#UberInsurance – This is what the future of insurance looks like [download] and more...

#UberInsurance – This is what the future of insurance looks like [download]


Today, we’ve been speaking at the Accenture-sponsored FinTech Innovation and Disruption 2016 in London, presenting a disruptive UberInsurance concept based on the Uber model. You can checkout the presentation below (and download it here)- but here are the key points

  1. Insurance is ripe for disruption, and investors know it – $650M investment in #InsurTech in Q1 2016 alone
  2. But the InsurTech scene is complicated – just check out the Periodic Table of InsurTech – so many shiny new startups, and most will fail.  Where should we invest?
  3. Follow the money – if you take a look at where the money is going – so called ‘Unicorns’ (startups valued at $1Bn) they are investing in #ConvenienceTech and #EgoTech – tech that saves us time and effort and panders to our fragile ego. #ConvenienceTech + #EgoTech = Unicorn DNA
  4. Uber is a combination #ConvenienceTech (tap for automagic service) and #EgoTech (puts you at the centre of the world – all those car icons running around the screen are your slaves…)
  5. Applied to insurance, the UberInsurance is about more than insurance for gig economy; it’s about easy on-demand personalised insurance that uses realtime robo-broking to ensure you’re always getting the best deal and the best coverage, when you need it. In other words it’s #ConvenienceTech + #EgoTech
  6. Think of UberInsurance as the on-demand service from trōv/sure/cover/fitsense combined with the robo-broking (personal digital concierge) of insurify’s evia / knip / brolly.  Like Uber, UberInsurance is all about owning the relationship but not the costs (smart intermediation), whilst combining #ConvenienceTech (tap for automagic service) with #EgoTech.


The 10 Advertising Strategies That Work [The Advertising Effect – Speed Summary]


If you’re in advertising, then The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behaviour is probably one of the best books you can read on your craft right now.  Basically, it’s Nudge for advertisers. Outlining ten evidence-based effective advertising strategies, each with a scientific underpinning, Adam Ferrier (psychologist and founder of Naked) is up there with fellow Antipodean Byron Sharp in terms of must-reads for marketers.

Ferrier is a fan of ‘Action Advertising’ – influencing people by influencing actions rather than perceptions. Drawing on the evidence that advertising is notoriously poor at direct persuasion, Ferrier outlines 10 ways to influence actions instead.  The underlying logic is that the easiest way to persuade someone is to allow them to persuade themselves – and this will happen quite naturally if you prompt (nudge, spur) people to act in a way consistent with a desired behaviour. Why? Because we tend to align our perceptions with our actions to avoid the mental discomfort of cognitive dissonance. In other words, if you influence action, you influence perception.

Moreover, because perception-change is only a means to an end, the end being behaviour-change (buy, buy more, buy for more) – Action Advertising orientates advertising to what really matters, actioning behaviour change. For Ferrier, advertising is and must be about behaviour change; ultimately if no behaviour is changed as a result of advertising, advertising is valueless.

Action Advertising Framework

At the core of The Advertising Effect is the action advertising framework that plots motivation to perform a behaviour against ease of performing that behaviour. The more motivated and easier to perform the behaviour, the higher the behavioural propensity. So to influence behaviour you need to influence behavioural motivation and behavioural ease.

Motivation Drivers

  • Individual Incentives: What’s in it for them? Will they be rewarded and to what extent?
  • Social Norms: What will others think of them if they undertake that behaviour?

(Motivation Ad Strategies = ‘Utility’, ‘Modelling’, ‘Reframing’, ‘Evocation’, ‘Ownership’, ‘Collectivism’, ‘Play’ – Examples + explanations below)

Ease Drivers

  • Ability: Do they have the resources, competency and skills to do the behaviour?
  • Opportunity: Does the environment allow the behaviour to happen?

