Applying Behavioural Science in PR

Published: 10 September 2015

Campaigns attempting to stop bad behaviour, heightened awareness can even be counter-productive and encourage the very behaviour it is intended to stop.

For years, public relations has been in the business of raising awareness. But providing basic data and information alone is unlikely to have a major impact on people with limited interest in an issue and no time to think about it.

Big data, social listening and Google analytics are bringing some science to the art of PR, but while our industry can confidently advise on the right digital tools to capture data, we have less to say on how that data should be used, writes Simon Maule of Linstock.

Last week’s Behavioural Exchange 2015 conference provided a timely reminder that without social science techniques to help organisations deliver effective, evidence-based communications campaigns, the exciting new digital tools are often just new ways to measure the noise.

We shouldn’t be afraid to say we don’t know precisely what will work best at the outset of a campaign, but that we do have a robust process to find out.

We need to recognise the cognitive biases we all suffer from and the thinking shortcuts we use when making decisions – be that a preference for immediate gratification, a tendency to follow our peers or difficulties understanding probabilities – and apply the growing body of behavioural science insight to communications campaigns.

To read the full article, visit PR Week here.

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