We have been busy with the launch of Club Soda Guide, our listings site for the best licensed venues for mindful drinkers. A post at NudgingPubs tells the story in terms of innovation for and behaviour change with pubs.
Over at the Guide website, I put together suggestions for pub crawls in the City and Hackney in three blog posts: Shoreditch and Old Street pub crawl routes, Dalston and Stoke Newington pub crawl routes, and City of London pub crawl routes. There is still a couple of these to follow in the next few weeks.
I was asked to write something for the Society for the Study of Addiction about our Nudging Pubs work in changing the behaviour of pubs and bars.
My guest post was on the two theoretical foundations of our project: a taxonomy of behaviour change tools, and a typology of nudges. The first is a UCL-led project, the second is from Cambridge University’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit.
Read the post at SSA’s website.
We’re working on an assessment tool to use with pubs and bars. The tool is meant to measure how welcoming the venues are to their non-drinking (or “less-drinking”) customers. We have been pondering all the various factors we could include in the tool, and how to classify them.
Having met some people from the Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU) at Cambridge, they pointed me to their paper “Altering micro-environments to change population health behaviour: towards an evidence base for choice architecture interventions” in BMC Public Health. It could just help us get some of our ideas in order too.
The article has a nice typology for “choice architecture interventions in micro-environments”; I’ll just call them nudges from now on. There are nine types of nudges in this scheme:
- Ambience (aesthetic or atmospheric aspects of the environment)
- Functional design (design or adapt equipment or function of the environment)
- Labelling (or endorsement info to product or at point-of-choice)
- Presentation (sensory properties & visual design)
- Sizing (product size or quantity)
- Availability (behavioural options)
- Proximity (effort required for options)
- Priming (incidental cues to alter non-conscious behavioural response)
- Prompting (non-personalised info to promote or raise awareness)
The first five types change the properties of “objects of stimuli”, the next two the placement of them, and the final two both the properties and placement.
I can see how we could use this as a basis for our thinking on the factors we want to measure pubs and bars on. For example, some basics like the choice of non-alcoholic / low-alcohol drinks would be about Availability, display of non-alcoholic drinks could be Presentation, Proximity and also Priming, drinks promotions would be Prompting and Labelling, and staff training could perhaps be about Prompting too?
I can’t instantly think of anything that we couldn’t fit into the typology (although we might need some flexibility of interpretation!). Interestingly, when the Cambridge researchers reviewed the existing literature, they could only find alcohol related nudges of the ambience, design, labelling, priming and prompting types. And not many studies overall, especially compared to research on diet which was the most popular topic for these types of nudges.
On the other hand, we could probably also find at least one metric for every one of the nine types of nudges, but they might not be the most interesting or important ones for this project. But it could still be a useful exercise to go through.
Nudging Pubs is the final title to a little project that Club Soda completed last year (it was called “the Dalston Burst” at the start). The final report (pdf) from the project is now out, along with a brand new website.
The aim of the project was to answer this question:
How can we encourage pubs and bars to be more welcoming to customers who want to drink less alcohol or none at all?
The report has the findings from our research and experiments, along with recommendations and key messages. And the great news is that Hackney council are funding a second year of this project, for which Club Soda has partnered with Blenheim CDP. We’ll use the Nudging Pubs website for regular updates on the project, but I’ll probably do something occasionally on this blog as well.