181 episodes

Consumers are weird. They don't do what they say they will do and don't act how we think they "should." Enter Melina Palmer, a sales conversion expert with a personal mission to make your business more effective and brain friendly. In this podcast, Melina will take the complex concepts of behavioral economics (the study and science of why people buy - or not) and provide simple, actionable tips you can apply right away in your business. Whether you're a small business or thriving corporation, Melina's tips can help your business increase sales and get more customers.

The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics Melina Palmer

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 130 Ratings

Consumers are weird. They don't do what they say they will do and don't act how we think they "should." Enter Melina Palmer, a sales conversion expert with a personal mission to make your business more effective and brain friendly. In this podcast, Melina will take the complex concepts of behavioral economics (the study and science of why people buy - or not) and provide simple, actionable tips you can apply right away in your business. Whether you're a small business or thriving corporation, Melina's tips can help your business increase sales and get more customers.

    The Power of Metaphors for Brands with Olson Zaltman’s Malcolm and Hannibal Brooks

    The Power of Metaphors for Brands with Olson Zaltman’s Malcolm and Hannibal Brooks

    You are familiar with metaphors...you likely learned about them in elementary school. But do you know how important they are in your business? 
    Well, it turns out that metaphors are way more important in understanding the mind of your consumer than you could have possibly imagined. There are two associates from the firm Olson Zaltman here today to share the power of metaphors and how they use them in their Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) process. The ZMET was created by Dr. Gerald Zaltman at the Harvard Business School in the 1990s and is still incredibly relevant for brands today. 
    During the conversation, Malcolm and Hannibal Brooks will share how they have used the ZMET for brands like Harvard, Tropicana, a funeral company, and more. Plus, insights into the 16 deep metaphors they work with at Olson Zaltman and why they matter for all companies who want to appeal to their customers (i.e. everyone!). 
    Show Notes: [00:06] In today’s episode we are digging deep into the power of metaphors with two associates of Olson Zaltman. [02:53] Malcolm and Hannibal share about themselves, their background, and how as twins they ended up in the same field and working together.  [03:44] They both graduated with degrees in food science and went to a master’s program focused on marketing, management, and consumer psychology.  [05:57] At Olson Zaltman, they do research that is focused on understanding the unconscious through metaphor. Their process is focused on using imagery and verbal metaphors to understand emotions.  [06:40] We think in images, not in words; metaphors are our way of describing the world.  [09:28] Metaphors really affect the way we perceive the world around us.  [11:04] Part of what makes these metaphors universal is that a lot of them originate in the experiences we have in life that exist before we can even verbalize.  [12:25] There are 16 deep metaphors that define our experience.  [14:48] Different groups of consumers might have different metaphors or understandings of a product or service.  [15:24] For women, clothing is a form of self-expression and freedom.  For men, clothing is often about a form of control.  [18:12] They share examples of the types of business problems they are solving. [19:42] With ZMET they want to understand with your particular consumers, are they getting something out of your product and your brand? [22:44] Prior to the ZMET process the business only needs to know the problem that they are having.  [25:08] The ZMET process can help answer a lot of questions for businesses.  [25:57] They share their findings from a case study with Harvard. [28:17] Helping to trigger the unity piece can be very valuable (as was the case for Harvard). They have found that there are core principles that they stumble upon time and time again.  [31:12] Deep 1-on-1 guided conversations help them unpack what is the best way for the business to move forward.  [33:20] You want to understand your brand’s core assets and what fits with the mindset people have around it.  [36:19] One of their most fun cases to talk about is the research they did for the Funeral Service Foundation. They found that people would look at their funeral almost as a performance. People don’t want to be remembered in a way that is sad. They want to be remembered for who they were, with a celebration.  [38:57] Their recommendations included creating this online experience that is more fun, including the most fun things about the person and how they want to be remembered. It gets people thinking and talking about their death while they are still alive by making it less scary.  [41:33] Their real work is understanding stories and connecting with people.   [42:23] Melina shares her closing thoughts.  [44:28] Shop at The Brainy Business shop for that perfect brainy gift. Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a revie

    • 47 min
    Unboxing Videos: Why Do They Work?

