How incentives affect behaviour

Both rewards and fear of losing could be equally powerful motivations.

Consciously or unconsciously, we’re always thinking about what we get from any given situation. And curiously, we happen to be more motivated by not losing than by winning.


Using incentives triggers

Incentives Triggers are best to tackle Promotion and Shopper jobs where rewards and perception of value are critical. They also work great in combination with other triggers to encourage immediate action. With the brief at hand, try asking yourself the following questions:

(click on them for details and examples)


A bit more on incentives

Everything has a ‘price’ —numeric or not— that we consider before taking action. Is it worth my time? Am I willing to pay extra for convenience? What if something goes wrong? Can I get it elsewhere for less or with less effort?

We don’t get motivated only by the expectation of a positive outcome but also by the fear of losing in any form. In fact, those sometimes irrational expectations could be far more powerful than the most interesting rewards. It’s a human treat called loss aversion, you can see how it works in the examples below.

Would you take this bet?

Even monkeys experience it.


Great ideas using incentives

Train Switch | Åkestam Holst Stockholm for Swebus

The RGB News | Geometry Bucharest for Observator


More recent ideas using incentives

(check Activation Ideas for even more case studies using Incentives)


If you want to learn more about incentives

Many psychologists like Dan Ariely have covered the topics of incentives and loss aversion as part of their efforts to explain how we really made decisions.

A great and light read, full of unpredictable observations and experiments in human behaviour

A short video from the author on loss aversion and the so called endowment effect


Other triggers

There’s much more than Incentives to influence people’s behaviour. Check out all the other Behavioural Triggers to learn more.


Regional Executive Creative Director, Geometry Asia Pacific