Taking out the guess work

Taking out the guess work
SHARE
THIS



Has anyone here heard of The Nudge Unit? Most of you, good.

Now here are two facts you may or may not know – the first is that it’s actually called the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). The second is a far more interesting piece of information. The American government has taken the British government’s lead and is setting up its own version of The Nudge Unit. It’s being headed up by Maya Shanker (new senior policy advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at The White House) and her job is to make policy decisions more accountable to behavioural science.

(Ok, I think I got rid of the pretenders – any creatives still reading?)

So Shanker is currently on a recruitment drive and is looking to place behavioural researchers into several government agencies.

This is the beginning of her ad looking for people: “A growing body of evidence suggests that insights from social and behavioural sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals.”

Why is this interesting? Well, firstly it means that for the first time policy decisions will be driven by science and real humanistic understanding (not hypothesis). Nudge learnings have contributed to getting people back to work quicker after injury, increased academic performance, getting people to pay more of their fines on time, and getting retirees to save more. Behavioural science is winning in the quest to deliver public policies that are more effective and more efficient.

The second reason it’s interesting is that it can so easily be applied to advertising and brand building. Currently, most communications strategies are developed in much the same way government policies are (pre-Nudge) – namely ‘I think this might be a good idea, and because it’s my thought I think it’s right, therefore I’ll find some evidence to support my thought, and make a story out of it. And that will be the strategy’. Sound familiar?

However, times are changing rapidly. The embracing of behavioural sciences means that strategies are now going to have to be somewhat more accountable, and in so doing they are more likely to be the right thing to do.

Some years ago I changed my title to the self-aggrandising ‘global head of behavioural science’ (or ‘global head of BS’ for short). Most people who work agency-side will believe that behavioural science still isn’t as sexy as being an ‘account planner’ or ‘head of strategy’.

However, the thing I dislike most about ‘head of strategy’ is that mostly it’s just about being an ‘intuitive planner’. Another word for intuition is ‘making stuff up’. Now, if you’re good, your intuition is good, and you’re probably a good planner. However, the difficulty is that there is not an easy way to replicate that or build a ‘planning discipline’ around that.

If, on the other hand, you embrace behavioural sciences and develop frameworks and structures that help get to the answers that help then perhaps there are building blocks to develop strategies within which the intuition can fall.

The UK, and now US, governments no longer rely solely on intuition to solve problems because we are now unearthing so much stuff about how bad our own thinking is, and how prone to thinking errors we actually are, so they are moving to behavioural economics (or behavioural sciences) for the answer. Or they are at least embracing those techniques so they have a better understanding of where the answer may be. So too will we see advertising and marketing companies embrace the behavioural sciences in a meaningful way. 

I know some of us are already starting to do this (Naked has been on this journey for years), but it’s happening sporadically and still is not the norm – especially for the larger ‘above the line’ agencies around town.

The reason for this is that advertising has until now been fiercely unscientific. Advertising has fundamentally rejected any science from entering its agencies. And here’s the reason why: the executive creative director.

The ECD is still the king of most agencies, and, truth be told, a) their job is hard enough already, and b) science hasn’t contributed much to date. Hence, if I were them I wouldn’t be in a mad rush to embrace it either.

However, I think the ECDs should consider themselves ministers of various government departments.

The government has mandated the Nudge Unit move-in, therefore the quicker you embrace it, the smoother the transition will be.

That transition is from ‘creativity is king’ to ‘creativity and science are king and queen’. If the ECD (king) embraces it then it’s up to the Queen (in this metaphor the queen is head of planning) to change their planning department and ensure it’s grounded in science and not intuition (making stuff up).

The upside of this new model (science and creativity working hand in hand) is that the industry will start to see more consistent evidence-based and results-driven solutions that we can learn from. That is, we’ll be able to build on what works and what doesn’t a bit like how social and behavioural sciences currently do.

So, Dear Mr Creative, please accept science into your agency, and Dear Ms Planner, bone up on this stuff – it’s only just the beginning.

Adam Ferrier is founder and global head of behavioural science at Naked Communications.

This article first appeared in B&T magazine. 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Infographic: Only 13% Of Aussie Media Agencies Are Considering Voice Marketing Strategies
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Infographic: Only 13% Of Aussie Media Agencies Are Considering Voice Marketing Strategies

IAB Australia has issued a handy infographic providing further insights on how the media buying community is using audio advertising across all platforms. According to the infographic, the number of media agencies using podcast advertising regularly has nearly tripled in the last year (from five per cent in December 2016 to 14 per cent in […]

Now Screen Repositions Organic Care Brand With New Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Now Screen Repositions Organic Care Brand With New Campaign

Aussie agency Now Screen has teamed up with Organic Care to reposition the brand in what has become one of the most competitive FMCG spaces. The new campaign, ‘Caring Comes Naturally’, celebrates what Organic Care has created since its inception: products that are as good for your body as they are for the environment. In […]

OMD’s Jessica Torstensson Joins Wavemaker As Group Business Director
  • Advertising
  • Media

