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Ogilvy Launches Center for Behavioral Science

January 26, 2017 16:45 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

Ogilvy today announced the creation of the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science. The Center, which will work across the Ogilvy group, will focus on establishing a new system to define how audiences think, feel and behave to improve marketing and communications effectiveness. Christopher Graves will assume the role of President and Founder of the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science effective immediately. Graves will work with Carla Hendra, Global Chairman, OgilvyRED and Vice Chairman, Ogilvy Worldwide Board.

„Behavioral science will create a real edge for us in the marketplace,” said Carla Hendra, Global Chairman, OgilvyRED and Vice Chairman, Ogilvy Worldwide Board. „We are thrilled that Chris has agreed to take on this new role as he is one of the industry’s most recognized experts in the field and will help us to transform the way we understand and move people on behalf of our clients.”

As part of its work, the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science will tap a huge and fast-growing body of research to help clients identify the levers most likely to shift behaviors and change attitudes. To do this, Graves and the team have created a new navigation tool called AMOS, named in honor of one of the founding fathers of behavioral economics, Amos Tversky.

„Recently we have all seen how traditional demographics research can fail spectacularly in predicting outcomes – especially in a polarized, ‚post-fact’ environment,” said Graves, „but behavioral scientists look beyond demographics and beyond what people say, to the inner workings of how people view the world and create their own identities.” Graves noted behavioral scientists have shown that instead of targeting people, understanding them works better. Behavioral science helps us do that, creating far more effective ways to help clients achieve better outcomes.

The Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science will do just that, plus create a comprehensive, new approach to achieving client goals by combining the legendary Ogilvy expertise in brands, with new cognitive and behavioral insights. The approach is called „B4” due to its focus on Brand, Brain, Behavior, and Bias.

Graves said he spent eight years finding, digesting and sorting research, but the key was creating a way for non-scientists to use the findings in practical ways. „This is not a niche,” cautioned Graves, „It drives big increases in effectiveness for everything from health and wellbeing, the environment, personal finance, social issues, politics, crisis management, employee engagement, and sales of products and services.”

The Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science will launch in Q1 2017 and will scale across Ogilvy over time. The Center will appoint a board of scientific advisors as well as partner with and build on the groundbreaking work of the behavioral expert practice group, Ogilvy Change, based out of London and Washington, DC — led in the UK by Vice Chair Rory Sutherland and Managing Director, Mark Lainas, and led in Washington, DC by Executive Vice President, Tony Silva — with further centers in Paris, Sydney, Milan, Madrid, Wellington and Johannesburg.

Additionally, the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science will partner with other behavior change specialists such as research giant WPP’s Kantar to create new cognitive insights, and with WPP Government to help in large-scale population behavior change for quality of life improvement.

Christopher Graves has led the industry as a proponent for bringing more behavioral science into communications. The Rockefeller Foundation honored Graves in 2016 with a prestigious Bellagio Residency, the Holmes Report named him a Top 25 Innovator, and he is a WPP 4-time Atticus Award honoree for thought leadership. Graves also co-founded the behavioral insights initiative at the Institute for Public Relations. His behavioral and cognitive insights writing has been featured in the Harvard Business review and widely cited in media.

Graves has served at Ogilvy Public Relations for a combined 12 years – as Global Chair, Global CEO, and APAC Regional CEO. Graves just completed two terms as Chair of the PR Council and he is an elected life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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