(Ease Ad Strategies = ‘Skill-up’, ‘Eliminate Complexity’, and ‘Commitment’ – Examples + explanations below)

Action Advertising Behavioural Framework

This is a fabulously simple clear framework for thinking about and doing advertising, based on sound psychology (motivation, ability and opportunity are indeed the core components of behavioural intention).  And Ferrier subsumes this framework in an equally simple nonsense-free four step model to effective advertising

  1. Clearly define your business goal
  2. Identify the specific behaviour change required to achieve goal
  3. Select one of ten behavioural strategies (‘action spurs’) that will facilitate this behaviour change
  4. Develop a creative idea based on the selected ‘action spur’

Action Advertising Process

Motivation Strategies

  • ‘Utility’ Strategy: Advertising as a service – advertising that adds value by helping people achieve their goals (value = ability to meet my goal/cost (money, time, effort). e.g. Tesco HomePlus


  • ‘Modelling’ Strategy: Using aspirational high-profile personalities – celebrities and experts – to inspire or inform behaviour. e.g. George Clooney Nespresso campaign


  • ‘Reframing’ Strategy: Ads that reframe a target behaviour a positive light, by tapping into pre-existing assumptions and behaviour. e.g. Reframing carrots as junk food


  • ‘Evocation’ Strategy: Ads that stir powerful emotions to motivate behaviour. e.g.Google’s ‘Dear Sophie’ campaign for Chrome


  • ‘Ownership’ Strategy: Inviting the audience to be part of the campaign, so they own it as their own (endowment effect) e.g. Share a Coke campaign

  • ‘Collectivism’  Strategy: Reinforcing or creating social norms of appropriate and desirable behaviour. Dove Campaign For Real Beauty Evolution Sketches


  • ‘Play’ Strategy: Making the desired behaviour enjoyable by embracing the principles of structured play or gamification. e.g. Speed camera lottery campaign


Ease Ad Strategies

  • ‘Skill-up’ Strategy – ads that show someone either how to do a target behaviour, or how to do it more easily. e.g. Amazon’s Echo campaign


  • ‘Eliminate-Complexity’ Strategy – ads that remove or reduce barriers – real, imaginary or anticipated – to undertaking a target behaviour, making it as effortless as possible. e.g. Westpac’s Impulse Saver Campaign 


  • ‘Commitment’ Strategy – ads that invite an initial small action that is consistent with the target behaviour. e.g. Transport Accident Commission SpeedKills campaign 




The ten Action Advertising strategies in The Advertising Effect are not exhaustive, but they provide advertisers with a broad range of options within an elegant framework. And whilst the no-nonsense style makes Ferrier’s model appear uncontroversial, it succeeds in overcoming two pervasive problems in ad land.

First, Ferrier’s model is business-led rather than idea-led in an industry where the tyranny of the creative director still rules. Ferrier’s model flips the agency hierarchy on its head, the creative director is subservient to the business goal and selected strategy.

Secondly, because Ferrier’s model is behaviour-led rather than idea-led, it flips the AIDA awareness-interest-decision-action model of advertising on it’s head. Rather than using ideas to influence minds by generating interest and persuading, Ferrier’s model is about influencing behaviour by making decisions easier – through framing choices in a favourable way and nudging people’s action towards desired behaviours.

In other words, The Advertising Effect is Nudge for advertisers.



Transparent Behavioural Targeting Boosts Ad Effectiveness by 17% [Study]


A simple caption can boost advertising effectiveness by 17% as measured by effect on purchase intention.

New Ohio State University research published last week in the Journal of Consumer Research (open pre-publication access) by Christopher Summers and colleagues reports that captioning an ad with the words that the ad “targeted specifically to you based on your online activity” boosted ad effectiveness compared to the same ad revealing no information about targeting.  There are provisos – the effectiveness boosting effect appears to hold only when the ad actually is behaviourally targeted and perceived by the audience to be accurately so.

