The Why #43: Why do people pay buskers when they could watch for free?

Reciprocity Bias

Refers to our tendency to reciprocate the acts of good faith others have shown to us. We have an innate desire to return favours, pay back debts and treat others well who have done the same to us. Failing to do so leaves us feeling indebted, which comes with a strangely uncomfortable sensation we all want to alleviate.

For brands, reciprocity isn’t just about being ‘nice’ and doing favours for your customers. It’s about going first, making it unexpected, and being clear that you (seemingly) want nothing in return. Think free samples for food services, complimentary extras for retail and hospitality, or free trials (and trial extensions) for subscription services. Done right, customers will feel treated, indebted, and inclined to return the favour. Raffle ticket, anyone?

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Hardhat

Hardhat

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We’re an independent creative agency helping brands capitalise on the why, when, where, what and how of human behaviour.