    Unboxing Videos: Why Do They Work?

    If you’re a human person with any access to the internet, you are likely familiar with unboxing videos. Maybe you like and watch them yourself, maybe your kids love to watch other people open up boxes of toys, or maybe you avoid them at all costs. Whatever camp you are in, at one point or another, you probably thought something like, “Why do so many people watch these?” or “Why do these work?”
    Today’s episode is dedicated to talking through the brain science of what is going on behind the scenes of an unboxing video. In this episode I talk about why they work, what to keep in mind if you ever decide to make your own, and some insights on the various types of “unboxings” out there (anything with a reveal pretty much counts). We will dig in on mirror neurons, anticipation/dopamine, priming, the senses, and more!  Listen now to get the scoop on unboxing videos. 
    Show Notes:
    [00:06] Ever wondered why unboxing videos are a thing? That’s what we’re focusing on in today’s episode. [03:19] There are countless ways to do these unboxing or reveal videos. [04:01] In this episode, I am going to talk about four main things that are happening with unboxing videos, or that you should keep in mind when you create these yourself. We are going to talk about mirror neurons, dopamine created by anticipation, priming, the senses, and more. [04:35] Mirror neurons are the key to empathy and our ability to learn from observing others instead of only by doing things ourselves. [06:20] Mirror neurons greatly impact our lives every day. They have done some amazing things for all of humanity, the first of which is our ability to learn by observation and the second is our ability to empathize. [07:31] In an unboxing video, when someone else is opening the box, it is like we are doing it ourselves. We are able to live vicariously through that experience. Because of the dopamine release, it is very exciting for our brains even if we can’t have and will never have the item that is being opened or revealed. [08:50] Dopamine is tied to anticipation, and so when there is a moment where you aren’t sure what is going to happen -- where you are waiting for that reveal and don’t know what is coming out of the box -- you are getting a kick of dopamine. [10:24] Once you know what is in the box (or how the movie ends), the joy for your brain is over. It is about savoring the anticipation that the brain loves. [10:50] Our brains love that uncertainty and expectation. [11:38] If you want someone to be excited about the unboxing process, you should prime them for that excitement. [13:07] Your excitement breeds more excitement in the viewer. [13:43] If you have too much of a lull, people might get bored and leave. You can play the B-side for a while, but you need to mix in some hits here and there to keep it interesting. [14:15] When you create an unboxing video, it is important to try and incorporate all five of the senses whenever you can to help get those mirror neurons firing. [16:31] Descriptive priming words that evoke the senses are critical when doing any video, and in an unboxing, they can get people excited. [17:54] The internet is full of unboxing videos for a reason, find some and take notes. Be sure to watch good ones, sure, but also find and watch some bad ones. What did they do wrong? When did your attention wane? How can you apply that to your future videos? [18:43] If you have never done an unboxing or reveal video before, what could you do one of? Plan in advance how you might incorporate all our main aspects from this episode: mirror neurons, anticipation, priming, and all five senses...and hit record! [20:33] As it is the holidays, it is a perfect time to pick up some Brainy Gear for you or a friend at The Brainy Business shop.  Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

    • 22 min
    Sludge: What It Is and How to Reduce It, a Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode

    Sludge: What It Is and How to Reduce It, a Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode

