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

Digital Breadcrumbs: Picking Up The pieces your competitors leave online
  • Opinion

Digital Breadcrumbs: Picking Up The pieces your competitors leave online

In this guest column, Meltwater’s area director, David Hickey (pictured below), says a quick glance at the mountains of data your competitors are producing can fast prove a boon for your business too… It’s time for businesses to start paying attention and embrace the new digital reality we’re living in. We are currently in the […]

Opinion

by David Hickey

David Hickey
“The Rock” Leads a Flotilla Of Athletes In Huge Under Armour Campaign
  • Campaigns

“The Rock” Leads a Flotilla Of Athletes In Huge Under Armour Campaign

US sportswear giant Under Armour has enlisted Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to front a series of inspirational new ads featuring a host of sport stars and fitness icons. Created by Droga 5 the campaign is called “Will finds a way” and includes eight ads in all. Johnson aside, the spots include actress and martial arts star, Zoe Zhang. Fellow […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Media

Free TV Calls For ACCC Oversight Of Facebook & Google

In a submission lodged with the ACCC inquiry into digital platforms, industry body Free TV today called for greater regulatory oversight of Facebook and Google. The FreeTV submission identifies a number of key areas of concern: Heavy regulation on traditional media providers and almost none on Facebook and Google Questionable claims about the reach, viewability, […]

APN Outdoor Confirms Retention Of Three Key Contracts
  • Media

APN Outdoor Confirms Retention Of Three Key Contracts

APN Outdoor has used its annual general meeting to announce three key contract renewals: Transport for Brisbane, Transdev Melbourne and Adelaide & Parafield Airports, for multiple years. Company CEO and managing director, James Warburton, said: “These contracts represent an important part of our advertising offering. The far-reaching impact they provide delivers a compelling proposition and cements our commitment […]

Women In Media Profile: Olivia Warren
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Olivia Warren

It's the latest in our Women In Media profiles, and this one is so good you'll possibly get a nervous twitch somewhere.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
LIDA Delivers Series Of Animated Info Bites For Busy Marketers
  • Marketing
  • Media

LIDA Delivers Series Of Animated Info Bites For Busy Marketers

M&C Saatchi Group’s customer engagement specialist agency, LIDA, has crafted an initial eight-episode series of bite-sized animated videos designed to help busy marketers stay ahead of the game. ‘60 Second Gets’ draws on LIDA’s wealth of experience to unpack the latest industry tools, tech and thinking. Launching today, the first video, ‘Success in 6 Seconds’, […]

Naked And Gidget Foundation Want Australians To Start Talking
  • Campaigns

Naked And Gidget Foundation Want Australians To Start Talking

Today Naked launches its ‘Start Talking’ campaign for Gidget Foundation Australia; a not-for-profit that provides support for families who are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA). The centrepiece of the campaign is a powerful TVC that brings to life this common, but often hidden illness, and shows how Gidget Foundation’s ‘Start Talking’ telehealth program […]

MKTG Integrates Telstra Tracker Data With LED Signage At AFL Stadiums
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MKTG Integrates Telstra Tracker Data With LED Signage At AFL Stadiums

For the first time ever, AFL spectators will be able to view real-time Telstra Tracker player data via in-stadium LED signage, thanks to the combined efforts of Telstra, Champion Data and MKTG. By integrating the Telstra Tracker data into the LED signage at the MCG and Etihad Stadium, fans will receive contextually relevant information from […]

Westfield Shows Off New Visual Identity In Line With Fresh Digital Offering
  • Marketing

Westfield Shows Off New Visual Identity In Line With Fresh Digital Offering

Scentre Group has unveiled a new brand look and feel coinciding with the re-launch of the Westfield.com.au and Westfield.co.nz sites. This digital-first visual identity sees a shift towards creating a more contemporary, invigorated and colourful brand, reflective of Westfield’s in-centre experience. The iconic Westfield logo will continue to lead brand communications, supported with a new […]

The Age Of The Ephemeral: Why Experiential Marketing Is Compulsory This Year
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

The Age Of The Ephemeral: Why Experiential Marketing Is Compulsory This Year

In this guest post, Keep Left’s head of consumer engagement, Johanna Murray (pictured below), explains the merits of experiential marketing, as well as sharing some tips on how to do it – and do it well. Humans love to label things – especially intangible things, like time. We like eras and ages and eons because they […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
The Top Social Media Marketing Trends For 2018
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Technology

The Top Social Media Marketing Trends For 2018

This trends report is a must-read for all marketers, although it contains no news on the return of the bubble perm.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How To Give And Take Feedback At Work
  • Opinion

How To Give And Take Feedback At Work

Georgia Murch (pictured below) is an expert in creating feedback cultures and author of Feedback Flow; The Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Embed Change in 90 Days. In this guest post, Murch offers her tips on giving (and receiving) feedback from colleagues without botching it up… We all know that feedback matters.  Most of us want the good, the bad and the […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Dentsu X Expands Operations To Sydney
  • Advertising
  • Media

Dentsu X Expands Operations To Sydney

Have you completely forgotten what Sydney looks like? Well, thankfully this story comes with a handy pictorial reminder.

