At the core of priming, we have the way that the brain filters information and how we make associations. These can be very literal like how we see an apple in the grocery store and are reminded of the company, and that can influence behavior or it can be more of a filter that impacts how we see people or think about a product or service. 

We can be primed to buy using all of our senses, and it is important to consider them all as you think about your own messaging. As you listen to the episode today, I want you to consider all the senses and how they can impact behavior. Taking a step back and thinking holistically about your experience and looking for opportunities that are outside the norm, are great ways to incorporate priming and all the senses into your messaging. It may seem silly, but I encourage you to think with all your senses and wonder, “What might that look like? (or taste like or smell like…)

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SHOW NOTES:

  • [00:37] Today’s episode is all about priming. This is something I talk about all the time, so if you have heard me speak or have read my books, or have been listening to the podcast for a while, chances are this isn’t the first time you are hearing about this concept.
  • [01:56] We can be primed to buy using all of our senses, and it is important to consider them all as you think about your own messaging.
  • [03:24] One of my favorite ways to start a foundations show is with a game or a series of questions to help you see how the concept works before I start explaining and today’s episode is no different.  
  • [05:33] Your brain is lazy and incredibly busy, so it takes these shortcuts all the time. 
  • [07:45] The effects of priming wear off quickly as our brain is quickly churning through information. Primes are everywhere and it’s not just about anchoring and adjustment.
  • [09:05] Priming is about more than just numbers. It can also be done with words. 
  • [12:43] Melina shares the results of a university study where people were primed with polite and rude words. 
  • [15:25] Prime yourself and psych yourself up before you take any test. The brain can be very easily primed. An amazing example from Olympians.
  • [17:11] The first step of visualization is to know what you want. Next, describe your vision in detail. Step three is to start visualizing and creating the emotions. Step four is to take daily action and step five is to have grit and preserve. 
  • [18:31] We can be primed with physical objects as well. Melina share’s a study about students holding an iced versus hot coffee. 
  • [19:48] Always drink hot tea or coffee and get hot drinks for people you want to make a good impression on. 
  • [21:48] Everything you do and say matters and similarly whatever was said or done right before everything you do or say matters. 
  • [22:34] You can’t control everything. It is worth looking at the things you can control. Take the extra step to evaluate if you are spending the money and buying things. 
  • [24:29] Small things, just a few simple words, can make a huge difference. 
  • [26:35] You are priming your brain to take on the traits of those outside influences.  
  • [28:01] In all these studies, people said they were not influenced by the items, words, or numbers or that they didn’t even see them. It may not register on a conscious level but it is getting in there even if people don’t realize it.  
  • [29:00] Marketing and advertising takes dedication and focus, consistent presence and messaging to break through the clutter, and making sure you are using the right primes to keep things moving in the proper direction instead of derailing the whole thing. Know your brand and who you are in the most simplest form. 
  • [29:35] Melina’s closing thoughts
  • [31:24] One more thing that is so important to consider with priming, is to know that this isn’t exacting and you should not expect the results to be fully generalizable.
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