There’s a new booklet out from the IPA on Behavioural Economics, called Let’s Get Practical.

It includes steps on how to use the key principles in workshops, some great case studies, and loads of stimulus to help agencies think further about the field’s practical applications.

If you’re an IPA member you can download the thing for free here.

And there’s an entry from me in the case studies section, all about the work we at MEC did with DDB on the TDA campaign.

So many acronyms, so little time.

Anyway, it’s all about recruiting teachers…

MEC, DDB and Training & Development Agency for Schools

How to get people to switch to a career in teaching

The BE challenge

Career Switchers like the idea of teaching, but they compare the career change to emigrating, or leaping out of a plane. So, like anyone trying to make a big decision, they procrastinate. Their journey through the application process isn’t linear, but human: stops then starts, decisive then uncertain.

The BE solution

It wasn’t people’s attitudes we had to change, but their behaviour in actually doing something about the switch. So, instead of selling the profession, we started helping Switchers into a job, by breaking the process down into a number of small steps. We saw our campaign as a ‘pinball machine’ keeping people ‘in play’, using media as levers, nudging candidates to the next step: signing up, asking a question, calling a number, registering for an event, watching a video, ‘liking’ a comment.

What difference is BE making to content?

BE taught us that behaviour can actually precede attitude; generating even a small action could lead to a more meaningful consideration of the ‘big idea’. No more was the TV ad the most important consideration. Instead, as media supplanted message in our efforts to prompt people to do something, we created more participative experiences that candidates would actually find useful.

So, more video content, blogs, teacher diaries, webchats and case studies than ever before. On the Facebook profile we answered more than 6,000 questions, providing a service than hadn’t previously existed. Live Events helped candidates ‘chunk’ their research into one aggregated task, but also generated a sense of competition and scarcity.

What difference is BE making to client/agency relationships?

“The agencies brought latest behavioural thinking into our planning, which helped integrate our marcomms in a new and more sophisticated way.  It’s been a record year for teacher recruitment, and as the evidence shows this new strategy played a big part in that success.”

Mike Olson, Head of Teacher Recruitment, TDA

Is BE creating a new income stream for agencies?

From an MEC perspective, using behavioural insights to inform our thinking and our output isn’t new. However, BE does provide a powerful, common language for agencies and clients to discuss all aspects of their business, and might help agencies broaden their remit, or deepen their involvement in helping to solve genuine business problems.

Media agencies might benefit most. Choice Architecture tells us that ‘context’ matters more than ‘content’, so clients’ appetite for knowing what people want, and where, when and how to provide it, will hopefully grow.  Consumer touchpoints are increasingly diverse, so media’s contextual skillset seems an obvious benefit to the 21st century organisation.

BE also highlights our reliance on interim, attitudinal metrics. We need new behavioural metrics that don’t merely measure advertising, but consumers’ experience of it. Establishing behavioural outcomes as effectiveness indicators seems apposite in a post-BE world, reflects the real needs of businesses, and may open up new remuneration mechanisms for agencies.