Round Numbers Bring Distance Closer

There’s plenty of talk around the world about social distancing. Specifically, what is the ‘right’ distance to stay physically apart from those outside your household.

Should it be one metre or two? Or any point in between?

The UK, one of the countries at the upper end of the scale, currently sees debate whether to reduce their 2m. Through hard lobbying from the still shut hospitality trade.

It turns out this measure is not as simple a construct as you might first think.

All manner of factors affect likelihood of coronavirus transmission. From time spent within certain proximities to if outside or indoors.

Via consumer journalist Harry Wallop it appears that the ‘easier’ the number, the firmer the impression.

Both sloganising and people’s ability to remember and duly enact, it seems, benefits more from saying a singular ‘stay two metres apart’, compared to the slightly more complex, ‘keep one-and-a-half metres distance’.

Yet he then laments how the famous ‘five a day’ fruit and veg public health guide, whilst of high recall, did not produce the dietary take-up envisaged.

The message is, that if you don’t want your audience to forget your number, it must be as simple as possible.

People would even be likely to disregard, ‘1m outside, 3m in’, for instance.

When pitching the benefit you’ll provide, I’ve blogged before on the power of an irregular number. Buyers less likely to believe any beautifully rounded number of onrushing post-sign-up benefit.

Yet whilst less obvious amounts are best for what will later accrue, can they be broken down to a more rounded representation?

Will you be releasing an extra two week’s costs back in a business? The same value as their top three accounts? Four times the profit from an existing product line?

As well as such equivalences, can this format you also shape how they’ll get there?

Dedicate twenty minutes a day. For a four week window. With three steps.

Any solution sell needs to run the numbers. Know the times when it’ll be the rounder, the better.

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