Behavioural science practices, #ogilvychange, is opening in Australia, bringing research in cognitive psychology and behavioural economics, and a network of global academic connections to our shores.
First established in the UK by renowned behavioural science experts Rory Sutherland (Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather UK) and Jez Groom (Director of Strategy Integration) in 2012, the practice combines the gravitas of cognitive sciences with the communications expertise of the world’s largest advertising network, to influence people’s behaviour and purchase decisions.
Since launching overseas, #ogilvychange has worked on some of the globe’s biggest brands and with leading organisations to map and change people’s behaviour. While still viewed by many as an emerging marketing science, the reach of #ogilvychange continues to expand, launching in both Prague and Madrid early this year, and most recently in Singapore.
Now the model will be utilised in Australia, based out of Ogilvy’s Sydney office and led by Sam Tatam. Tatam, who holds an MA in Psychology, recently returned from London where he worked closely with Rory Sutherland and the #ogilvychange management team.
“Advertisers have long known that humans are emotional first, and rational second. Neuroscientists and academics are also often of the view that most of our decision making is done by gut feel, not direct thought,” explained Ogilvy Australia’s CEO David Fox.
“In addition, behavioural change is often brought about by small changes, which can bring about immense effects. Behavioural science helps to map and explain these behavioural patterns and their net results; it brings clear explanation to what is essentially primitive and unconscious thinking. This is obviously of huge value to any brand, government or other organisation trying to influence behaviour, from stopping smoking, reducing road accidents or other behaviour-driven issues.
“However, behavioural change as a marketing discipline is still really in its infancy in Australia. We see a real opportunity to drive it from emerging to established, and tap into some of the world’s most pre-eminent experts from across the globe to assist both existing, and future clients.”
Fox said the Australian #ogilvychange would replicate the model used overseas; an Ogilvy team of experts working alongside a community of behavioural science experts, including leading academics and those applying these insights in the real world. Fox said the practice was currently in discussions with a range of Australian academics to be part of the model here, but in the meantime would utilise the “significant reach of #ogilvychange’s global network to provide our clients with the best behavioural thinking in the field”.
Speaking about the new Sydney-based practice, Sutherland said the timing was right to expand into the Asia-pacific region.
“It’s very clear that the appetite and need for behavioural science in this country is huge,” he said.
“That’s partly because the beauty of behavioural science is the results can be applied across a range of marketing disciplines, from creative through to direct, digital and beyond. Because of the breadth of Ogilvy Australia’s offering here, the work of #ogilvychange obviously has huge potential.
“It’s also because we have an incredible opportunity to better understand how Australians think, decide and act, and develop the right – and most effective – marketing campaigns as a result. I’m thrilled that #ogilvychange can bring its expertise and approach to Ogilvy Australia which is renowned for being forward thinking, and driven to constantly evolve its offering. We can’t wait to start working with the team and its clients here.
“I have also been particularly impressed by the NSW Government’s behavioural insights team who are doing great work in the field already,” he added.
Ogilvy Australia is part of STW, Australasia’s leading marketing content and communications group.
Image from left to right: Tatam, Rory Sutherland, David Fox.