Real change requires behavior change

Fun-Easy-Popular is a method, not a model — a framework focused on behavioral determinants and propelled by social psychology and behavioral economics.
Determinants

People seek rewards and avoid problems. The sooner and surer the perceived reward, the more powerful the pull. Losses loom larger than gains (a concept known as loss aversion), but the certainty of the outcome is key. In fact, people undervalue highly probable outcomes relative to certain outcomes (certainty effect). The key word here is perceived — it’s what people expect to happen that matters. 

At the heart of marketing is the theory of an exchange – if I do this, I’ll get that in return. What people expect to get in return for acting are the things we call perceived consequences.

High risks may deter us. But the influence of risk is hampered by optimism bias and the complexity of grasping probability. It is also a very crowded messaging category: In a blizzard of warnings, each individual caution is easily lost or dismissed. Risk is most powerful when the threat is highly probable, imminent, personal and easily addressed. Otherwise, other determinants are much more likely to play a larger role in influencing behavior.

How you feel can overpower what you know. We often take action based on how we feel or in anticipation of how we might feel if we act. We seek various shades of joy and acceptance, and are triggered by feelings like anger, fear, anticipation and surprise. Just associating a product or behavior with an emotion can have a powerful effect as emotions can act as both motivators and triggers.

The FEP Meter: the FEP Meter measures influence
Internal Determinants
Structural Determinants

Some actions require know-how or skill. Sometimes mere knowledge can trigger the intent to act, but only when the information is new and adds the necessary understanding, efficacy or inspiration people need to act.

Confidence in one’s ability to do something, which may or may not be strongly rooted in actual skill, is often a precursor to action — a missing link especially for more challenging behaviors or more timid actors.

Behaviors are often chosen intuitively, without reflection, using instinct and mental shortcuts to lighten the cognitive load. We call those shortcuts “heuristics.” The results are predictable biases that can be used to influence behavior.

People like to be in control. Feeling control over a decision empowers action by providing confidence that we can make an impact. Choice helps: It gives one the sense of more control.

The perceived cost of an action — in money, time, social capital or even cognitive load — may lead to action or  inaction depending on the situation. To achieve a sense of accomplishment, we often tend to finish things we’ve already invested time and energy in; on the other hand, people gravitate to what requires less of them.

Behaviors are influenced by their context. People favor what’s accessible, noticeable, supported or triggered by environmental cues.

The FEP Meter: the FEP Meter measures influence
Determinants

As social beings, we can’t help but look to our peers. We are influenced by what we think others do, and by what we think they expect of us – in a word, norms. Norms can be embedded in cultures as traditions or emerge quickly as trends. While often not explicitly acknowledged or even consciously recognized by the people involved, norms are among the most powerful influences marketing can harness.

The standards we set for ourselves, driven by aspirations, fears and self-image, impact our behavior as we signal who we aspire to be. 

Ought self
What I should be

Ideal self
What I want to be

Forbidden self
What I am not allowed to be

Undesired self
What I want to avoid being

We are always creating our “self” and signaling to others what that self is like. How we do this is driven by our vision of the kind of person we want to be and the kind of person we want to avoid becoming.

Our identity and affinity with social groups influences our perceptions and behaviors. We cherry pick data to protect our identity and our perceived value to others. Our need to fit in with affinity groups colors our perceptions of scientific evidence, regardless of our level of literacy with the topic. To motivate change, marketers must initially fit their outreach and asks to the target’s existing world view. Connection always precedes conversion.

The FEP Meter: the FEP Meter measures influence
Fun
Maximizing good results; minimizing the bad.
Determinants

People seek rewards and avoid problems. The sooner and surer the perceived reward, the more powerful the pull. Losses loom larger than gains (a concept known as loss aversion), but the certainty of the outcome is key. In fact, people undervalue highly probable outcomes relative to certain outcomes (certainty effect). The key word here is perceived — it’s what people expect to happen that matters. 

At the heart of marketing is the theory of an exchange – if I do this, I’ll get that in return. What people expect to get in return for acting are the things we call perceived consequences.

High risks may deter us. But the influence of risk is hampered by optimism bias and the complexity of grasping probability. It is also a very crowded messaging category: In a blizzard of warnings, each individual caution is easily lost or dismissed. Risk is most powerful when the threat is highly probable, imminent, personal and easily addressed. Otherwise, other determinants are much more likely to play a larger role in influencing behavior.

How you feel can overpower what you know. We often take action based on how we feel or in anticipation of how we might feel if we act. We seek various shades of joy and acceptance, and are triggered by feelings like anger, fear, anticipation and surprise. Just associating a product or behavior with an emotion can have a powerful effect as emotions can act as both motivators and triggers.

The FEP Meter: the FEP Meter measures influence
Easy
Removing or reducing barriers to action.
Determinants

Some actions require know-how or skill. Sometimes mere knowledge can trigger the intent to act, but only when the information is new and adds the necessary understanding, efficacy or inspiration people need to act.

Confidence in one’s ability to do something, which may or may not be strongly rooted in actual skill, is often a precursor to action — a missing link especially for more challenging behaviors or more timid actors.

Behaviors are often chosen intuitively, without reflection, using instinct and mental shortcuts to lighten the cognitive load. We call those shortcuts “heuristics.” The results are predictable biases that can be used to influence behavior.

People like to be in control. Feeling control over a decision empowers action by providing confidence that we can make an impact. Choice helps: It gives one the sense of more control.

The perceived cost of an action — in money, time, social capital or even cognitive load — may lead to action or  inaction depending on the situation. To achieve a sense of accomplishment, we often tend to finish things we’ve already invested time and energy in; on the other hand, people gravitate to what requires less of them.

Behaviors are influenced by their context. People favor what’s accessible, noticeable, supported or triggered by environmental cues.

The FEP Meter: the FEP Meter measures influence
Popular
Make the behavior right for who we are.
Determinants

As social beings, we can’t help but look to our peers. We are influenced by what we think others do, and by what we think they expect of us – in a word, norms. Norms can be embedded in cultures as traditions or emerge quickly as trends. While often not explicitly acknowledged or even consciously recognized by the people involved, norms are among the most powerful influences marketing can harness.

The standards we set for ourselves, driven by aspirations, fears and self-image, impact our behavior as we signal who we aspire to be. 

Ought self
What I should be

Ideal self
What I want to be

Forbidden self
What I am not allowed to be

Undesired self
What I want to avoid being

We are always creating our “self” and signaling to others what that self is like. How we do this is driven by our vision of the kind of person we want to be and the kind of person we want to avoid becoming.

Our identity and affinity with social groups influences our perceptions and behaviors. We cherry pick data to protect our identity and our perceived value to others. Our need to fit in with affinity groups colors our perceptions of scientific evidence, regardless of our level of literacy with the topic. To motivate change, marketers must initially fit their outreach and asks to the target’s existing world view. Connection always precedes conversion.

The FEP Meter: the FEP Meter measures influence