Podcast Episodes

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?

310. Using Availability Bias to Generate Buzz (Refreshed Episode)

Understanding cognitive biases can inform marketing and advertising strategies in businesses. Availability bias causes individuals to rely on immediate information, which is easily accessible, instead of thorough research. If it comes to mind easily, we think it is more true or likely than if it doesn’t come to mind as easily. Of course, that isn’t always the case. Availability bias can deeply influence decision-making processes both within a company and for its customers. For businesses, understanding this bias can provide pivotal insights about consumer behavior–one great way to use this, which host Melina Palmer discusses in detail throughout the episode, is in pitching your business and getting PR.

During the podcast, Melina vividly illustrates the concept through examples, such as the typically contrasting associations with the words “shark” and “cow.” She points out that these associations are borne out of the easily available information about these animals, rather than a comprehensive understanding of their respective behaviors. (Which do you think is more deadly? If you said a shark…you’re in for a surprise!) Understanding availability bias and how it can be leveraged is essential for business owners and marketers to craft strategies that share the right message at the right time.

In this episode:

  • Unlock insights into availability bias and its impact on decision-making.
  • Hear some fun examples — like, should you be more scared of sharks or cows? — that will show how your own mind is tricking you regularly.
  • Learn why you should be following trends (and predicting them) so you communicate the right messages at the right time.
  • Hear the fascinating story of the diamond industry and how they used availability bias to shape the narrative.
  • Find out what HARO is, and how it can help your business to gain visibility along with availability bias.
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00:00:00 – Introduction,
Melina Palmer introduces the episode and explains that availability bias is one of her favorite concepts from behavioral economics. She mentions that availability bias is the tendency to judge the likelihood of something happening based on how easily examples come to mind.

00:01:10 – Importance of Availability Bias,
Melina explains that availability bias is important because it affects our perception of risk and influences our decision-making. She gives examples of how availability bias can impact our view of certain events or situations.

00:09:06 – Swapping Out Questions,
Melina discusses how our brains often swap out difficult or unfamiliar questions with easier ones (known as satisficing). She uses the example of solving a complex math problem and how our brains substitute it with a range of possible numbers instead. This swapping out can lead to / go hand-in-hand with availability bias.

00:11:21 – Impact of Stories and Personal Experiences,
Melina explains that stories and personal experiences have a significant impact on availability bias. Our brains are more likely to remember and be influenced by vivid examples and stories rather than statistics or abstract information.

00:14:01 – Applying Availability Bias in Business,
Melina advises businesses to be mindful of availability bias when developing their strategies. She emphasizes the importance of using social media as a tool to support other business objectives rather than relying solely on it for monetary gain. (Will 1 million YouTube downloads a month make you rich?)

00:18:00 – How Our Brains Associate Information,
Our brains associate information in very literal ways. Melina shares examples of travel to Norway increasing dramatically because of a cartoon, and skyrocketing sales in Mars bars when the Mars rover was in the news. Aligning your business with popular topics can help boost your visibility and engagement.

00:19:07 – Being Aware of Trends,
Stay aware of what’s trending in social media, news, and pop culture. Find ways to connect your business to these trends and get associated with what people are talking about and searching for. Especially in areas that may seem unrelated (more on that as we go).

00:20:46 – The Power of Rose Gold,
Rose gold has become a popular trend, and businesses that offer products in this shade can attract customers who are actively seeking it. By using scarcity and availability, you can create a buzz and fuel interest in your offerings. If rose gold isn’t cool anymore by the time you are listening to this – or not aligned with your brand – what is the new “it” color? What is the Pantone color of the year, for example?

00:23:50 – Making Your Own Luck,
Instead of waiting for opportunities to come your way, actively seek ways to connect your business to current conversations and trends. Look for unique and unexpected angles that can make you stand out from the crowd.

00:26:19 – Combinatorial Thinking,
Combining seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts can lead to innovative and novel solutions. Don’t limit yourself to obvious connections; think outside the box and explore new possibilities for your business.

00:37:36 – The Success of the Diamond Advertising Campaign,
The advertising agency reported impressive results in its campaign, with diamond sales increasing by 55% in the United States from 1938 to 1941. The campaign focused on the emotional value of diamonds and created a new form of advertising that has been widely imitated.

00:38:48 – The Impact of De Beers’ Advertising,
De Beers continued to innovate its advertising approach, creating the “Diamonds are Forever” line in 1947 and utilizing television and a diamond information center. They even changed marriage traditions in Japan to incorporate diamond engagement rings. De Beers’ advertising efforts led to a significant increase in diamond sales and a 100-fold increase in sales value by 1979.

00:42:12 – Importance of Research and Timing,
De Beers understood the importance of solid research and finding new ways to reach consumers. They leveraged the popularity of influential figures, such as the royal family, to increase interest in their products. 

00:44:04 – Conclusion,
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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