In response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more cooperative than predicted. And similarly, in response to hostile actions, they’re frequently much more nasty and even brutal.

Classic example of Reciprocity...


Shoemakers, TOMS, are known for their One for One initiative. Launching in 2011, it began with the brand donating a pair of their shoes to people in need every time a pair was bought. So, customers knew that buying from the brand meant TOMS would give something much more meaningful back.

It was so successful that they expanded the initiative. Every time a pair of their sunglasses is bought, the brand help to restore someone’s sight with surgery, prescription glasses or medicine. And their coffee purchases also support water systems, as well as providing training for skilled birth attendants and materials for safe births with every bag purchase.

TOMS' One for One initiative, Reciprocity
TOMS' One for One initiative

Who's using it now?


Spotify provides a 30-day free trial for their Premium membership, which can be cancelled at any time at no cost. This makes it hard for people to stop the payment when the free trial ends, especially when it only costs £9.99/month. Plus, once the free trial is integrated into daily life, there is a feeling of loss without the service when the trial period ends.

Spotify Premium free trial, Reciprocity
Spotify Premium free trial ad

Giving something for free


Makeup and perfume brands place free samples in fashion and lifestyle magazines to encourage shoppers to trial their products for free. If a customer’s experience of the free product is positive, the chances of the same product being placed in a shopper’s basket is increased due to feelings of reciprocity.

Handing out advice


With blogs, you’re essentially giving away value for free. The challenge is to focus on being genuinely useful to your audience.

When blogs enable readers to yield results, they’ll feel grateful, and are more likely to reciprocate by providing their email addresses for future blog updates. They become valuable leads or better yet, they feel indebted to you and go on to buy.

What is Behavioural Economics?


Behavioural Economics has been around since the 60s. It blends elements of psychology and economics to identify the mental triggers, or bias, nudges and heuristics, that affect the decisions people make.

This blog series is your go-to guide for a snapshot into what these triggers are, and how they can be used in marketing to influence consumer behaviour. This week it’s the Commitment: Personal Investment bias.

A bit about us


As an agency, influencing behaviours is core to what we do and applying Behavioural Economics to marketing communications is a natural progression. If you are interested in understanding more about how we do this get in touch now.

Find out more about the connection between consumers and behavioural economics in our latest report on the top trends driving consumer behaviour. Download it here.

By Melissa McPhillips

Copywriter