Author of the New York Times bestseller “Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave,” Adam Alter is an expert in understanding how even the seemingly smallest details in the surrounding environment can have a powerful influence on the decisions we make. He will bring that expertise to AIM 2016 on Monday, May 2, when he makes his “Subtle Cues: How Unexpected Forces Shape How We Think, Feel and Behave” keynote presentation from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
In this interview, Alter previews his keynote remarks and discusses the implications of his research for the multifamily industry.
You’re a well-known professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and a New York Times best-selling author. But for those attendees who may be unfamiliar with your work, give us a quick summary of the areas in which you have focused your research and writings. Has your work addressed apartment renters in any way?
Alter: I study human judgment and decision-making—why people do the things they do, make the decisions they make, and buy the things they buy. I’m especially interested in how those decisions can be shifted by very small tweaks to, for example, the color of a room, the weather, the name given to a product or idea, and so on.
In my book, I consider a range of these cues and how they shape our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I haven’t focused on apartment renters specifically, but a lot of the work I do focuses on big decisions—like apartment renting—and many of the ideas apply perfectly to apartment renters.
Your book “Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave” examines how our surroundings affect our behaviors and choices in ways in which we aren’t even aware. What might be some examples of this dynamic in play in the case of someone searching for or living in an apartment? And how can attendees use your research to improve or enhance their residents’ user experience?
Alter: Here are three that I’ll discuss in my talk: the dominant colors in the apartment’s interior—especially the role of the colors blue, red, and pink in promoting well-being; the benefits of nature, either outside the apartment’s windows, or within the apartment in the form of potted plants; and the importance of shielding the apartment from noise for the well-being of children and, to some extent, adults. An apartment that combines these elements is both more appealing in the short run—it sells better—and more likely to leave renters happier (and therefore to renew their leases) in the long run.
What do you want the audience to take away from your remarks?
Alter: I’ll focus on six different elements of the marketing mix—three that are especially important before the potential renter signs on the dotted line, and three that ensure the renter will enjoy the apartment after the deal is done. Rather than steal my own thunder, I’ll say more about each of those elements during my talk!