    The internationally acclaimed book, Nudge, has shaped a lot of the field of behavioral economics. It has also spurred a whole other area which one of its co-authors, Cass Sunstein, has written a new book about, called Sludge: What Stops Us From Getting Things Done and What To Do About It, which released in fall 2021. 
    Sludge is everywhere in our lives. So what is it and how do we reduce it? This episode of The Brainy Business podcast is dedicated to all things sludge to help you identify and reduce it in your business. In this episode you will learn about: what sludge is and isn’t; a customer facing example of sludge; a back-office example of sludge; how to quantify sludge; and how to get others on your team on board with finding and removing sludge.
    No matter your size or industry, I guarantee sludge is a problem in your business. Find it, remove it, and enjoy the benefits. Listen to learn more about sludge...
    Show Notes:
    [00:06] Today’s behavioral economics foundations episode is all about sludge. [02:23] Context and the way choices are presented make a huge difference in what we find to be most appealing. When the choices are presented in a different order we might choose something else entirely. [03:32] When you use a tactic to influence choice, we call that a nudge. [05:45] “Sludge is built into the human condition, and we need to start to remove it, piece by piece.” [07:02] “Sludge hurts all of us, but if you are sick, old, disabled, or poor, or if you don't have a lot of education, sludge is a curse.” [08:07] Sludge is everywhere in our lives. Melina shares examples of sludge.  [10:34] “If sludge is understood to consist of frictions that separate people from what they want to get, the concept is not entirely mysterious.” [11:16] Much sludge involves confusing administrative burdens requiring people to obtain information, to figure out whom to call, to find out exactly what they're supposed to do. [13:01] Sometimes it is good for people to be confronted with a little sludge to prove they qualify for a benefit or that they care enough to earn whatever is presented, or that they are a good fit for a position. [13:30] In this episode I’m going to give you a back-office example, a customer-facing example, and some ways to think about quantifying the problem of sludge so you can know its real impact [13:50] When it comes to customer-facing examples, I like to start with the “buy now” button from Amazon. [15:12] In the buying process, questions like “Are you sure?” or extra fields or steps can act as partitions. Each new partition is a point where someone will evaluate if this is worth it or if they should bail completely or plan to “come back later.” Unfortunately, later often never comes. [17:09] Removing the sludge so you only ask what is absolutely necessary can help a lot more people get over that first hurdle. Focus on each micro moment as it exists and what is absolutely necessary.  [18:23] You can turn the sludge up or down as needed, but again I want to stress that most companies have way too much sludge in the way of people doing business with you. [19:41] My main piece of advice: find the least amount of items you need to get someone to move forward in this singular situation. [20:21] Melina shares back office examples including expense reports, checking tools in and out, and signing off on a change. [21:55] Melina shares her experience when she first started at the credit union and changes required a physical form to be completed by hand. (So sludgy!) [24:15] In the back office, when you trust your employees, you can reduce the sludge and things get done faster, for a lot less money than if you don’t have trust. Work on trust and get rid of that sludge. [24:47] Because people get stuck in the status quo, they often don’t feel like they can give up sludge. [25:11] Sunstein gives an example of quantifying sludge with TSA Precheck and shares how quickly the value can add u

    • 29 min
    The Power of Us with Dr. Dominic Packer

    The Power of Us with Dr. Dominic Packer

    It’s November – a month where many begin to reflect on the year and (at least here in the states) consider the things we are thankful for. It kicks off the holiday season and we may begin to think about those around us whom we may see in person or virtually this holiday. Because of that, it seemed like the perfect time to discuss The Power of Us, a new book from coauthors Dr. Jay Van Bavel and Dr. Dominic Packer. 
    Today, Dr. Dominic Packer is here to talk about this fantastic book and their years of research together. The insights in the book come together to help people harness their shared identities to improve performance, increase cooperation and promote social harmony. I’m guessing you can see why I chose to have this episode come out now, even though it is a couple of months after we recorded and when the book was officially released. It just seemed like the perfect time to share and help everyone to reflect upon the power of “us.” Listen to the episode now to see how this can be leveraged in your life and business...
    Show Notes: [00:07] In today’s episode I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Dominic Packer, coauthor of The Power of Us. [03:10] Dominic shares about himself and his background. He is a social psychologist and professor.  [06:01] The book is about group identities. The groups we belong to can become part of who we are.  [06:56] When we take on a group identity, we are very likely to be influenced by the norms of that group.  [07:59] There is a second kind of influence which is informational influence. We look to other people to see what is a sensible thing to do. The norms through those groups become a way we express those identities.  [09:36] Dominic shares about the 20 statements task.  [11:22] For many of us, some really key aspects of ourselves come from these groups. They drive a lot of the way we think of the world, the emotions we feel, and the decisions we end up making.  [13:02] During the course of a single day different aspects of a single person’s identity will come in and out of focus. Our behaviors are not exactly the same at different parts of the day when we operate through these different identities. [14:52] One of the fascinating things about identity is that it is flexible, malleable, and adaptive to current circumstances.  [17:08] Group-based divisions might arise by politics, fights over resources, or major political differences.  [18:26] Groups are a tremendously useful tool for human beings. They are fundamental to our survival. Humans have succeeded by getting together.  [21:35] In many corporate situations you have different divisions and units and people confirm identities at that subgroup level. People can get a lot of sense of connection and be very motivated to do well on behalf of their subgroup.  [22:25] Identities are often multi-leveled. If you shift their focus from their lower-level identity to their higher level and especially if you create conditions where they need to work together it can bring them together.  [23:50] You need to create the conditions by which people can see themselves as part of something larger than their immediate sub-group. People need to see that there is an organizational identity.  [25:11] We need to incentivize collective identity instead of individual identities. Setting universal goals can also help.  [28:07] “Dissent is quite hard and people only do it because they care deeply about a group.”  [29:59] Both the people who are the most likely to conform to group norms most of the time are also the most likely to dissent when they see something as problematic or needing change in their group. This is because they care a lot.  [30:50] To speak out is to take a risk and to take that risk is that you need to have some level of identification and care about the group. [32:24] You do want a culture where the people that are strongly identified with the group do feel like they can speak up when they see somethi

