🖼 framing using anchoring

Anchoring is among the best frames. Marketer Richard Shotton gave a Talk at Google where he spoke about the effect of anchoring as a frame of reference.

Part-of-the-reason Shotton is great at his job is his willingness to take small bets. In another framing (we're getting meta), IDEO co-founder David Kelley said to frame things at work as experiments. That reference point demonstrates something finite, possible but not probable, and limited in scope. Bosses may not want to commit to a new initiative, but an experiment might be okay.

Shotton realized this and began to do behavioral science experiments on his co-workers. One of which was framing.

He presented people with an Apple and first asked, "Does an apple have more or less than 50 calories?" After they guessed more or less he asked for a number. The average was 73.

Then he asked another group the same two questions, with a new more-or-less option of 150. There the average guess was 113 calories. Shotton concluded:

"If you throw out a big number, people will know it's too high and start adjusting down and stop once they get to a zone of reasonable answers."

Before you go 'Okay okay, enough with these behavioral studies, when did this become Malcolm Gladwell?/ here's why anchoring matters.

CAPTCHA numbers can act as anchors and raise the internal reference price of users. A raised price in the head means a better deal for the never-changed price at the store.

Anchoring and framing aren't silver bullets and sometimes they aren't even lead or even Nerf ones. Sometimes these ideas are more like cap guns, just noisy. But sometimes they do work and that's worth taking small bets for.