The Magic of Choice

There are many reasons why people hesitate to adopt energy efficiency measures. Upfront costs, lack of information, lack of trust, to name a few. Psychologists give us another reason for hesitation. We’re afraid that by committing, we’ll reduce our options. Box ourselves in.

Paralyzed by indecision, we do nothing.

Guy Kawasaki, the former chief evangelist of Apple Computer, has some thoughts about how the choices offered can determine an endeavor’s success. His latest book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions (Portfolio 2011), includes a discussion on increasing, or reducing, the number of choices to influence decision making.

Consider the consumer’s experience of walking into an Apple store. Your iPod can be Shuffle, Nano, Touch, or Classic. Your MacBook can be basic, Air, Pro or Mini. And then there are all those colors...

As with Apple, sometimes more choice helps. But sometimes it hurts. Kawasaki offers no easy solutions.

But he offers clues: know your audience segments, and what motivates them. Know their hot buttons. Create "smooth paths" for people to make the right decisions for their businesses and homes, and boil your message down to “salient points.”

You can listen to Kawasaki discussing Enchantmentwith Denis Dubois over at Energy Priorities.

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