In the world of marketing conferences, Ogilvy Change’s Nudgestock is truly the Royal Variety Show; from aviation to Hyyge, last Friday Folkestone had it all.
Decorated to a tee, you couldn’t mistake the festival vibes inside Leas Cliff Hall. Each table was named after a music act, and a cursory glance at the seating chart might leave you thinking you’d landed a seat next to Beyoncé. A short set from the rocking Andy ‘Bad’ Robinson set the tone and left guests excited for a day of behavioural insights.
Ogilvy’s inimitable Rory Sutherland opened this year’s festival by asserting his belief that over the next 50 years, innovation will come from psychology, not technology.
The first speaker to take to the stage was Oxford University professor, Dr Oliver Scott Curry. He encouraged companies to give their psychologically vacuous corporate ethics a ‘moral makeover’ by taking advantage of what we know about people’s core, cooperation-based, moral impulses.
Bringing behavioural science to sport
Former professional cricketer Ed Smith talked about the value of scepticism in sport. He argued that confidence is only relevant when it promotes performance, because it is often almost inversely correlated with being right.
Prevention before punishment
The list of speakers became yet more varied with Met police problem solver, Stevyn Colgan. He told the audience of his plight to refocus the aim of policing from catching and punishing criminals, to preventing crime from happening in the first place.
Consumerism & social shaping
Next, Diana Fleischman presented a fascinating look at how humans use behaviours to train other individuals optimally to facilitate their own strategies, and how it applied to marketers attempting to ‘train’ their consumers.
Creating meaningful communication
Charlotte Pearce, founder of Inkpact, revealed to marketers how sending handwritten letters to their consumers could increase feelings of reciprocity. In addition, Inkpact’s employment of letter-writers provides valuable income for some of societies’ neediest.
The psychology of surveillance
After lunch, guests were greeted by Wing Commander Keith Dear, who presented compelling evidence that perceived surveillance can decrease antisocial behaviour because people are better behaved when they feel they are being watched.
Julia Hobsbawm gifted the audience with a word to describe something they all likely suffer from; infobesity. She argued that information needs to be curated, otherwise we will drown in a sea of unfettered information.
The power of the nudge
Sarah and Brogane from Kinetic and JCDeacaux respectively were up next to explain how they helped their client imbed nudges into their campaign to overcome consumer disgust and sell energy bars made from crickets!
The psychology of happiness
Keynote speaker and bestselling author Meik Wiking explored how things that make people happy can quickly make them unhappy if the framing is changed. On top of this he presented the framing techniques and behaviours that contribute to happiness in Nordic countries.
The psychology of decision making
Dr Blay Whitby gave a persuasive case for projecting the model of airline safety standards and procedures onto the world of medicine. He explained that steps taken to overcome aviation errors would work particularly well in the context of preventing surgical mistakes.
A look at altruism
Geoffrey Miller rounded off the day’s festivities with a look at the psychology behind altruistic desires, and how marketers can harness virtue-signalling to help their consumers do it more effectively, and benefit in the process.
This year was the most successful Nudgestock yet. As always, it retained its integrity as a day not solely for marketers or agency bosses, but as a day for everyone with a passion for behavioural science and innovative problem-solving.
It’s hard to see how Rory and the Ogilvy Change team could have packed any more into the day – here’s to a two-day festival next year?
Written by Marina Hui of Coley Bell Porter.
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