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The Business of Choice


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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Part I The Business, Science, and Nature of Choice 1
Chapter 1 The Business of Choice 2
Chapter 2 The Ever-Advancing Science of Choice 10
Chapter 3 The Natural History of Choice 22

Part II Getting Practical Today 33
Chapter 4 Shortcuts Versus Analysis-Ignoring Is Decisional Bliss 34
Chapter 5 Getting Familiar 41
Chapter 6 Thanks for Sharing (Whether You Meant to or Not) 53
Chapter 7 Now, and the Future-Different Places with Different Rules 68
Chapter 8 Loss and Ownership 79
Chapter 9 Make People Feel Smart, Attractive-or Even Lucky... 95
Chapter 10 Make It Easy-For the Mind and the Body 105
Chapter 11 Never Be Above Comparison 121
Chapter 12 If Content Is King, Context Is Queen 135
Chapter 13 Same and Different; Nature and Nurture 154
Chapter 14 The Power of Affirmation 172

Part III Looking Forward 179
Chapter 15 Think Differently about Market Research 180
Chapter 16 Think Differently about How You Work 197

Conclusion 208
Appendix Reading List and Resources 210
Index 213

Promotional Information

Whether your objective is to grow a brand or promote healthy behaviors, you need a deep understanding of how humans intuitively make choices using cognitive mechanisms that have evolved over millions of years. Marketing is about influencing consumers' decisions, and the more you understand about human nature, the more successful you'll be. Fortunately, dramatic recent advances in neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and the behavioral and social sciences are revolutionizing the way we understand human decision-making. The Business of Choice doesn't just reveal what's been learned: it shows how to use these insights to make your brand or behavior the most instinctive, intuitive, and easiest choice.

Authored by Matthew Willcox, founder and executive director of Draft FCB's pioneering Institute of Decision Making, The Business of Choice shows you:

  • How choice has shaped the human species, leading to choices that often seem strange and irrational
  • How marketers can leverage the same evolutionary factors that have made humans so successful
  • What we copy from others, and what we don't copy: the power and limitations of "social"
  • The huge cognitive biases associated with planning the future and remembering the past
  • How to make decisions easy for consumers: building cognitive fluency, creating reference points, architecting information, and managing choice
  • Convincing customers to feel intuitively good about the choices they've made - so they'll return for more

About the Author

Matthew Willcox is Founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Decision Making, which is part of FCB, a global and fully integrated marketing communications company within the Interpublic Group of Companies, IPG. The Institute of Decision Making is a unique offering, charged with bringing the findings from scientists who study human behavior and how people make choices into the practice of marketing for their clients. Matthew is also Chief Strategy Officer of FCB West. He has more than 25 years of brand strategy experience throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Over that time he has helped organizations such as Levi Strauss and Co., Electronic Arts, Hilton Worldwide, Unilever, Nestle, Shell, GlaxoSmith-Kline, and American Express get their products chosen. In the process, he has helped his clients win eight Effie awards for effective communication. He has acted as a subject matter expert on behavior change for the Food and Drug Administration and is a frequent speaker at business schools and at mareting and communication events, including the Cannes Lions in 2010, 2011, and 2013.

Matthew brings a global perspective to observing behavior. He is based in San Francisco, has worked in both London and Bangkok with Ogilvy & Mather, grew up in Ireland, and is married to an Italian.


"The insights that Matthew brings about how we really make choices are interesting and relevant to anyone working in marketing or selling, but are even more astonishing and invaluable to anyone with the remotest curiosity about the human condition."
-Alan Jope, President, Personal Care, Unilever

"Understanding how it is that human beings make choices-the complexity of inputs, the evolutionary success factors, and the cognitive processes-makes for fascinating subject matter. Matthew's experience in advertising and his understanding of the science of decision making come together here to make for an insightful and incredibly useful tool."
-Jennifer Sey, Global CMO, Levi's, and author of Chalked Up

"How we human beings make decisions is complex and fascinating, and nobody brings it to life quite like Matthew Willcox. His deep knowledge and practical insights are invaluable, not just for marketers, but for anyone in the business of understanding and influencing decisions. And that's everyone in business."
-Matt Williams, CEO, The Martin Agency

"Matthew Willcox bridges the practical and academic worlds of marketing better than anyone I know. In The Business of Choice, he lucidly explains what marketing practitioners can learn from marketing academics-and vice-versa-and makes an excellent case for strengthening the ties between the two disciplines. The result is a fascinating and charming read."
-Adam Alter, Associate Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern School of Business, and New York Times best-selling author of Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave

"The Business of Choice shines a light on the deep human truths that have driven behavior for millions of years. Incorporate these into your marketing, and the chances are you will be tapping into something truly fundamental for your brand."
-James Hallatt, Global Head Oral Health Category, GSK Consumer Healthcare

"There are many great reasons to choose this book, all of which you'll understand better by the time you get to the end of it."
-Mark Barden, Partner, eatbigfish, and author of A Beautiful Constraint

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