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Case Studies

The work we do puts focus on knowing your audience, showing what works, designing meaningful experiences and embedding behavioural science. This is showcased in our case studies below.

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Understanding the barriers to seeking out debt advice

In 2022, the Money & Pensions Service (MaPS) found that as many as 9.3 million adults across the UK were showing strong indications of needing debt advice. This is an increase of 800,000 compared to 2021, and doesn’t take account of more recent energy bill rises. Amongst other things, this group will be facing serious consequences for not being able to pay a priority bill - such as their rent or energy bill.

How digital design changes customer decisions

Online shopping offers customers a smooth, simple way of making a purchase. But Citizens Advice, the charity that offers confidential financial advice to millions of people every year, is concerned that some firms are designing online platforms in ways that act against the interests of customers. Citizens Advice therefore commissioned CogCo, working with Paul Adams, to devise an experiment that tested what the effect of different aspects of digital design had upon the choices and comprehension of customers. They were especially interested in the effect of different digital designs upon consumers’ decisions to choose to pay using ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ products. These products enable customers to delay payments into the future and now account for 6% of all online purchases in the UK.

Helping More People to Save for a Rainy Day

Around a third of all people in the UK have less than £100 in savings. This means that tens of millions of people across the country have next to no financial buffer, should they encounter any form of financial challenge. A broken fridge, or an unexpected parking fine, for example, can lead to someone needing to borrow money that they subsequently find it difficult to repay. The team at Wagestream, a financial wellbeing app whose goal is to make money management easier and more accessible for people, recognised the severity of this problem amongst the 500,000+ users of their platform. They asked CogCo to work with them in helping them to build a new product that could help their users build up their financial resilience.

Understanding What Influences Job Decisions: Is Money All that Matters?

Governments and firms regularly grapple with the question of how to attract particular employees to their shores, to different sectors of the economy, or to their workplace rather than that of a competitor. Research intensive firms might want to attract the best scientists. Often just as urgently, there might be a critical need for low-paid employees in sectors in which local citizens are reluctant to work, such as fruit picking in the US and the UK. Or there may be a need to encourage citizens to take up private-sector roles in countries where the public sector is particularly attractive, such as in parts of the Middle East. When considering how to encourage people to move into new roles or locations, governments and firms often focus on extrinsic rewards — the pay, benefits or even visa facilitation that can influence an individual’s decision. But a growing range of research shows that these extrinsic rewards are only part of the picture. Together with the global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, we set out to explore the other factors that should be taken into account.

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