What we do

Behavioural Insight & Communication for:

Special & International

Tailored projects for clients with Special Projects & International Programmes that are poorly dealt with by existing suppliers, or lack scale; Disaster relief & psychology of appearing in remote communities, geology, and exploration.

Certified for Military Strategic Effects contracts

Marketing & Brands

Presenting information and brand messages in way that affects automatic and well as the ‘thinking’ brain. And crafting, testing, and delivering emails, call-scripts, ecommerce, face-to-face sales, and more.

Re-writing and testing with statistically significant copy and art direction for insurance products + more

Medical & Pharma

There are some big watch-outs for non-psychologists who try to increase patient compliance, particularly around the magnitude of request.

Writing behavioural platforms for copy and art directors + more

Charity & Giving

Increasing a charity’s share-of-wallet relies on some key psychological pointers. Ask us how. We are advisors for Children’s Heart Federation.

Increasing propensity to donate online + more

Organisation & Employee Engagement

Engaging employees can be a complex set of overt and covert ‘messaging’. Find out how we’ve done it.

Complete internal communications packages + more

Communities & Government

Creating the situations that encourage co-operation, group behaviour, and working with non-consumer, often non-aspirational actions relies on some uncommon interventions.

Finding out why people drop Coca-cola drinks + more

Contact us

How we work


the person…

We test the strength of personal disposition on behaviour.

It’s important that we find out what people can’t normally articulate or crystallise about their assumptions and deep-seated attitudes, and we understand their mental models of the world around them.

Semi-structured group interviews with chartered psychologists are very useful ways to decode verbal and non-verbal behaviour; reporting (to ourselves, client) simply what people say is a waste of time (often times). E.g. in studies of persuasiveness, Cialdini found:

“The injunctive [or, behaviour commonly unapproved] affected people’s conscious assessments of the ads’ persuasiveness. The descriptive [or, behaviour commonly performed] ‘influenced intentions directly’” – we often make coherent decisions based on arbitrary or mistaken assessments Read more here.

Indeed, we don’t care about our own opinions at The Hunting Dynasty, and we care little for others’ opinions too – what we care for are the revealed states, the fluid speaking of a ‘comfortable’ thought, the clenched hands of struggle, the miming and mimicking that adds grammar and meaning to simple words. Only in this way can we dig deep into people’s experience of the word around them.

Implicit attitude tests (EMOTIX©, CELEBRAND)
Implicit attitude tests (especially EMOTIX© designed by InnovationBubble) is a method to understand the deep-seated responses to stimulus by connecting words and images together, ignoring the slower, ‘thinking’ answers and focussing on reflexive quicker responses.

CELEBRAND is a robust reading of consumers’ gut response to celebrities’ brand sponsorship deals and how they add (or not) to the brand value of both parties using implicit attitude tests. This is a discrete service, tested on a defined audience.

It is suitable for celebrities themselves, their agents and representatives, brand managers, PR, marketing, and advertising client-side and agency-side representatives.

Journey mapping
Journey mapping is a useful to examine the processes and practices of human subjects in a system or process. It helps to identify moments of pain, delight, confusion, and assumptions – many of which can be simply ‘interface’ problems (whether real- or virtual-world).

The benefit of a psychological approach to this structure is an understating of both why the interface/presentation layer/architecture is causing problems for the participant and likely ways in can be combated.


They could be intercept interviews or at-leasure and un-guided; we write them understanding how sequencing affects outcomes, in ways that aren’t always text-based, and use existing question-norms.

For instance, in Strack, Martin, and Schwartz study on query theory conducted it in 1988, they asked only two questions. These were unrelated, and asked in the only two possible sequences and they recorded different results depending on the order in which they asked the questions.

If asked to rate ‘happiness with life-as-a-whole’ before ‘happiness with dating’, there was no real link. You could be happy or sad, dating or not, and it wouldn’t relate in any meaningful way.

But if the order was flipped and respondents were asked to rate ‘happiness with dating’ before ‘happiness with life-as-a-whole’ the link between the two was almost 3.5 times greater: being in a relationship made you more likely to be happy. The order is the outcome. Sequence is important [for examples of order theory read this passage ‘Specifically happy, generally’ in Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour].

Also, we use psychologically useful question-sets such as Personal Norms questions, which means we can do a mini ‘psych study’ rather than simply gather facts or opinions.

…and more


…the situation

We test the strength of the situation in guiding behaviour.

Whether real or virtual, the way the world interfaces with us frequently affects our behaviour. Understanding the strength of this effect is important.


