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Have you ever felt a bit sick when someone claimed the credit for something that wasn’t their idea?

Have you ever watched politicians duck, dodge and weave to avoid taking responsibility for something bad?

If so you’ve seen this cognitive bias in action.

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This week’s bias is…

TheĀ self-serving bias is a tendency for people tend to give themselves credit for successes but lay the blame for failures on outside causes.

It gets to the heart of a key driver of all behaviour. The quest to elevate and protect our status.

Once you know this it explains a lot of why people do things that frustrate us.

But it can be used powerfully in marketing.

Anything we can do to help our client get credit for something good is a big win.

Anything we can do to help them avoid responsibility for something bad is also a big win.

It’s why in copywriting you regularly see phrases like ‘it’s not your fault’.

No one is happy to take the blame for something. As soon as they think it might be their fault they shut down and go into protection mode. That kills sales.

So consider how you can work with their inbuilt self-serving bias. The more you can do this, the more you’ll sell.