Don't tell me what to do

Don’t tell me what to do – how to make changes without changing

Posted on 12th February 2014 by Alex Heys

Getting people to change their behaviour is difficult.

Try telling a loved one they might want to drive a little further away from the car in front, see how you get on.

The point is that no-one really likes being told what to do and no-one really wants to do things differently, even when the benefits seems obvious. That’s why public health campaigns can be ineffective, or why you still see people driving along and texting.

So, nudge theory becomes popular, with governments and marketers, whereby decisions that we make are influenced by indirect suggestions rather than by straightforward instruction. If we drop a few cleverly crafted hints, don’t force anyone’s hand, but merely nudge them in the right direction, they’ll be more likely to make the decision we want (the theory goes).

Take energy use. According to research, telling people point blank to use less energy because it will save them money and save the planet isn’t as effective as telling them that their neighbours use less energy than they do. The second scenario provides a consumer with a positive example of the kind of change required. Wanting to emulate that behaviour, an undirected choice the consumer makes, seems to be a stronger stimulus to bring about the change.

Of course, the easiest way to solve a problem that human behaviour causes is to create a solution to the problem that doesn’t require behavioural change. That’s why we designed the Flow boiler.

By generating low carbon electricity as it uses gas to heat a home, the Flow boiler reduces customer energy bills and household emissions. Our unique customer offer, where the Flow boiler comes with no cost except for installation, allows the Flow boiler to be taken by as many customers as possible. Deploying the Flow boiler at volume across the population means that, for the first time, micro-generation is within the reach of most people – meaning lower bills and lower emissions. And these significant benefits come, crucially, without the requirement for behavioural change. Once the boiler is installed, the customer doesn’t have to do anything differently. The Flow boiler works its magic all on its own.

So we’re not asking people to make change, we’re effecting real change for them, allowing them to easily be part of the solution to their own problems (rising bills) and the world’s (rising carbon emissions). It’s another way in which Flow is a very different kind of company.

Register your interest in the Flow boiler at:

Alex Heys Author: Alex Heys Google+
Head of Marketing and Communications at Flow: A true believer in the power of words and the importance of the experience.


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