Behavioral Sciences serving Public Relations and Communications (1/2)

Behavioral Sciences offers a fascinating body of knowledge for communications and public relations professionals. Interest in this discipline has been revived by the election of Donald Trump and the growth of false news.

Here is a brief “Q&A”, here and in a second post, about this fascinating subject.

1.What are we talking about?
Behavioral science knowledge refers to research designed to better understand how people make decisions and act accordingly. They refer to psychology, social neuroscience and cognitive science, among others. With these, we seek to understand why humans do what they do and why they do not do what we think they should do.

2.What kind of knowledge does this include?
Through behavioral science, we know more about ourselves as human beings and about our decision-making process. Here are some facts:

  • We are not creatures of reason. Our reasoning is in fact submerged with emotions. Also, it takes part after the emotions have come into action. Moreover, it works more slowly than emotions, which interact quickly. This largely influences our point of view, especially on sensitive topics.
  • We do not give much importance to the future. This explains why diets often turn into failures and that credit cards remain so popular.
  • We are fueling optimism. But beware! This is true for ourselves and our loved ones, but not for our neighbors and even less for the planet.
  • We react much more strongly when we feel fear or disgust.
  • Counter-arguments rarely convince us. If we hear information that contradicts an opinion firmly rooted in us, we will challenge the sources or the methodology.

3.How do behavioral sciences impact our communication strategies?
Behavioral science knowledge increases the impact of programs and communication campaigns. At CASACOM, these sciences lead us to refine the portrait of our target audiences, to think more deeply about their potential behaviors and to perfect our messages to ensure their effectiveness. Combined with our data-driven approach, we are succeeding in generating not only compelling but measurable results.

What do you think about that? In the second part of this article, I present some examples of behavioral science implementations in our field.

Marie-Josée Gagnon About the author
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