Often when we introduce ourselves as psychologists, people imagine us in an office, our patients spread on a chaise longue, pouring their hearts out about their problems. This is a misguided and inaccurate assumption about what a psychologist is and what a psychologist does.
Psychology, by definition, is the scientific study of the mind and how it influences our behaviour, thoughts and emotions. In its practical and professional aspect, it is a broad discipline which can be applied to a number of different settings. It is very much like medicine – there are distinct specialisms which encompass the discipline. Psychologists are trained in biology, cognitive science and advanced statistical analysis – all of which have to be passed before gaining the status of ‘psychologist’.
Nowadays, many forward-thinking companies recognise how psychology can be a powerful tool in the business world and have brought psychologists on board to augment their brand, digital, marketing and HR teams.
In fact, the top 10 brands in the world all tap into psychologists and the expertise they bring.
What do business and behavioural psychologists do?
As business and behavioural psychologists, we work with businesses and brands to understand what makes their target audience tick. This might be an external customer or client, or it might be an internal employee or leadership audience.
We can reveal both the observed and (more influential) hidden influences on a target audience’s decisions. We employ our specialised qualitative and quantitative training to reveal the factors that influence engagement, relevance, loyalty and relationships.
The value of business and behavioural psychologists is a combination of their ability to surface the real reasons why an audience does or doesn’t do something and then help that organisation operationalise these insights into effective business activity and ROI.
In essence, we help organisations augment its existing data by leveraging the ‘why’s’ of a given audience behaviour and building effective plans to make the organisation more impactful, engaging and relevant with their target audience.
What method do we use?
In 2019, Harvard revealed that 90% of consumer’s decisions are made by hidden non-conscious influences.
Business and behavioural psychologists are trained in using specialised techniques to reveal these more hidden influencing factors on an organisations’ target audience decisions and behaviour.
They have access to specialised quantitative and qualitative tools and methods that can:
- Segment your audience by their motivational needs – enabling an organisation to create more impactful and relevant communications.
- Inform a business what factors are important, irrelevant or missing in terms of its ability to engage with an audience.
- Explain the reasons behind your data patterns and help you change those patterns.
- Align your organisation’s values much more impactfully with your target audience’s values and needs.
Essentially, they offer scientifically valid and statistically reliable insights that help you understand your audience and plan your brand’s communications.
At Innovationbubble, we use a set of unique and bespoke psychometric tools to acquire these insights.
The difference between psychology and behavioural science
It is a common misconception that psychology and behavioural science are interchangeable and synonymous. This is not the case. The discipline of psychology focuses on the brain biology, cognition and mental processes. It tries to find out the reasons behind behaviour before it suggests the best ways to intervene against that discovered behaviour.
Behavioural science (and nudge theory) is based more on economic principles and cognitive bias – it does not typically focus on the reasons behind human behaviour but simply applies a range of potential nudge type solutions – usually via trial and error.
Typically the best solutions for an organisation come from fusing the two skills together. The psychologists discover the problem and its cause, and the behavioural scientists then know which precise solution to propose to solve the problem.
It has been evidenced in all sectors of commercial behaviour that utilising psychology can bring great benefits to an organisations’ health, growth and relevance.
Our Innovationbubble team worked with a global retailer using our Neopic© Archetype-Engine to segment their US and UK audiences into three different psychological mindsets. We then used these psychologically robust insights to help them to adjust their product messaging. This resulted in record sales increases.
How do psychologists work with an organisation?
They usually integrate into a stakeholder team, whether that is HR, marketing, digital or brand and add their skill sets to the abilities that the team already has – giving them access to specialised knowledge and psychological tools.
Or, they lead a specific project to understand and solve a core problem or need for understanding with a key audience.
For instance, a major European bank believed from traditional market research that customers do not trust banks and that financial institutions need to gain the trust of their customers. In actual fact, our psychological methods revealed that clients did trust banks, but that they actually didn’t trust themselves managing their own money. Through enabling the bank to support customers rather than demonstrating their superiority of leadership, these insights resulted in a reduction in 11% by churn and a 6% increase in market growth.
Business psychologists can tell you what might be a waste of time and budget in terms of resultant audience impact, as well as suggesting better ways to achieve success faster and streamline resources.
Given the uncertainty at the present time and the ultimate need to understand how your organisation is relevant and understands what it is your target audience really needs, psychological science is becoming ever more relevant.
Ultimately, it enables your organisation to move from assumption to reality.
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