The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy

If you’ve not read Richard Shotton’s The Choice Factory, you’re in for a treat. I was lucky enough to hear him speak at last year’s ProCopywriters’ Conference and his energy is infectious.

Pulling together a host of his own and others’ behavioural science experiments from around the world and across the last century, The Choice Factory explores how we decide which brands to spend our money on.

The book focuses on the “25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy.” Set on a single day in someone’s working life, Richard addresses the mental shortcuts shoppers take and what these mean for advertisers.

As you’d expect from a man who knows how our brains truly work, it’s a nippy read. It’s easy to dip in and out, but chances are you’ll quickly be sucked in by the pace and real-life examples.

Grab a copy if you want to know:

  • Why you should remove the £ sign and add a 9
  • Why surveys lie, and some sneaky and cheap ways to improve on them
  • Why you need to invest in a high-end option that doesn’t sell
  • Why great copy makes things taste better
  • Why you should focus on lukewarm buyers, and how you might just convert your haters when they’re busy
  • Why wasteful ads aren’t a waste
  • Why the stuff you’re rubbish at is a precious asset
  • Why ad localisation might be a safer bet than personalisation

In an unusually brave move for a book about advertising, Richard’s final chapter is titled Ethics. He cautions that whatever techniques you draw on, you should think about the long-term health of your brand over short-term financial gain.

“Are you selling snake-oil? Or are you selling something of substance? If it’s the former, then no defence of the techniques you’re using justifies it.”

Rory Sutherland is clearly a huge fan of Richard, and it’s easy to see why. This book is packed with tons of practical advice with the potential to improve every kind of ad campaign.

The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy, Richard Shotton, Publisher: Harriman House Publishing, ISBN: 9780857196095

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