How to Shape Human Behavior 2nd Edition – Book Preface

Thanks to Olivier Massanella for helping with the print cover of this 2nd edition (paperback available on Amazon), and a very special thank you to the professionals who took the time to answer my questions for this 2nd Edition of How to Shape Human Behavior as well as those who didn’t make this edition but will appear in future versions.


How To Shape Human Behavior 2nd Edition for Advertisers was published in 2014.

Originally, I set out to answer the question ‘How can startups create their own advertising campaigns on a budget?’ I envisioned a manual that outlined step-by-step the creative process professional advertising agencies use to create advertising campaigns. All my early research centered around answering this question.

However the more I researched, the more I realized that I was asking the wrong question; I was merely scratching the surface of a deeper, more important question. And so I felt compelled to deepen the focus of my research.

Humans prefer consistency and predictability. It’s evident in the products they repeatedly buy, the books they typically read, the beliefs they unquestionably defend. It shows in their logic and reasoning. In the short-term consistency and predictability make society run more smoothly. They make life easier and decisions safer. In fact, there are over a hundred other heuristics and cognitive biases that shape the way humans behave and make decisions.  How To Shape Human Behavior 2nd Edition for Advertisers addresses each and every one of those biases from an entrepreneur’s perspective.

Why? Because successful entrepreneurs don’t sell products and services; successful entrepreneurs shape human behavior. And for entrepreneurs, shaping human behavior begins from inside the consumer’s mind. The more intimately you understand the mechanisms and complexities of human behavior, the more control you have over the future of your business decisions. In the hands of an entrepreneur, applicable knowledge of the human mind is priceless.

Whether you’re a new startup creating your branding strategy or an established business looking to add a fresh new perspective to your brand, How To Shape Human Behavior 2nd Edition for Advertisers takes you step-by-step through every phase of shaping human behavior needed to build a successful, consumer-centered business.

An important note. How To Shape Human Behavior 2nd Edition for Advertisers is intentionally written as a guide to building a successful business through understanding and using human cognitive weakness that shape human behavior. There will no doubt be times when the offensive and defensive strategies and techniques outlined herein will make you feel uncomfortable or go against what you consider to be ethical behavior. Humans don’t like the idea that they are being ‘manipulated’ into making decisions and giving their money to brands for any reason other than their own free will. But just because you may consider using this knowledge is unethical doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, and it doesn’t mean that other entrepreneurs aren’t currently using them to their advantage. It is critical for you to be able to distinguish between manipulation and persuasion. More importantly, it is crucial that your consumers correctly distinguish manipulation and persuasion when it comes to evaluating your brand and integrity.

The research in this book is based on academic research and interviews and discussions with professional marketers and executives. Careful attention has been made to accurately cite every reference used. All references are denoted in superscript so you can both verify the research as well as conduct your own.

Another important note. Before implementing any of the advice outlined herein, always consider how your message will be perceived by your target consumer demographic as well as the short- and long-term positive and negative implications your actions will have on your brand image. Most importantly, never do anything that would cause consumers to feel like you’ve tricked them.

Joshua Smith

How to Shape Human Behavior 2nd Edition – Interview Index

The research in this book is based on academic research and interviews and discussions with professional marketers and executives. Careful attention has been made to accurately cite every reference used. All references are denoted in superscript so you can both verify the research as well as conduct your own:

