Rory Sutherland: The Next Thing in Behaviour Change

Rory Best

In his keynote at the Grote Marketing Congres, Rory Sutherland argued that the new advances in behavioural science have immense implications for the practice of marketing. For one thing, the findings of behavioural economists and psychologists have begun to overturn many of the conventional assumptions about how consumers think, decide and act.

They also provide more realistic models of how free-market economies really work by starting to acknowledge the importance of qualities such as trust and loyalty which conventional economic models simply ignore.  


Rory Sutherland on Behaviour Change

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The new insights we can gain from this science have already shown their power to transform the effectiveness not only of communication but of innovation and new product development. But, as Rory Sutherland explains, the new vocabulary of behavioural economics also provides marketers with an opportunity to better explain and justify the value of marketing to non-marketers - and help us to explain in scientific terms why marketing should not be seen as a cost to be minimised, but as a vital source of economic value and enduring competitive advantage.

Rory Talk

Among the many lessons we can learn, one is that we should not only test those things which seem economically logical - we should also test the opposite: sometimes, for example, you can increase demand for a product by raising the price. As Sutherland recommends, "You should try to test counterintuitive things, because your competitors won't".

Another vital lesson is that we should never disregard the power of small interventions - or butterfly effects - the seemingly trivial changes to wording or choice design which can be a thousand times more than they cost to test.  

Rory Sutherland, a former President of the IPA, has founded Ogilvy's behavioural science group in London eight years ago. It is currently the fastest growing part of the agency in the UK. 


Behaviour Change @ Ogilvy Amsterdam

Ogilvy Amsterdam also houses a growing practice in Behaviour Change. Would you like more inspiration from behavioural insights and see some projects we've done? See what we can do for you here.

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