The real-world environment affects our behaviour in ways we infrequently notice or expect. Observing behaviour before and after changing an environment can reveal valuable understating about its influence.

e.g. We’ve experimented with litter bin affordance and seen a 10% drop in littering over the population [For more see Keep Britain Tidy].

Real-world manipulation-and-observation can also be in-store, employee engagement (energy use, waste), and many more.

Darley & Batson’s 1973 paper on the Good Samaritan and time-pressure is a great example [overview], [paper]) where between 63% and 10% of theology students on their way to talk about the parable of the Good Samaritan stopped to help an ill ‘stooge’.

Virtual world
With virtual presentation – such as a digital interface – is often easy to design and test changes and get primary data through an A/B test route. For many, this can mean being overwhelmed by data.

We design both a psychologically robust methodology and know how to interpret the results in a way that’s meaningful; There’s little point in knowing one version works better than another without knowing why (what do you do next, for instance?)

Messaging (paid-for media, signage, etc)
A direct lead-in to communication work (see ‘Communicating overtly (marketing, digital, etc)’ section below) and often requires a double-whammy of reflective and reflexive thinking – the audience respond to it instinctively and ‘thinkingly’. Testing and observing responses – either in real-time behaviour or outcomes associated with – is where the work is done.

And similar to ‘Virtual world’ section above, we design both a psychologically robust methodology and know how to interpret the results in a way that’s meaningful.

Literature reviews
We do a lot of literature reviews. It’s important to review peer-reviewed experiments covering the clients’ challenge – especially since 1879 in Leipzig we’ve amassed a large set of knowledge from which to work, tweak and test.

Strictly speaking they’re not solely a ‘situational’ exercise but vital nonetheless. Indeed, every project has one whether client is aware or not.

We may well have some reviews similar to work of which a prospective client is thinking, including:
– online choice architecture
– online gift sites
– in-store product display
– electric car sales
– cycling to work
– multimode travelling
– littering
– B2B procurement/sales
– travel disruption
– loft insulation
– Green Deal
– shower gel/soap
– face-to-face finance sales
– and more.
[ call or email if any of these are in your area or you’d like to find out more]

…and more


Communication & execution

Once we’ve worked out the balance of influence between ‘the person’ and ‘the situation’ we work with clients to design & execute interventions, whether they’re messages or architectural/virtual interventions.

Some clients prefer to use their established relationships for this part, but our experience on the marketing agency side and work deploying comms for Hunting Dynasty clients means we’re more than a research unit.

Designing & deploying interventions
It is generally accepted that ‘nudging’ supports behaviour aligned with reflected preferences, and that business or community messaging likely tries to create new behaviour irrespective of preferences; these two broad approaches are often mixed-up.

Also, intervention design-and-deployment may need to service the client in terms of cost, speed, ease, scalability, or other factors; Knowing how behaviour is affected means we can work out the best way to achieve the result our client needs and make it ‘boardroom ready’ with coherent data unpinning the work. Clients are not delivered indefensible ‘lay hunches and gut feel’ with us. [e.g. ‘you can’t really answer a spreadsheet with a mood-board‘ in Campaign]

Strategy for communication

Our backgrounds in advertising mixed with our backgrounds in psychology mean we can write coherent strategies that can actually be delivered – many psych/research agencies don’t have that bridge over to execution, and many marketing/comms/planning agencies don’t have the psych foundation from which to build.

e.g. Our comms strategy for Waterwise included a discussion of how messages for resource-use differ from those of consumer goods, a discussion of the psychology of message construction, a plan for collaboration, and how it works across a wide range of media.

Communicating overtly (marketing, digital, etc)

Overt communication – such as an advert, or a sign – carries an expectation that one is being spoken to; understanding both this context and how to construct the message contained within is vital to make sure the outcome is as intended. Many are familiar with restaurant menu for example where the cheapest wine is rarely purchased. [For info on food specifically read ‘Can a change in portion size transform our bad food habits?’ Guardian article, for examples of errors read this passage about a TV ad and norms in Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour].

A message, or other synthetic presentation of information, is often easier to test-and-change than covert architectural comms (below). And, if no primary research can be done, our good understanding of psychology helps us write messages that work from the get-go.

e.g. Emails that work [See Soltis as an example], potent call scripts [See NPower as an example], etc.

Communicating covertly (architecture, organisation, etc)
We’re not advocating constructing a building, but often the world around us ‘talks’ to us. Expectations and common behaviour are in evidence in many places (a worn footpath on grass, litter on a stair rail, etc). Both habit formation and breaking are best achieved linking to or removing from an associated environment [read our post about the science of habit formation here]. There are many other aspects to guided behaviour, the most significant of which is there’s no ‘neutral’ position, and the recognition of behaviour being changed is often zero. If our research shows us this a way to effortlessly change behaviour, we make that happen.

Part of our solution for PleaseCycle/Stravel (now ‘Yomp’) included cycle racks in prominent positions to normalise cycling as ‘behaviour commonly performed (by people like you)’. For more on employee engagement and resource use read this post.

Workshops (overt and covert comms)
Workshops (almost exclusively) need to take the audience from 0-60mph quickly, and so focus on teasing out practical ways of communicating both overtly with messaging and covertly with architecture, and focussing on ‘the situation’ aspects more than ‘the person’ as the situation leans on ubiquitous and persistent deep-seated behaviours that many of us share.

We have workshops getting audience to make disposal coffee cups less likely to be purchased in a coffee shop, and a structured process that generates face-to-face scripts and material for persuasive sales.

…and more

Our clients say…

Case Studies

Want to talk to about this work, or what we can do for you?

Contact us

Who we are


Oliver Payne, FRSA

Founder, MD | Linkedin

A behavioural economist, author (Routledge 2011), commentator on sustainability & behaviour, ex-ad creative, & manager.

Oliver has worked in communications for a long time (LinkedIn, Personal website), and is the founder of The Hunting Dynasty.

Previously he worked in digital startups in Liverpool, NY, and London in the mid 90’s, inventing some interactive TV elements that are on EPGs today. Since ’99 he spent a decade (combined) at Saatchi & Saatchi, and Ogilvy in London as a Creative Director up to board level on global advertising campaigns for some of the world’s biggest and best-known companies, including BP, P&G, Cisco, IBM, Castrol, Avis, Toyota, and Visa. He’s won over thirty of the world’s top global advertising awards, including Grand Prix, DMA, Cannes, D&AD, and sat on global judging panels for digital and integrated advertising.

Since the late 2000’s he’s been working with psychology specifically through The Hunting Dynasty (est. 2009) looking to find permanent and ubiquitous solutions to problems that are able to last for generations to come.

He is author of ‘Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour: 19 Ways To Ask For Change’ [link on this site | link to Amazon (Routledge, 2011), which wrangles together environmental and social psychology, behavioural economics, and decision theory.

He is an advisor on the Influence Advisory Panel populated by experts from academia, politics, military, government and civil society. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.


Dr Simon Moore

Chartered Psychologist | Linkedin

Very experienced with organisations and brands using behavioural economics, emotional profiling and engagement.

Simon is a Chartered Psychologist » with the British Psychological Society. He works with organisations and brands in the areas of behavioural economics, emotion profiling and engagement for InnovationBubble », The Hunting Dynasty, and others.

He has specialist knowledge of customer-brand personas. He is trained in psychometrics and statistical analysis. Simon is an author and regularly presents papers at academic and business conferences. He often appears in the media providing psychological insight into organizational and consumer matters, and has worked with such companies as Sony, Bupa, Pukka Pies, Universal Film Studios, providing them with professional academic advice and research support. He has also provided scientific support in the form of media comment for launch campaigns, PR and branding projects He has a wealth of experience of working with businesses and brands conducting ‘Health-Checks’ and delivering innovative and insightful solutions. Recent work includes the development of a Recommendation Index (BRI) to measure the potential WOM reach of Brands.


Spencer, Msc

Behavioural Economist


Freelance and Senior Researcher in the Social Brain Centre at the RSA, with an MA Behavioural Economics from Maastricht and advisor to The Hunting Dynasty on finance and social projects.


Nathalie is a freelance researcher, and a Senior Researcher in the Social Brain Centre » at the RSA, based in London. With a Masters degree in Behavioural Economics from Maastricht University, and a Bachelors degree in Commerce from McGill University, she is well-placed to join the dots between the academic literature on behavioural studies and actual business practice.

Her Masters thesis investigated the determinants of non-strategic punishment, an important aspect of the maintenance of cooperative behaviour, with a particular focus on the role of emotions, time, and social norms. In addition to her ongoing research and experiments at the Behavioural and Experimental Economics Lab at Maastricht University, she has worked with think-tanks and consultancies in London. Nathalie’s work with The Hunting Dynasty involved looking at cognitive-behavioural and infrastructural interventions to address the high Green House Gas emissions embodied in consumer use of products from the world’s leading FMCG, to co-writing large behavioural workshops for major financial firms, and everything in-between.


Jamie Romain

Creative Director | Linkedin

An award-winning advertising creative with experience from some of the biggest agencies in direct, digital, and behavioural marketing, Jamie looks after all collateral that leaves the agency.


