Total Media creates 'behavioural planner' role as it encourages clients, and staff, to embrace neuroscience techniques

Total Media has hired Will Hanmer-Lloyd from Blue 449 to the newly created role of behavioural planner in a move that will see the agency begin to plan campaigns for clients based on behavioural economics, neuroscience and ethnology insights.

Hanmer-Lloyd will train and upskill staff across the agency on how to use these principles.

His hire comes as marketers become more open to investing in neuroscience to inform media planning. Vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group Rory Sutherland has been one such advocate of the strategy and Hanmer-Lloyd will lean on what he gleaned during his time working with Sutherland during his IPA presidency to deliver his behavioural economics agenda.

Speaking to The Drum, Hanmer-Lloyd said behavioural planning can help circumvent the shortcomings of some current media planning strategies, where agencies can misunderstand how consumers work, how advertising influences them, and the appropriate way to research consumer behaviour.

Instead, he wants to ensure the agency does not fall into traditional views of research and consumer behaviour that “may be outdated”.

“Total Media needed someone who can drive that home to everyone and give them the skills so that their plans are based not on a view of human insight that is outdated but has the latest thinking at the forefront of it” he explained.

Together with working alongside existing clients such as Strutt & Parker, Florette and Fred Olsen, Hanmer-Lloyd will also work to bring behavioural insight to Total Media’s new business pitches.

Publishers are helping facilitate this shift into a better understanding of a customer by providing agencies with first-party data. Digital media has opened up opportunities for marketers to reach people at specific moments in time and in certain mood states through mobile tracking data. This provides more opportunities to use behavioural thinking alongside data.

Having this valuable data, paired with an advanced understanding of human behaviour, is what Hanmer-Lloyd will pitch to clients “to ultimately make them more money”.

However, Hammer-Lloyd does not believe that this necessarily means moving away from price-based strategies and towards being more value-orientated.

“Value or price can both sit within that understanding. A lot of behavioural economics work would suggest that people have a very poor understanding of the real value of something," he suggested.

“Across the board we don’t have an inherent understanding of value and I do think that advertising therefore can play a very important role by what context it puts brands in, therefore brands can be judged more positively and negatively, not by their inherent value but by the context in which they get judged. For instance car brands can sell cars really well at boat fairs because by comparison they look really cheap.”

Hanmer-Lloyd will report into Total Media’s chief strategy officer, Lucas Brown.

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