5 Takeaways from Behavior Design Bootcamp

by Staff Written

April 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm

OMA Media Director Patrick Murphy recently had the privilege of attending an exclusive two-day Behavior Design Bootcamp at home of BJ Fogg, the founder of Behavior Design. We interviewed him to find out what his experience was like, and what made the biggest impact on him:

Over two days, I learned more than 20 models and methods for conducting more effective ideation sessions, building consensus and assessing why behaviors might not be happening. It would take way more than one blog post to share with you everything that I learned. Instead of overwhelming you, I decided to start by sharing my top five takeaways.

customer behavior1. Know who your customers aren’t just as much as you know who they are

We often spend too much energy, time, resources and effort to “win” new customers, rather than looking at loyal customers and understanding why they stay. It’s much easier to design for those who want to be your customers but may just need help with the initial engagement. By learning from the most loyal customers and making it easier for potential new customers to engage, you will win faster.

 2. Motivation is fleeting and inconsistent.

One of the three core factors in behavior is motivation, and it’s arguably the most difficult to affect. Most marketers focus their efforts on motivating customers to buy instead of finding ways to make it easier for them to buy. The companies that are having the most success are those who have honed in on this insight. Take Amazon vs. the fledgling Sears department stores. Amazon has made it so much simpler to shop by curating products you might like based on other purchases, saving your recently viewed items or shopping cart, and even reminding you to buy. Sears, on the other hand, hasn’t adapted; they are relying on an old model of in-store purchase to drive their business, and their online e-commerce experience is less than optimal.

organize behavior3. Prioritize activities to reach the objectives.

While it may sound simple, this can be the biggest challenge for organizations to tackle. I have been through many annual planning meetings where there are so many tasks assigned to reach the objective, but no one takes time to filter and prioritize based on how realistic or impactful those activities will be.

Before you sink a bunch of time and resources into developing work plans around tasks, make sure you’re focusing on the ones that are worth doing first.

4. We are no different than the animal kingdom in terms of starting good habits.

As people, we tend to think we are above the basic psyche of an animal. For example, training a dog to do tricks usually happens when we reinforce the right behavior with positive, immediate praise or reward. The same idea can be used in reinforcing the kind of behavior you want to see in your own team. When someone does a great job on a presentation, take time right after to thank them, tell them what a great job they have done, and maybe perhaps it will be easier to coax that same level of work out of them the next time they are on the project. Oh, and I am not above giving cookies as a sign of a good job.

5. Success leads to success.

When thinking of how to create true behavior change, you can take steps to chain behaviors together to turn it into more of a stepped approach than a big leap. For example, if a personal trainer wants to help a client reach a goal of losing 100 pounds, rather than start with a very hard and intense exercise homework regimen, maybe the trainer first recommends that the client takes the stairs once per day for the next five days. Once the client completes it, they feel good about experiencing a small, quick success and are more likely to take on a more difficult exercise the next week, and so on and so on.


All of these learnings might seem simple and perhaps even common sense, but when putting all of these models and methods together, you can more effectively design for real lasting change. I’m excited to put these into practice for my clients and share the results.

April 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Staff Written