OMD’s Jessica Torstensson Joins Wavemaker As Group Business Director

GroupM’s newest media, content and tech agency, Wavemaker, has appointed Jessica Torstensson to the role of group business director. Torstensson joins Wavemaker from OMD Australia, where she was the client lead on the McDonald’s Australia account. Prior to that, she worked both agency and client-side in her native Sweden, including at PHD Sweden, Mindshare Sweden, […]

Isobar Launches VR Documentary ‘Carriberrie’
  • Media
  • Technology

Isobar Launches VR Documentary ‘Carriberrie’

Digital agency Isobar has partnered with director and producer Dominic Allen to create a ground-breaking virtual reality (VR) film celebrating the depth and diversity of Indigenous dance, music and song. The world premiere of the 360° live-action documentary, Carriberrie, will be held tonight at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Narrated by award-winning actor and dancer […]

Study: What Marketers Really Want From An Agency
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Study: What Marketers Really Want From An Agency

A new study has delved into the murky waters of marketer/agency relationships and found that creativity still tops the list for winning new business. The study, albeit a US one, examined the relationships of some 736 brands and their agencies and found that satisfaction levels in the relationship remained surprisingly high. Brand strategy firm, Provoke Insights, conducted the study […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Can You Speak Data?
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Can You Speak Data?

In this opinion piece, Customology general manager Michael Barnard (pictured below) explains that in order to use data effectively, brands and advertisers need to speak its language. Customers are giving us their data, but we are still not using it effectively. Why haven’t we learnt how to speak data yet? Stating we live in the […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Feeding Video Success After Facebook’s Update
  • Opinion

Feeding Video Success After Facebook’s Update

In his latest post, Hamish Brown, sales manager at Brightcove ANZ, takes a look at Facebook’s new update and what it all means for brands, particularly those ones who use it for video… There’s been a lot of talk about what updates to Facebook’s news feed algorithm mean for brands generally, but not much about what […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Social Change Maker Profile: Emma Heath
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Social Change Maker Profile: Emma Heath

B&T has partnered with UnLtd to showcase industry heroes! Well, it's arguably more heroine in the case of Emma Heath.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve
  • Advertising
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve

Unlike B&T's mystery office farter, this columnist argues ad fraud is a problem that can possibly be solved.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years

In this opinion piece, Gavin McDonough (pictured above, co-founder and managing partner of Urban, shares through his own experience some valuable advice for independent specialist agencies. In November 2017, my brother Ryan and I celebrated 15 years in business. We started business out of my front room in Melbourne in 2002 – not with any grand […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges
  • Advertising

W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges

Susan Hoffman, co-chief creative officer at Wieden+Kennedy (W+K), has been appointed chair of judges for the 39th AWARD Awards. Known to challenge the status quo, Hoffman is behind some of W+K’s most memorable and game-changing ads, including Nike’s ‘Revolution’, Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ and Chrysler’s Super Bowl spots starring Eminem and Clint […]

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers
  • Marketing

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers

Leading experiential marketing agency, Kreate Australia is embarking on an exciting growth strategy following its purchase by three of the agency’s existing management team from its UK founder, Steve Evans.

Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!

This is a clarion call for B&T 30 Under 30 entries, although it's probably more mariachi band than angelic harbinger.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast
  • Media

The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast

Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network has announced that rising radio star and comedian Tanya Hennessy will take over hosting duties for its weekend breakfast slot in 2018. Hennessy will bring content to the airwaves each Saturday and Sunday morning from 7am to 9am with a regular rotation of guest co-hosts. The self-described talker, not walker […]

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients
  • Marketing

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients

Health, wellbeing and lifestyle PR agency Straight Up PR has welcomed Changing Habits, Unichi Wellness, enerGi, SleepX, and Healthie Hampers to its client portfolio. Straight Up PR’s projects will include bespoke PR services and influencer marketing packages specifically focusing on communications strategy and execution, media and influencer relations, PR launch events, product seeding and gifting, […]

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia

Independent creative agency March One has developed a new fundraising event for White Ribbon Australia that turns a social moment into a social movement. Starting on Thursday 22 March and going until Sunday 25 March, Cheese for Change will ask Aussies to create a cheese platter that matters by gathering friends, family or co-workers together […]

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced
  • Marketing

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced

The winners of IGN Australia’s sixth annual Select Awards were revealed during a huge special event at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on Friday, February 16. Some 225 Media & Game Publishers alongside 320 IGN Community Gamers attended the annual event. 2017 was absolutely crammed with terrific games and several categories were extremely tightly-contested. The top […]

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!

When it comes to an industry "who's who", you'll find there won't be too much who-ing with this impressionable lot.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs
  • Marketing

ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs

Mardi Gras is only weeks away and B&T has already hoisted the mirror ball and donned the hotpants to bring you this.

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering

Marketing consultancy International Creative Services has announced a new roster of diverse creative and production talent to provide a fully integrated solution for advertising and branded content. The roster includes a broad range of global and local directors, animators, illustrators, motion designers, visual artists, light projectionists, photographers and cinematographers – many of whom Australia will […]

Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap
  • Opinion

Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap

Does the mere thought of data fog the brain and stuff the sinuses? Decongest immediately with this lozenge-like read.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine