Luke Perez, VP, account planning and strategy, AbelsonTaylor

The truth is that we lie to ourselves and we lie even more flagrantly to market researchers. A mom may say that she feeds her kids organic and free-range food, but there’s almost always a stash of Oreo cookies somewhere. We need to study our audiences’ behaviors, and their corresponding motivations, to unearth the truth behind the decisions they make. Not to sound trite, but “actions speak louder than words.” If we really want to know what could drive an HCP or patient to utilize our brand, or to remain adherent, we need to understand how their behaviors impact choice and utilization.

Kathleen Starr, managing director, Adheris Health Behavioral Insights, an inVentiv Health company

Most of the industry acknowledges that patient behavior impacts brand performance. But quantifying this using transactional data can give clients a better appreciation of the need to move beyond awareness promotion. Evidence is also needed to tackle the daunting task of changing patient behavior. To date, there are more than 100 scientifically proven behavior-change techniques. However, choosing and applying them in ways that will improve brand performance requires scientific expertise and insights into the psychosocial context of patient behavior. The science alone won’t cut it — we need creativity to bring it to life. So we then architect, design, and brand programs that pull the science though into experiences that entice the level of patient engagement needed for behavior change. Only then are we able to provide evidence back to clients that it is time and money well spent.

D’Arcy King, EVP and chief strategy officer, Daggerwing Health

Evidence, evidence, evidence. Over the past decade, behavioral scientists have worked to link behavioral theory to behavior-change techniques (BCT). Identifying and providing proof that the processes, or the “how” behind behavioral change interventions, actually affect health behavior and provide ROI is critical to their advancement and adoption. Agencies and clients would benefit from adopting evidence-based BCTs and integrating them with human-centric design to provide interventions and programs that drive business results, improve quality of life, and create a trusted relationship with their brand.

Jessica Brueggeman, EVP, health behavior group, MicroMass Communications

Agencies should provide clients with the ability to promote behavioral science’s benefits. They need to present a well thought-out story that demonstrates the evidence, connects to commercial objectives, and provides tangible application examples. Agencies must create opportunities that help clients build skills in applying behavioral science strategies. When clients possess such foundational skills, they can better articulate how these strategies can accelerate brand objectives. They also understand how behaviorally based strategies can be leveraged across brand initiatives and why they are preferred over traditional, information-based approaches.