What we do
Insight & Comms
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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’.
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?)
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.
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
– 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]
3Communication & 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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.