Jamie is an advertising creative with experience in direct, digital, and behavioural marketing and is a creative director for The Hunting Dynasty.

He’s spent the last decade creating campaigns for global clients including IBM, American Express, Yahoo, Cisco, Dove, and more at Ogilvy » London, UK, as well as behavioural marketing for The Hunting Dynasty. He has won many industry awards – D&AD, Cyberlion, Campaign, and many DMAs – and his IBM Seer for the Wimbledon tennis tournament was the first augmented reality app to use live data, was featured in the Economist magazine, and is still used as a case study by both Google and the BBC.

Drawn to the way cognitive-behavioural theories can create more efficient and effective advertising, Jamie works with the The Hunting Dynasty to combine the two.

Connor Desai, Msc

Cognitive Psychologist


Saoirse is a freelance cognitive psychologist with an MSc Cognitive & Decision Sciences, UCL, & BSc Psychology, she has deep knowledge behaviour, and provides foundation research and literature reviews for many of The Hunting Dynasty projects.

Saoirse is a freelance cognitive psychologist primarily interested in the application of the cognitive and behavioural sciences in the design, testing and implementation of programmes between provider and client, particularly in policy, market research and branding. As a graduate of the MSc in Cognitive and Decision Sciences from University College London as well as a BSc in Psychology, she has a deep understanding of the field.

Her academic background as well as several months experience with two research placements in the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit at City University London and at the Institute of Education in London has instilled an uncompromising scientific rigour much needed in the field. She is particularly interested in how people update their beliefs in the face of new evidence, and how time and emotions affect how people make decisions. For her Masters thesis she focused on how this works within a legal context, looking at the role of previous conviction evidence in juror decision-making. Currently she is working with the Institute of Criminology at University of Cambridge on a project that uses randomised control trials to test behavioural interventions for young people at risk of exclusion from school.

Chandrasekaran, Msc

Social Policy, Economics


Sruthi is a Masters graduate of social policy at the University of Oxford, and Felix Scholar, following her Masters degree in economics (minor in marketing) in India, and provides foundation research and literature reviews for many of The Hunting Dynasty projects.


She has worked on projects with the Oxford Student Consultancy, Kenya Education Partnerships, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) where she received Cornell University certification to conduct work on human subjects, and the Max-Planck Institute for Human Development amongst others.

Alexandra Mecklenburg, FRSA

Business advisor


Alex advises The Hunting Dynasty on a wide variety of business opportunities thanks to her 20 year experience up to and including Managing Director in the digital and adverting world. currently Client Partner at Friday – an experience and engineering consultancy.

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“We are ancient creatures in modern times.”

The Hunting Dynasty

Media & Published

“It looks exactly what I wanted. No, scratch that, it’s much better, more insightful and thorough than I could have asked for.”

Leah Hardy, Journalist (Cosmopolitan, and more), Broadcaster, Author

“Oliver Payne’s writing is insightful, informed – but always entertaining. If you want to understand why we do what we do, he’s your man.”

Daisy Buchanan, Journalist (Grazia, The Guardian, Look, The Telegraph, The Mirror, Esquire, and more), and Author of ‘Meeting Your Match”

“You give good quote!”

Rowland Manthorpe, Journalist, Author

Esquire magazine

‘Has Tinder Ruined The Way We Hook Up Forever?’


The secret psychology of persuasion with Nathalie Nahai


A New Agenda on Climate Change, by Jonathan Rowson – and the four distal dimensions: “not here”, “not now”, “not me”, and “not clear”.’Direct link to page

The Guardian

How Candy Crush gets you hooked – six addictive tricks. From colour theory to cultural awareness, psychologist Dr Simon Moore explains the compulsion secrets hidden in mobile games like Candy Crush Saga

Centre for Applied Intelligence

First of a series of interviews with thinkers and practitioners in messaging research for the CAI


Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour: 19 ways to ask for change

Why do short-term memory tasks change our behaviour? How is our worry-profile the same as an Argentinean farmer’s?

This book uses robust, peer-reviewed psychological insights to show how to change behaviour. It will teach you how to ask for persistent, pervasive, invisible – and in some cases near-costless – change by using our hidden quirks, judgmental biases, and apparent irrationalities.

It’s of great value to policymakers and professionals in marketing and communications departments dealing with issues of resource-stress.