I am not a target market, I’m me

Interestingly, the study – picked up by the Harvard Business Review – found that same ad captioned with the words “targeted specifically to you based on your demographic information” had no significant effect on ad effectiveness. It would seem that targeting transparency for behavioural advertising boosts ad effectiveness, but not for demographic targeting.

  • “” [no targeting transparency] => purchase intention 3.56 (Control Baseline 0%)
  • “targeted specifically to you based on your online activity” => purchase intention 4.18  (+17%)
  • “targeted specifically to you based on your demographic information” => purchase intention 3.39 (-5% ns)


Why might targeting transparency boost behavioural ad effectiveness? The basic psychology of priming could account for this. Reminding people of their past behaviour can increase the mental salience (AKA ‘prime’) of associated behaviours , making these associated behaviours and responses more likely.  This behavioural ‘identity priming’ – highlighting aspects of an individual’s behavioural identity – might explain why targeting transparency enhances behavioural advertising effectiveness.

However the authors offer an alternative explanation; they suggest that the bump in ad effectiveness may be due to the effects of ‘social labelling’ – when audiences believe they are being behaviourally targeted (accurately) as individuals (not stereotypes), they perceive marketers as labelling them (accurately), and may adjust their self-perceptions to better match these accurate (and desirable) social labels. This might explain the differences between the effectiveness of targeting transparency for behavioural ads and the non-effectiveness of targeting transparency for ‘demographic targeting’; its the difference between ‘we believe you’re this stereotype’ (profile/group/persona/market) and ‘we believe you’re you‘.

Whatever the reason, (I personally remain more convinced of the ‘priming’ explanation), when it comes to behavioural targeting, transparency and honesty may be the best policy.

Summers, C. A., Smith, R. W., & Reczek, R. W. (2016). An Audience of One: Behaviorally Targeted Ads as Implied Social LabelsJournal of Consumer Research.


10 Positive Design Interventions to Boost Customer Happiness


Here are 10 simple design interventions to promote customer happiness. They are based on a mashup of design-thinking and positive psychology (the science and practice of improving happiness and wellbeing) and inspired by the fabulous work of Pieter Desmet and colleagues at the Delft Institute of Positive Design.   We call this mashup POSITIVE DESIGN, and we believe ‘positive design’ – designing for human happiness and wellbeing – represents the future of design-thinking.

Each of the ‘design interventions’ (design exercises) is based on a specific ‘positive psychology intervention’ that is used to improve human happiness and wellbeing.  The mashup isn’t perfect, so experiment with what works for you.  But if you believe, as we do, that experience design should be put to the service of happiness – then it’ll be a good place to start.

