From Marketing Week: Let’s imagine that one of your tasks this week is to choose a new software vendor for your team’s project planning. How do you go about this? Certainly, you don’t just go for the great app that you heard a co-worker rave about in the coffee queue this morning… do you? Well, maybe. We love to think that we operate in a fully rational way at work. That we weigh up all options equally and select the course of action that best meets our brief. But the research suggests otherwise.
Is social proof actual proof?There is compelling evidence that social norms are at play in professional settings. Even among medics, who are trained to apply an evidence-based approach to every treatment decision. In 2018, the Australian government carried out a study into how best to reduce antibiotic prescription. Six thousand medical practices were placed into five groups, each receiving one of the following:
- No letter (control group)
- Education letter
- Education plus social proof, ie “You prescribe more antibiotics than 85% of prescribers in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) region”
- Social proof plus delayed prescriptions
- Social proof plus illustrative graph to make the comparison more salient