SBS Radio Introduces Three 24-Hour Digital Radio Stations On Digital TV
  • Media

SBS Radio Introduces Three 24-Hour Digital Radio Stations On Digital TV

SBS Radio has announced two new digital radio stations – SBS PopAsia, SBS PopDesi and a refresh of SBS Radio 3 – is now available on digital TV. SBS Radio 3 will broadcast world news and current affairs from the BBC World Service (previously airing on SBS Radio 4 on digital radio) and special events […]

Champion Launches Music Platform Championing Emerging Aussie Artists Via Emotive
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Champion Launches Music Platform Championing Emerging Aussie Artists Via Emotive

For its first Australian campaign, Champion has partnered with creative and content agency Emotive to launch a music program titled ‘Revealed’. The program champions emerging Australian artists by intimately telling their story through video, and providing funding and creative support to create world class music videos for new release music. The first Revealed artist is […]

Delacon Launches Call Analytics In India
  • Marketing

Delacon Launches Call Analytics In India

Australian-owned call analytics provider Delacon has continued its international expansion, opening an innovation centre in India to service local and global partners, and develop the next generation of call tracking and analytics solutions. The office in Chennai is the eighth for the Sydney-headquartered business, which enables brands and agencies to optimise marketing campaigns by accurately […]

Protein To Handle Retail Roll-Out Of Recycling Initiative Return-It
  • Marketing

Protein To Handle Retail Roll-Out Of Recycling Initiative Return-It

Sydney brand and digital agency Protein has been appointed to handle the retail and digital roll-out of recycling company Return-It, which has just been announced as the container collection network for the ACT. Return-It awarded the work to the 17-year strong agency, following Protein’s tender support and brand development of the retail concept. The public-facing […]

Why We Need To Talk More About Failure
  • Opinion

Why We Need To Talk More About Failure

This is an excellent article about celebrating failure. Although, admittedly, we failed to get to the very end of it.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Kimmie Neidhardt
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kimmie Neidhardt

Kimmie Neidhardt doesn't just have a very cool name, as you'll read here. There's a good head on those shoulders, too.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SCA Promotes Nathan Soulsby To Head Of TV Sales For Sydney
  • Advertising
  • Media

SCA Promotes Nathan Soulsby To Head Of TV Sales For Sydney

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) has announced the promotion of Nathan Soulsby to head of TV sales for Sydney. The announcement comes after Kristen Budd’s move to general manager of SCA’s Central Coast office. Caretaking the role during Budd’s maternity leave, Soulsby has been a key contributor to the consistent share and revenue growth that has […]

Columbus, A Merkle Company Announces Client Wins & Senior Appointments
  • Marketing

Columbus, A Merkle Company Announces Client Wins & Senior Appointments

Following the launch of Merkle in the Australian market in March, Columbus, a Merkle Company has secured nine new clients in three months, including Macquarie University, Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited and Hipages. Columbus has also appointed two group business directors in the Victorian market, with Leonie Dawkins (pictured above, left) and Guy McGechan (pictured […]

Black woman in handcuffs
  • Media

Adland Industry Leaders To Be Locked Up In Prison To Help Aussie Youth

Over sixty senior leaders from the media, marketing, tech and creative industry will spend the night in jail as part of UnLtd’s Adland Bail Out, to raise funds for Whitelion. The ‘inmates’ will be handing over their mobile phones and putting on their prison overalls to brave a night in the chilling cells of Yasmar […]

JCDecaux Partners With Seedooh To Verify OOH Campaigns
  • Advertising
  • Media

JCDecaux Partners With Seedooh To Verify OOH Campaigns

Global out-of-home (OOH) advertising giant JCDecaux has announced a partnership with independent tech platform Seedooh to offer advertisers greater transparency for campaigns. Under the agreement, Seedooh’s reporting and verification platform will be integrated into JCDecaux’s system to create an independent campaign delivery reporting function that works seamlessly within the end-to-end campaign delivery processes. It will […]

Innovation: The Foundation Of Marketing & Sales Collaboration
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Innovation: The Foundation Of Marketing & Sales Collaboration

In this opinion piece, Seismic’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Andy Pattinson (pictured below), explains how marketers can work smarter and why collaboration is vital in delivering return on investment. Demand for marketing roles is growing, as marketers continue to learn more about what customers want. The marketing agenda is increasingly being tied in […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Roll’d Enlists Impress!ve Digital Ahead Of Franchise & Catering Push
  • Marketing

Roll’d Enlists Impress!ve Digital Ahead Of Franchise & Catering Push

Aussie food franchise Roll’d has announced it has signed on Melbourne digital marketing agency Impress!ve Digital to support its digital marketing. The partnership has already begun, with Impress!ve Digital aiming to significantly boost the company’s revenue through digital marketing strategies that are directly linked to return on investment and franchise acquisition. Impress!ve Digital has been […]

Yippee! More Photos from the 30 Under 30 Awards!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Technology

Yippee! More Photos from the 30 Under 30 Awards!

If you think B&T simply runs these photo gallery stories so you can gawk at young, attractive people, you'd be right.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine