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  • Writer's pictureDominic Ridley-Moy

Nudging people with the EAST model

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Use the EAST model to help plan behaviour change interventions.

If you're thinking about applying nudge theory to your communications or to improve service delivery, familiarising yourself with the EAST model is a good place to start. The EAST model, which stands for Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely is an easy to understand framework, developed by the Behavioural Insights Team, giving busy policy makers and communications professionals an accessible, simple way to nudge people in the right direction.

There are four parts to the model,

Easy: make it as easy as possible to take up a service. We have a strong tendency to go with the default option, rather than the choice that requires some effort.

As humans, we’re inherently cognitively lazy, relying on biases and heuristics to get by in everyday life. In essence we make use of a shortcuts. So the easier you make it to buy a product, go online, eat healthier options or save more, the more likely you'll adopt that behaviour.

That's one of the reasons why Amazon is so successful. Their service is so easy to use, that we often go to them as the default option, for everything from groceries, to gadgets and pretty much anything we need in our lives.

Attractive: this isn't just about making things pretty. Everyday we make around 35,000 choices. There is a lot of information vying for our attentions. Our brains process 11 million pieces of information every second, but we can only attend to 50 of them. This means that when we design behaviour change interventions they need to be fun. They needs to grab people's attention. They need to get noticed. They need to be personalised. They need to appeal to emotions. Considering this is therefore key when you design a behaviour change campaign.

Social: we are all social creatures, and take our cue from what people around us do. That's why sending out a letter saying 9 out of 10 people pay their Council Tax or rent on time has been so successful.

Thinking about people's peers, their networks, who their friends and family are are all effective ways to nudge people in the right direction.

For example, to tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, lots of NHS trusts up and down the country have successfully used real life case studies, matched to vaccine-hesitant audiences to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Timely: prompt people when they are likely to be most receptive. Timing matters and can often be overlooked. For example, behaviour is generally easier to change when habits are already disrupted, around major life events, such as moving house or giving birth. Also, thinking about when people are about to make a decision is important - you're more likely to purchase something if an advert pops-up reminding you to make an online purchase, when you're on the sofa watching TV instead of the during the day when you may be at work.

To find out more about the EAST model, read more about the framework.

Here at the Behaviour Change Network we help people plan campaigns using our very own BEST model Behaviour, Examine, Solve and Test which helps take you through how to apply models like EAST (Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely) and COM-B (Capability, Opportunity, Motivation and Behaviour).

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