By Rory Fryer, Ogilvy Consulting Behaviour Change Summer School 2018


This post is going to teach you something valuable.

Really valuable.

It’s something I, myself have been exploring and using over and over. So I guess it’s fair to say I’m writing this post for me as much as you. It’s about the marketing principle none of us can afford not to use. In simple terms, you have to (in fact, you must!)..

Using behavioural science in marketing everything

You see, I have just finished working on a project with some of the best behavioural marketing minds in the world.

Ogilvy Consulting's Behaviour Change practice is a unique team of behavioural experts which possesses the sheer brain wattage to change millions of peoples lives using creatively driven strategies.

This post will share some of the most important skills I learned while attending this year's summer school…

Firstly, there are two key ideas you need to know about, which once you understand will open up a glorious new world of thinking…

Innervation & Unseen Opportunities


Innervation is creating innovation in the psychological realm. While most stereotypical innovation tends to be driven by engineers or scientists. You can actually flip the script by keeping with what is already available and innervate by how customers experience and think about your product or service.

Unseen Opportunities

Sam Tatam, Strategy Director at Ogilvy Consulting, put the idea of ‘Unseen Opportunity’ best. He says it’s that which is lying dormant within a brand or customer experience that, when viewed through a psychology and behavioural science lens, can lead to incredible results.

This might be as simple as a reframe of your offer, tweaking the copywriting, or a contextual intervention. But unless you put on a pair of behavioural glasses on they will usually remain invisible to most.


Before creating behavioural innervations or unseen opportunities, you first have to find them.

Alas there is a slight problem…

“People don’t think what they feel, don’t say what they think and don’t do what they say”David Ogilvy

Which makes finding the firstorder of problems a real pain.

It’s caused by a thing called emotional misattribution.

For example a bad review a user gives to an Uber driver might actually have come from a football game which the user had just been at seeing his team lose, rather than the actual service given by the driver. – (Another brilliant example of this is the Capilano Bridge experiment).

Getting to the real problems requires taking in a larger context of the complex journeys of a product or service. That includes the surroundings or adjacent factors impacting the behaviours you are trying to optimise for rather than a more typically narrow logic.

Creating like Hendrix

Once you have spotted the real problems it’s time to get creative.

To create innervation and take advantage of unseen opportunities, you have to go deep in to the depths of human motivation, psychology, biology and… just about any area that gives profound insight into behaviour and come back out with solutions that will solve the key cognitive problems that were discovered.

The depths of behavioural insight is a deep rabbit hole and inspiration can come from anywhere but the following is a list of proven places to start:

• Cognitive Biases – Systematic patterns of the brain.

• MINDSPACE – A codification checklist.

• SCARF – Another powerful checklist.

• EASY – An implementation model.

• Charlie Munger’s – Mental framework the 25 cognitive biases.

• Dr David Buss – The evolutionary background of the brain

This list contains more insight than you can shake a stick at, though the stereotypical behavioural map is not the territory.

Ogilvy makes this clear with daily seminars from its leading experts. Whether that’s learning about Red Queen hypothesis with Biologist Jordan Buck, divergently creative thinking with Ogilvy Consulting's Mike Hughes or the famous "TED in 60 Minutes" talk from Ogilvy UK's Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Chesters.

A ton of wisdom was also shared by the founder of Ogilvy’s Behavioural Science unit and one of my favourite marketers Rory Sutherland, you can learn from some of his insights in this recent talk.

Behavioural marketing is going through a Cambrian explosion right now making it an exciting time. This provides us with huge opportunities for fundamental changes in how we think and act, not just to get results in marketing but across all areas of wider society.


…So if this post brings out curiosity in you then you may want to keep up with the rapid change by following Ogilvy Consulting’s latest insights on Twitter:

This was originally posted on Rory Fryer's blog here.