The Brand Agency brings science to behaviour change with appointment of Dr Mark Hurlstone

Mark Hurlstone and Nick Bayes (1).jpgPerth agency The Brand Agency has welcomed behavioural psychologist Dr Mark Hurlstone (left) to its strategy and behaviour change team. Dr Hurlstone is head of The University of Western Australia's Behavioural Economics Laboratory in the School of Psychological Science.

Dr Hurlstone's appointment is in direct response to the lack of true behavioural psychologists in the communications industry. His expertise will create a link between scientifically based psychological insights and effective communications, probably a first for the industry, not just in WA, but nationally.

Says Nick Bayes (right), managing director, The Brand Agency "For a long time behavioural economics has been used as a buzz word by agencies to sell in work and strategic solutions without any scientific basis, or by people without the academic experience to back it up.
"If our industry is going to drive significant and permanent changes in behaviour for our clients, we need to dig deeper in uncovering insights about how and why our audiences make their decisions. With Mark working as part of our strategy and behaviour change team, and directly with our clients, we will ultimately deliver more effective and intuitive work for our clients."

Says Dr Hurlstone: "I look forward to joining The Brand Agency, where I'll be using my insights and in-depth understanding of psychology and behavioural economics to increase the persuasive impact of the agency's communications and behaviour change campaigns."

The appointment of Dr Hurlstone follows hot on the heels of new hires in The Brand Agency's creative team and the creation of a specialist destination marketing division.

4 Comments

Good move but silly claim said:

Dear Nick,

Excellent appointment and an acknowledgement of the role of science and the importance of understanding the motivators for behavioural change play in marketing comms.

BUT please, stop with the silly claims - and I quote -

'probably the first for the industry, not just in WA, but nationally.'

It's not. Not by a long way.

But good move and good luck.

@good move but silly claim said:

Seriously? If you don't think our industry is rife with pseudo-science you're kidding yourself.

What interests me more is how long Dr Mark sticks around after repeatedly being over-ruled because his findings don't align with what the client wants/is most profitable for the agency/what the brand strategist "feels in their gut"/"common sense" dictates.

Or when he's asked to draw meaningful conclusions from self-reported, unblinded and/or statistically insignificant data.

Good for the industry if more agencies move this way, but I'm skeptical.

To quote said:

"If our industry is going to drive significant and permanent changes in behaviour for our clients, we need to dig deeper in uncovering insights about how and why our audiences make their decisions."

We know. They buy washing detergent to have clean and whiter whites or because it was on special at Woolies.

We're selling shit, a little bit of science maybe, but not full blown Behavioral Economics. P-l-e-a-s-e.

Meh said:

Judging by their recent work they need all the help they can get, not that any further psycho-babble will help.

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