  1. ACTIVATE AUTONOMY – How might we design this experience to offer people an enhanced sense of freedom, control or choice?
    • WHY? The ‘ARC of Happiness’ describes our three core psychological needs for subjective wellbeing – Autonomy, Relatedness and Competence. The universal need for autonomy is about self-determination, experiencing freedom and feeling in control
 RELATEDNESS – How might we design an experience to help people feel that they are genuinely cared for, or that they truly matter to others?
    • WHY? The ‘ARC of Happiness’ describes our three core psychological needs for subjective wellbeing – Autonomy, Relatedness and Competence. The universal need for relatedness is about feeling cared for by others and that we matter to them
  3. CULTIVATE COMPETENCE – How might we design an experience to help people feel a sense of competence through achievement, success or mastery?
    • WHY? The ‘ARC of Happiness’ describes our three core psychological needs for subjective wellbeing – Autonomy, Relatedness and Competence. Our need for competence is about experiencing achievement, mastery and self-efficacy
  4. 3GT – Three Good Things. Experiences have consequences. Think of three positive outcomes or consequences of an experience. How might we redesign the experience to make these positive outcomes more likely?
    • WHY? 3GT is simple and clinically validated way to feel happier. Each night before you go to sleep, think of three good things that happened that day, and ask yourself why they happened. This focuses the mind on positive outcomes and why they happened. Positive design, like positive psychology can focus on positive outcomes and seek to make these outcomes more likely
  5. GRATITUDE LETTER – Experience a product or service first-hand for yourself. Now write a short thank you note to the designer of the experience, explaining why you’re grateful (even if you’re not).
    • WHY? Writing a short letter of gratitude focuses the mind and memory of the positive aspects of an experience, and has been found to fuel happiness. Even when the experience is negative, finding some positive outcome or consequence can build resilience which can boost happiness
  6. CHUFF CHART – Ask people to rate how happy they are with an experience on scale of 0-10. Now ask them what’s the one change that could be made to the experience that would most improve their rating?
    • WHY? There are many ways to measure happiness, but the Single Item Happiness Scale (SIHS) uses just one simple question to get a reliable and valid reading: On a scale of 0 to 10, how happy are you feeling in general?’ And simple follow up question will help you explore what could make people happy
  7. SMILE SAFARI – Observe people experiencing a product or service in situ, and note down moments when they smile or laugh.
    • A natural smile is the universal giveaway that people are happy, a visible sign of a positive inner state. More so when it’s a full ‘Duchenne smile’ that crinkles the skin around the eyes. Smiling people are happier people, and they even live longer. By focusing design thinking on smile moments, you’ll be focusing on what makes people happy
  8. SENSORY STIMULATION – Experience the best of what’s available now for yourself. Focus on the sensory dimensions of the experience; what does it feel like literally and metaphorically to touch, to see, to hear, smell, or even taste? How could you redesign the sensory experience to be more pleasurable?
    • WHY – Our five senses are the purveyors of pleasure through the experience of sensations and how they are perceived. Pleasure contributes to happiness and lies at the apex of the ‘user needs pyramid’, above usability, functionality and safety
  9. PARTICIPANT OBSERVER – Forget traditional observation, jump in and completely immerse yourself in the experience as an active participant yourself. Observe yourself and your emotions in context with the experience itself, with others sharing the experience. Only then will you truly experience what it feels like to be the person for whom your are designing
    • WHY – Participant observation is the gold-standard in design ethnography because it allows us to feel what it is like to be the person for whom we are designing and see the world from their perspective. When we feel what the other is feeling, we are better placed to design with their happiness in mind
  10. EMPATHY MAP – Ask people how they really feel about an experience; what do they love, what do they hate, and what are their hopes and fears before, during and after
    • Empathy maps are a popular design-thinking tool that help us identify with how people feel about an experience so that we can make it better. Many versions exist, but focusing on powerful motivating emotions – loves, hates, hopes and fears, can help us design for happiness




A Triptych of Digital Opportunity – ConvenienceTech, EgoTech and ViceTech


So #ViceTech is now a thing. Great TechCrunch news article just out on technology put to the service of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.  Think hook-up apps like Tinder, on-demand marijuana delivery, or the myriad of music apps. And, of course, all reported by Vice media.

With #ViceTech, we have a powerful triptych of digital opportunity. Readers of DiT will know that along with the role of positive psychology in experience design, my conclusion about the big opportunity in digital right now is that it lies in the intersection of #ConvenienceTech and #EgoTech, tech designed to save us time and effort combined with tech that flatters our fragile egos.  Think Uber – tap screen, get service, putting you at the centre of your world.

But now with #ViceTech do we have a digital sweet spot? The not-so-holy trinity of digital opportunity.

  • #ViceTech – tech that plays to human vice – start your next innovation session with the seven deadly sins –  pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath or sloth
  • #ConvenienceTech – tech that saves us time and effort, delivering instant gratification for our impatient world
  • #EgoTech – with an epidemic of narcissism spreading since the introduction of smartphones (test yourself Narcissistic Personality Disorder here), tech that flatters our egos with self-aggrandisement and plays to self-entitlement

digital sweet spot






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