  1. Rémi Noel, Creative Director for TBWA\Paris
  2. Dominic Dangerfield, Co-Director of Speechmark
  3. Céline LePrince, Digital Producer for Ogilvy
  4. Sabine Lenglet, Associate Director for TBWA
  5. Jean-Baptiste Daudet, Data Consultant for Ogilvy
  6. Ignacio Rodriguez, International Account Manager for TBWA
  7. Thomas Palugan, Data Consultant for Ogilvy
  8. Aurélie Chalaye, Account Manager for Ogilvy
  9. Hervé Thevenard, Financial Controller for Ogilvy
  10. Laurence Maas, International Coordinator for Y&R
  11. Sidavy Chau, Financial Controller for Grey
  12. Martine Meyer, Print Producer for TBWA
  13. Muriel Benitah, Account Director for Ogilvy
  14. Anne Cerutti, Account Manager for Ogilvy
  15. Siegrid Bourgois, Brand Division Leader for TBWA
  16. Derek Banas, Owner of New Think Tank
  17. Eric Holden, Executive Creative Director for TBWA
  18. Fatiha Sanhaj, Model Booker for Idole Model Management
  19. Sylvie Réveillard, Art Buyer for The Shop
  20. Joshua Waldman of Career Enlightenment
  21. Delphine Guerin, Executive Producer for Irene
  22. Sam Fajner, Regional VP of Client Relations for Teecom
  23. Tenin Coulibaly, Accountant for DDB
  24. Hervé Godard, Owner of Blake Magazine
  25. Daphné Claude, Co-Founder of Citigate Dewe Rogerson
  26. Steven Brinlee, Senior Creative Director for AR NY
  27. Lisa Ward, Senior Account Manager for Iris Worldwide
  28. Adrien Laugher-Werth, Co-Founder of EuroBusiness Media
  29. Heather Huhman, owner of Come Recommended
  30. Roc Chaliand, Editor of Ever Magazine
  31. Gézabelle Hauray, Project Leader for Havas Life Worldwide
  32. Aurélien Pécoul, Digital Consultant for Havas Worldwide
  33. Marie-Charlotte Lafront, Account Director for Being
  34. Pauline Gandaubert, Branding Consultant for Havas
  35. Bérénice Goales, Client Services Director for Wunderman
  36. Ian Swan, Independent Copywriter
  37. Kristel Pecnik, Content Director for Vivaki Performance
  38. Vivien Urtiaga, Digital Art Director for Grey
  39. Isabelle Nancy, Account Manager for JWT
  40. Benjamin Descazal, Data Consultant for KBMG
  41. John Foland, Independent Web Developer
  42. Ivan Pejcic, Strategic Planner for Ogilvy
  43. Matt Marrocco, Lead Industrial Designer for Streng
  44. Rory Sutherland, Exec Creative Dir & Vice-Chairman
  45. Arnaud Marullaz, Art Director for Y&R
  46. Marine Soyez, Art Director for Pixelis
  47. Cédric Quissola, Art Director for Y&R
  48. Akim Zerouali, Art Director for Y&R
  49. Olivier Hubinois, Account Manager for Pixelis
  50. Timoni West, Freelance Product Designer
  51. Gregory Ferembach, Art Director for Y&R
  52. Paul Johanet, Digital Account Executive for Being
  53. Julien Hérisson, Freelance Art Director
  54. Sophie Andresen, Owner and Curator of Neuromaencer
  55. Peter Spear, Brand Listener and Strategist
  56. Karen Rudel, Owner of Sight Seeker’s Delight
  57. Kevin Knight, President of Expatriate Party SAS
  58. Thomas Yve, Art Director for Being
  59. Derek Sivers, Owner of WoodEgg
  60. Emmanuel Lorry, Creative Art Director for CB’a
  61. Léa Stagnaro, Account Manager for CB’a
  62. Eric Auvinet, Copywriter for JWT
  63. Samantha Bilodeau, Data Miner for Ogilvy

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. How does the advertising process work?
  2. I want to hire a professional. How can I tell the good from the bad?
  3. What misconceptions do brands commonly have about marketing?
  4. How can I create my own inspiring creative brief?
  5. I have a small advertising budget, any advice?

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Business Director of Brand Activation and Digital for Cb’a, Damien Sterbecq has 20+ years experience helping brands succeed in product packaging, retail and digital: the three main consumer touch points. (more…)

If you want to produce special work, it’s worth collaborating with special people.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

Having the courage and determination to focus on one subject or area of expertise gives you the solid foundation that is absolutely necessary if you’re to come up with a truly great idea, one that will be key to your future success.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

Too many creative people think they don’t need to specialize, that they can have lots of ideas in lots of different subjects all of which are going to be great.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

It can be easy to settle on something that feels right. Something that seems to make sense of all the confusion.

You’ll feel relief when you get to this point. You’ll think you’ve cracked it. You’ll feel good.

But then you have to take a step back from what feels really good and ask:

But is it great?

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

To create great work you should be making up your own beliefs as you go along, changing them one day to the next, always pushing against the boundaries of current thinking, trying to escape the confines of conventional wisdom.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

In the end, everything is connected and the more connections you make the more interesting your work will become.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

Stay open to new ideas, new places, and new people will feed your creative soul.

Lack of inspiration may be just another way of saying lack of experience.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

Juxtaposition is the art of placing together a number of contrasting objects or ideas, usually two.

Used effectively, it captures our imaginations immediately, making it one of the most valuable techniques any creater can employ to dramatize their message.

And it’s at its most potent when these two objects are as diametrically opposed to each other as possible.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

You can’t be good at everything. The skill is to work with someone who is good at what you are not.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

Don’t confuse innovation with novelty.

You may have successfully designed the latest shiny object for people to get excited about…at least until a new shiny object came out.

And that’s the reason product features are more a novelty than an innovation. They are added in an attempt to differentiate, but not reinvent.

It’s not a bad thing, but it can’t be counted on to add any long-term value.

Novelty can drive sales, but the impact does not last.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Rather than simply stating the facts most advertisers typically embed their message into creative contextual devices that evoke feelings and bypass rational resistance.

This is why advertisers use stories, poems, slogans, songs, jokes, pictures, symbols, characters, roles, and metaphors.

They are particularly ripe marketing tools, because they lead the imagination and evoke the feelings that strike at our heart not our head.

Break things.

All our life we’re told to make things. Breaking things is a process from which you can learn so much more if you decide to learn from somebody else whose done something great and break it and take it apart.

Loss Aversion: we hate losing what we’ve got.

When we copy, we justify it. When others copy, we villify it.

Most of us have no problem with copying – as long as we’re the ones doing it.

Creativity isn’t an objective pursuit. Its value can’t be measured the way other skills can be.

Eventually, of course, its value will be confirmed, but often long after it was created.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

A designer’s best asset is not the ability to be brand specialists, but their instinct to see the interconnectedness of the world in a humanistic way.

Brand Jam by Marc Gobé

Design is about solving problems that humans have, not problems that products have.

Mills Baker. “Designer Duds” (via peterspear)