    • 49 min
    How to Successfully Pitch Your Business Using Behavioral Economics

    How to Successfully Pitch Your Business Using Behavioral Economics

    A company's success nowadays is so reliant upon pitching and getting media coverage. Having a credible source say positive things about you and your company can be pivotal when it comes to whether your brand is going to be seen or not.
    That is exactly why this episode of The Brainy Business is dedicated to giving you some concise tips on how to use behavioral economics to pitch your brand. I know pitching yourself can feel awkward, but when you understand the brain science it doesn't have to be, especially if you follow my tips!
    I discuss different brain biases such as social proof, authority bias, familiarity bias, and really focus on availability bias. Availability bias is critical to pitching success. You can take advantage of it by predicting and paying attention to trends and finding a way to offer people a fresh perspective on them.
    We close with three key points to keep in mind when pitching: (1) keep it short (2) be happy with your language and (3) follow directions. This and so much more in this episode, which will help you use behavioral economics to successfully pitch yourself and your business, so listen now...
    Show Notes:
    [00:06] In today’s episode, I talk about using brain science to successfully pitch to media. [02:22] Pitching yourself can be awkward and uncomfortable, and there are brain biases that can explain why that is. Understanding them can help you turn them around and use them to your advantage. [05:05] There is good news – pitching doesn't have to be so hard if you use my tips! [07:20] I explain why media coverage and pitching are so important, beginning with social proof. [08:43] Authority bias leads us to believing that anything that the news or media reports is true or else it wouldn't be featured. [09:32] Familiarity bias makes us lean toward things that we already know or know of. [10:26] The final (and I would argue, most important) brain bias that is to your benefit when pitching is availability bias. [12:48] One of my favorite examples of availability bias is how travel to Norway drastically increased following the release of Disney's movie Frozen! [14:20] In order to take advantage of availability bias, you need to predict trends and offer something unique in relation to them. [16:30] Pitching to reporters can be stressful, but remember that reporters are people doing a job. You can be a resource to them they are thankful for if you connect with them properly. [19:06] A simple and easy habit you can create to make you a master at pitching by taking advantage of availability bias. [21:55] Recognize where you fit and where you can fill in gaps. [24:23] Remember to take advantage of familiarity bias! Get people to know who you are and like you before you ask for anything [25:41] I recommend signing up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out). [27:10] It's important to remember that not all of your pitches will land, but that only makes it that much more rewarding when they do. [27:43] I give you some key tips to keep in mind: (1) keep your pitch short and sweet, (2) be sure that you're satisfied with how your pitch is worded, and (3) follow directions that reporters put into their requests and do what they ask. [29:30] A quick and simple summary of all the tips in the episode. [31:03] Registration is now open for my Setting Brainy Goals course!
    Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show.
    I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation. Let’s connect:
    Melina@TheBrainyBusiness.com The Brainy Business® on Facebook The Brainy Business on Twit

