In 1965, Singapore was faced with many socio-economic problems. In order to thrive, the Prime Minister knew things had to change.
Numerous campaigns were established to improve the cleanliness and hygiene of the city and create a culture whereby education and family planning became a central focus.
It paid off - the economy in Singapore is now one of the most innovative and business friendly in the world. But now, the strategy is changing - moving towards a more nuanced approach of changing and influencing the behaviours of its citizens. Enter 'Nudge' theory.
We've read quite a lot about Nudge in past five years, with many governments across the world introducing nudges to encourage people to make "better choices". While some may argue that this strategy to influence our decisions through carefully designed choice architecture has a dark side, people in the US and Europe are actually quite accepting of the 'nudging' as long as it fits in with their values and interests.
Nudge theory can be a powerful thing - it changed how an entire city and its population functions. So, how can this power of persuasion be used in our campaigns?
More often than not, the objective in our communications strategies centres on a call to action - we want our target audiences to do or think something as a result of the messages we push out. Nudge theory, and choice architecture, can therefore form an important part of our comms toolkit that brands can use to nudge their strategies in the right direction. By fully understanding the values and interests of our target audience, and by making the call to action the 'default choice', brands can start to in nudge people to take action.
So do people like being nudged? Is there any cultural difference in the way people react to being swayed toward a ‘better’ choice or behaviour? Given the breadth of the international use of behavioural insights, there is relatively little research done into whether people are happy about it. What research is available from Europe and the United States suggests that people are largely approving as long as it fits in with their values and interests.