We’re in the behaviour change business. What business are you in?

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” is a thought derived from the ideas of Xun Kuang, a Chinese philosopher who lived from 312-230BC. It’s often referenced by educationalists as a key insight into how to impart learning into students, which results in new skills. It’s also an extremely powerful lesson for the advertising industry and a sharp reminder of what business we are in. We develop brand communications which change behaviour, so that people buy more of what our clients sell.

However agencies instead focus on thinking up smarter and more complicated ways of changing audiences’ attitudes; how to get people to love brands more, how brands can deliver their messages in quirky ways to stand out, or creating business cases as to why our clients should just outspend their rivals.

Ironically today’s audiences forget much of our output in seconds, if indeed it ever reaches them. And in the digital world, where people are adept at curating what they engage in and screen out advertising, the simple ‘spray and pray’ method of pushing out messages and crossing fingers, simply isn’t good enough any more.

I believe the answer is locked up in the words of Xun Kuang. If we want to change behaviour, we have to involve our audience. If we engage them in experiences that are useful and entertaining, they will welcome our interventions, and learn new behaviours. Entering their psyche in this way results in more recall and life long engagement (which is why the thought is embraced by Educationalists). Behaviour change leads to attitude change. The value for brands is obvious.

At Geometry we involve consumers by understanding them intimately, mapping every nuance, feeling, touch point and interaction with precision, and then activate this insight in the work. This results in more compelling experiences which influence behaviour in precise ways, which deliver more value per £1 invested.

So why doesn’t every agency just do this? Because most focus on attitude change, while we’re in the behaviour change business.