    • 33 min
    Reframing Annoying Disruptions to Support Innovation, with Adam Hansen, coauthor of Outsmart Your Instincts

    Reframing Annoying Disruptions to Support Innovation, with Adam Hansen, coauthor of Outsmart Your Instincts

    Have you ever had a disruption in your routine – moving to a new house, taking a new route to work – and found yourself exhausted every day? 
    This is common when our habits are upended (the subconscious can’t use its rules anymore so your conscious is having to do a lot more work!). And while it may feel annoying, this is also a great opportunity to innovate and change your life for the better. 
    Today, I’m joined by Adam Hansen, VP of behavioral innovation at Ideas To Go and coauthor of Outsmart Your Instincts who happened to be in the midst of a move, so we talk about how to reframe an annoying disruption in habits to make it work for you. We also discuss the curse of knowledge and how it impacts businesses, risks of omission versus risks of commission, and other fun behavioral goodness sprinkled throughout (including my new favorite term of being an “omnivore of information”). Listen now...
    Show Notes:
    [00:07] In today’s episode, I’m excited to introduce you to Adam Hansen, VP of behavioral innovation at Ideas To Go and coauthor of Outsmart Your Instincts. [03:18] Adam shares about himself and his background. He always knew that innovation would be part of his career.  [05:18] When working on the book, they started looking at all the cognitive biases to figure out which ones were causing most of the mayhem in innovation.  [06:16] If you adopt the behavioral innovation approach, you can see three to four times improvement in performance and quality of ideas very early on in innovation. You can get to better ideas faster.  [09:01] All of the thousands of small decisions we make every day that have been automated are lost when you move. Each little thing is so minor that we don’t realize what the cumulative effect of all those small decisions is.  [10:02] It is important for us to automate everything we can.  [12:19] It is impossible for us to place ourselves fully back in the shoes of our first-time clients. Our version of dumbing things down to meet them where they are is still going to be more advanced than where we need to get to. We can work on this by following up with first-time clients and asking what you could have done better.  [13:46] There is so much more jargon in your business than you think there is. [16:10] Our need for tangibility is much greater than we assume. Most people need help to break down abstraction. The more tangible you can be the better.  [18:13] The curse of knowledge is the idea that once you become knowledgeable in a given area, you can't unknow what you know and you can’t fully place yourself back in the shoes of the subject.  [23:27] Negativity Bias is the idea from our ancestors of thinking of all novelty as threat and not opportunity.  [25:12] Especially in innovation, we need to be as opportunity minded as possible. We need to be aware of threats and take smart action to minimize and mitigate those threats.  [27:43] When we are in moments of threat, to still be able to take swift decisive action is fantastic (and sometimes life-saving!)  [28:29] The research shows that negativity can appear super profound. Too often we are shooting down ideas and not coming up with alternatives. That is not progress.  [30:31] We are predisposed to go toward the negative any time a new idea comes up.  [31:38] The more you can value ideas early on for their provocative value rather than for their immediate merits the better. Then you are in a better frame of mind to take on the negatives.  [33:54] When you approach challenges to problems in this way, there is real value. The language is brilliant, priming to get people to deal with problems and concerns in a much better way.  [35:10] If you are an optimistic person it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a negativity bias and pessimistic people still have optimism bias.  [36:44] Go in understanding that there will be some differences and then the task becomes “How do we get the most out of the differences?” Th

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
130 Ratings

130 Ratings

Roberto Font ,

Beyond Impressed

Well, I have got to say, I am impressed with the work Melina Palmer has done. She is very meticulous in detail with her explanations and I'm seeing the things that she explains on the podcast in my day to day life. That quality of work should not be available for free, but I'm glad she provides it.

KatieMoof ,

Not Only Fascinating, But So Useful

This podcast always gives me surprising new insights.

malfoxley ,

Great show!

Melina, host of the Brainy Business podcast, highlights all aspects of behavioral economics and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

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