Elsewhere on Amazon: UK | US | Canada | France | Germany | Japan

There are several reasons to recommend this book… it is written in a frank, conversational style that most readers will find appealing… the author covers a great deal of ground and effectively summarizes the technical literature in an easily digestible format. The book also includes a glossary of terms, making it easy for the reader…

Adam Mayer, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2014

Advocates of environmental issues come on strong… Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour turns this on its head… Payne’s book is like an industrial loom for the synapses; it weaves in strands from contemporary psychology, cutting-edge marketing and cognitive behavioural techniques to show us how… ultimately… this can be used to our planet’s benefit.

Elite Business Magazine

Nudging can be used for good or for evil. For far too long, the evil-doers have known about the tools for influencing behavior. Thanks to efforts like Oliver Payne’s, that is all changing. Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour will help create more good in the world, while bringing more fun and happiness to those who lead the charge.

Dr John Balz, Marketing Strategist, former editor of Nudge blog associated with New York Times bestseller Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health Wealth and Happiness

. . . Oliver Payne masterfully brings together insights from a wide range
of psychological research, weaving them into a coherent guide for communications for change.

Dan Lockton, University of Warwick, author of Design with Intent: 101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design

. . . If you want to join the fight against this insane, mechanistic view of human nature, you will find Oliver’s book an essential and often-used part of your armoury.

Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman Ogilvy & Mather UK, author of The Wiki Man, Spectator columnist

. . . an eminently accessible guide to understanding people’s behaviour and what you can do to influence them . . . Beyond its importance to the topic of sustainability, whatever the concept or product, you will sell it more effectively once you have read this book

Philip Graves, author of Consumer.ology

The most passionate and articulate hymn to sustainability since ‘An inconvenient Truth’

Mark Wnek, U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education, ex-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Lowe (NY), EuroRSCG (UK)

We assume big problems need big solutions . . . Yet, what Oliver Payne shows, is how intelligent small changes . . . can be hugely effective even in the face of a global problem. This creative engagement with human understanding will change your mind and might just save the planet

Dr Nick Southgate, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, Behavioural Economics Consultant

“We do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see.”

Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, Filiquarian Publishing 2007

Speaking & workshops

Expert commentary on consumer behaviour, or sustainable behaviour,
and covert and overt ways of creating change.


“Great talk by Oliver Payne about persuasion and user behaviour theory. #gup” @AlWightman

“Fascinating presentation from Oliver Payne…” @AlderandAlder

“Thank you! Really enjoyed (and learnt and benefited from) your presentation at #gup The awesome power of a : – )” @Carboncoach

“…Great talk today very interesting, many thanks…” @drulawson

“…Highlights were Becky Willan and Oliver Payne. #gup” @resonatespr

“Fantastic. Spoke clearly and confidently, cramming an awful lot into just 40 mins or so.”
>Tom Bowden-Green

“Good talk by a person that seem to know a lot about what he’s talking about. Nice chat afterwards.”
>Jonas Hjalmar Blom

“great night at the #danacentre y’day with @matt_prescott & @oliverpayne on an amazing panel talking about promoting #climatechange behaviour.”
Peter Harrison, Brainjuicer

“…a huge ‘Thank you’ for your contributions… Afterwards I had an unprecedented number of people commenting and complimenting… each of you individually… the session earned a nomination for… the ‘Best Contribution to Conference’ category …that’s a high compliment.”

“I’d like to say thank you for a brilliant talk yesterday. Thanks are due for so many different reasons… You came up with a fantastic intro to BE. You delivered a great show. The client loved it (won’t stop going on about it, in fact). It really energised the ideas we generated afterwards. You made us look good. I could go on.”

“Environmentalists struggle to craft messages to anyone except environmentalists (he [Oliver] showed us how).”

Sustainable Future workshop, LSE, Oct 2009


A ready-to-go behavioural workshop for marketing and business staff

After an engaging 20-30 min presentation, the audience are split into groups and most are designing useful comms and real-world interventions after ten minutes. After group-by-group spoken presentation of solutions, the room has solved problem of changing behaviour effortlessly.

  1. - A ~thirty minute presentation
  2. - Split into groups, discuss, and present answers (~twenty minutes)
  3. - Content includes examples of ‘overt’ comms and design, as well as ‘covert’/’the situation’ environment change
  4. - Complete with a workshop topic: converting coffee shop visitors from paper cups to sippy-cups/flasks

Also includes a worksheet for the ‘see it, do it’ session, based on our bespoke ‘Damn F.A.S.T.’ model of behaviour change.



ClubWorkspace, 1-2 Hatfields, London (Entrance in the Alice door, opposite 28 Upper Ground, London, SE)

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Want to say hello? Want to know more about us? Give us a call or drop us an email and we will get back to you. All will be read (promise).


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