Notes From BJ Fogg’s Presentation

Last week I was at a Communications Media Managers Association (CMMA) event in Plano, TX (not too far from Dallas, TX). The keynote speaker for the event was BJ Fogg a Stanford University professor who talked about “Hot Triggers & Rituals The New World of Persuasion.” There were some technical difficulties which delayed his presentation which I know rushed him and didn’t allow him to get through all of the content he wanted to present.

The best example I think he gave was of Oil of Olay which required him to do morning and nightly treatments to help “fight wrinkles”. He was noticing he wasn’t remembering to apply the treatment consistently, he would either apply in the morning or at night but often forgot to do both each day. He then told himself “I need a trigger to remind me to do it twice each day.” Like most Americans, he brushes he teeth twice a day, once in the morning, and once at night. Therefore to help remind him to apply the treatments he put the treatments in the sink where he normally brushes his teeth. That way he had to physically look at and remove the product from the sink before he could do anything else (it was a trigger/reminder).

His theory is essentially people need a reminder (a trigger) to do things and there are a number of circumstances which can either promote or prevent a task from being done. You can see his research at Below are my notes from the meeting:

  • Started by talking about how it is best when you can automate persuasion.
  • Types of Behavior changes:
    • One time
    • Fixed period
    • From now on
  • Core motivators
    • Pleasure/Pain
    • Hope/Fear
    • Social Rejection/Social Acceptance
  • Simplicity has 6 elements
    • Time
    • Money
    • Physical effort
    • Brain cycles
    • Social deviance
    • Non routine
      • Each person has difference resources. These vary by context.
      • Simplicity is a function of your scariest resource at that moment.
  • Motivation, ability, and trigger must be present at the same time otherwise if one is missing, the behavior will not occur

  • You can increase a person’s ability by simplifying, not by training
    • Put “hot triggers” in the path of motivated people (hot triggers are when users can take immediate action on something that reminds them to do something)
      • New triggers if successful lead to new rituals which leads to new platforms (Facebook…Farmville etc)

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