You Better Behave! Virtual Masterclass: We Brought the Behavior… And We Took the Learnings

This week, Behaviorally (Formerly PRS), Maru Group, and Protobrand joined together to host You Better Behave!, a 1-day virtual masterclass focused on teaching attendees how to accelerate growth through behavioral science in their work and personal lives. Sessions were led by speakers from 16 world-leading brands, 4 renowned keynotes, and an engaging and charismatic MC. Our masterclass garnered more than 1,000 registrations from over 50 countries.

While the sessions were separated into 3 categorical Modules, a few main themes emerged throughout the day, bringing even more value to the audience.

1. One of the biggest takeaways of the day: consumers (and humans, in general) feel, behave, then think – so there is often a gap between what they say and what they do. Keynote speaker, Jason Chebib (former VP, Consumer Planning at Diageo) started the day with some core behavioral principles that every insights professional or marketer should never forget: humans are emotional, and they do not think their way to decisions. They feel their way to decisions and emotions are not irrational. Therefore, it is imperative for brands to tap into consumer emotions to influence choice and test strategies to see if communication and action hold up.

A panel session between Bacardi, Edgewell Personal Care, and Reckitt moderated by Behaviorally’s Michele McCorry was another perfect example. Bacardi encountered a gap between many consumers’ desire to tap into their “inner mixologist” during the pandemic, which, on surface level, appeared as if consumers were upscaling. However, when Bacardi looked at what exactly consumers were buying in order to take advantage of this time-passing pandemic activity trend, most of their sales were being derived from their “cocktail kit” products suggesting that consumers wanted a quick, easy way to explore new drink recipes. Edgewell echoed how important deriving insights is with consumers one of our favorite quotes of the day: “Trust, but verify!”

2. Another major theme we saw in yesterday’s sessions was the importance of storytelling, and that consumers’ stories need to guide the brands. Any attempt to structure marketing with the opposite approach will never be effective at driving consumer choice or brand loyalty.

The panel hosted by Behaviorally’s Lauren Davitt with Ferrara and Bayer discussed that looking at data in consumption and mindset changes became especially critical during the height of the pandemic. To truly find the motivations for purchases, it was important to look at how consumers were feeling and how their lives had changed was going. Bayer noticed that people were spending more time outdoors to get out of the house, therefore increasing sales in their allergy medications. Ferrara discussed the shallow and not-very-useful data that forecasting provided during this time and as Bayer bluntly stated, “there is no crystal ball during a pandemic”.

Another spin on letting consumers’ stories drive brands’ stories shined through in a discussion about changing product occasions between Behaviorally’s Matt Salem and Nestlé. Prior to the pandemic, the coffee category fit a wide variety of different occasions – using a Keurig at the office in the morning, then walking to a coffee shop mid-afternoon. However, with the pandemic, there was no longer the opportunity to stroll down the street to a Starbucks so now consumers made coffees at home instead. Nestlé saw immediately the impact that this would have on their products, turning sales numbers on their heads across the product portfolio for different consumer occasions. And so, they pivoted their research strategies, using video diaries to meet consumers in their homes to continue optimizing their products and marketing to meet consumer needs.

3. Third standout theme from our masterclass is that brands can use behavioral science and research to transform the way in which they do business to be flexible and agile enough to succeed always. Behaviorally’s Cliff Kane spoke with Prestige Consumer HealthCare about the flexibility needed to perform research across different products – particularly when it came to products that people use consistently and restock regularly like Summer’s Eve or a product that people typically only purchase in response to a unique need like Monistat. Making sure that Prestige can connect with consumers during their purchase journey based on the buying occasion is imperative to help their diverse product portfolio remain intuitive to drive sales.

A unique twist on the theme of using behavioral science to remain flexible was discussed as Bayer and Maru Group broke down the challenges that come along with performing product ad research with a respondent base comprised primarily of physicians. What they found: physicians are humans, too! But they often want to separate emotions that drive decisions with being hyper-rational (as their job typically requires). So, to get the best data as to what ads may drive physicians to recommend a certain product, Maru and Bayer worked together to pivot what research strategies including drawing exercises to break down the rigid, unnatural wall of rationality to get at the emotions evoked by Bayer’s product advertising that would ultimately drive choice.

While these 3 core themes and learnings may be somewhat different from one another, they are all very much intertwined under the biggest and most important overarching lesson: behavioral science can be applied to every facet of your life both professionally and personally. It will always drive positive results. We hope you enjoyed the sessions as much as we did. But if you weren’t able to attend live, we’ve made all of the session recordings available on-demand so that you too can leverage the power of behavioral science!

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Erin McAllister is the Marketing Coordinator at Behaviorally (Formerly PRS), and enjoys integrating her degree in Technical Communication & Environmental Science into her role whenever possible. New favorite quote from our event MC, Melina Palmer: “Remember to shoot darts, not throw pasta.”

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